Homosexuality and Christianity, Part 20075

Bill Mattocks

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Just the laws that aren't also supported by the reasonable working of a just society. Murder and theft are wrong because they hurt people. Not keeping kosher isn't illegal here because if you eat bacon, the only person you hurt is yourself...unless you count the pig.

Keeping kosher isn't the law because the majority of people like to eat pork. If the majority thought that pork was unclean and should not be consumed under any circumstances, there is nothing in our laws that would stop such laws from being passed. I suspect they would pass constitutional muster as well; no one's rights are being infringed.

The harm or lack of harm a thing does has precious little to do with its legality. The only thing stopping us from making eating pork illegal is that most people like to eat it.
 

bushidomartialarts

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Keeping kosher isn't the law because the majority of people like to eat pork. If the majority thought that pork was unclean and should not be consumed under any circumstances, there is nothing in our laws that would stop such laws from being passed. I suspect they would pass constitutional muster as well; no one's rights are being infringed.

The harm or lack of harm a thing does has precious little to do with its legality. The only thing stopping us from making eating pork illegal is that most people like to eat it.

That's simply not true. Employment discrimination laws, for example, are in place precisely because the majority will of the people infringes on personal rights/freedoms without adding to the public good. Most of the improvements in rights to consensual sex have derived from judges finding the original laws invalid despite majority public opinions. They did not derive from a vote that reflected a change in majority public opinion. Ditto for what anti-discrimination progress we've made.

The framers of the constitution were aware of the risk of "tyranny of the majority" and wrote protection against it into the law of our land. It's just that in some cases, the majority is so overwhelming it takes us a century or more to spot the tyranny.
 

granfire

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Keeping kosher isn't the law because the majority of people like to eat pork. If the majority thought that pork was unclean and should not be consumed under any circumstances, there is nothing in our laws that would stop such laws from being passed. I suspect they would pass constitutional muster as well; no one's rights are being infringed.

The harm or lack of harm a thing does has precious little to do with its legality. The only thing stopping us from making eating pork illegal is that most people like to eat it.


I suppose the pork issue (such a small part of kosher livin) has rather practical reasons:

Pigs are omnivorous. As such the meat is often contaminated with bad stuff that make you sick. People still can get sick from undercooked pork.
the fatty meat does not keep well in the heat, and pigs don't run well (actually pigs are onery to a fault and I suppose not easy to keep for nomadic people)

Same as practices that don't result in baby making - they go strictly against the 'be fruitful and multiply'
I think we have established enough people n this planet that we can do away with that.


also, adultery is only an issue if you need to proof male lineage. So it's a thing a patriarchy needs. There are still plenty of small tribal pockets that have lady's choice in term of spouses. If the man is a bad kisser he will not be invited back to 'the Flower Room'
 
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Bob Hubbard

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People constantly confuse "Morals", "Ethics" and "Values".

Morals come from religion, while ethics are based on society. Values define you.

Or as 1 person elsewhere put it:
Morals is judging based on religion and opinion.
Ethics is what the society expects of you when judging
Values is the behavior or action that defines a person

A Christian might be against killing for example because they were taught in Sunday School that it's a sin.
An person in an society might be expected not to kill because there is a law against it.
An American might be against it due to a belief that 'the good guys don't kill'.

Same result, 3 different reasons why.


Overly simplifying here.
 

fangjian

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People constantly confuse "Morals", "Ethics" and "Values".

Morals come from religion, while ethics are based on society. Values define you.

Interesting way to put it. However I will add:

from Wiki:
Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is a sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong).


In the above definition, this sense has biological evolutionary roots.
 

Empty Hands

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If the majority thought that pork was unclean and should not be consumed under any circumstances, there is nothing in our laws that would stop such laws from being passed. I suspect they would pass constitutional muster as well; no one's rights are being infringed.

The Lemon Test defines the criteria which any law must pass not to infringe upon the Establishment Clause:

  1. The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
  2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
  3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.
Requiring the nation to keep kosher, despite the feelings of the populace, would definitely violate at least 1 prong of the test.

Extrapolating further, all legislative actions must have a secular legislative purpose to be congruent with the Constitution as defined by the USSC in Lemon. It doesn't matter what the feelings of the populace are.
 

Bill Mattocks

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That's simply not true. Employment discrimination laws, for example, are in place precisely because the majority will of the people infringes on personal rights/freedoms without adding to the public good.

It is true, and you just demonstrated it. "...are in place precisely because the majority will of the people infringes on personal rights/freedoms..."

Not, however, 'because' the majority will infringes on civil liberties. ONLY IF the majority will does so. Being the majority does not automatically imply that someone's rights are being infringed. That's what the Supreme Court does, it establishes if a given law does infringe. If it does, then yes, it's rejected as unconstitutional and the majority does not get their way. If it does not infringe, then the majority's law stays the law. Infringement on civil liberties is the key - not whether or not the 'majority' is the reason for it.

Most of the improvements in rights to consensual sex have derived from judges finding the original laws invalid despite majority public opinions. They did not derive from a vote that reflected a change in majority public opinion. Ditto for what anti-discrimination progress we've made.

Yes and no. Some changes came about as the result of new laws being passed. Some came as a result of new amendments to the Constitution being added. And some came about because the SCOTUS ruled that a given law was an unconstitutional infringement on an existing civil liberty. In no case did the SCOTUS rule that a law was unconstitutional because it was unfair, mean-spirited, or just plain evil, even though it was in compliance with the Constitution. The key is always existing civil liberties. Those may be seen by different Supreme Courts in different eras in different ways - but they are not making it up as they go along, or trying to accomplish fairness. Fairness, being reasonable, being nice or kind - they have NOTHING to do with it.

The framers of the constitution were aware of the risk of "tyranny of the majority" and wrote protection against it into the law of our land. It's just that in some cases, the majority is so overwhelming it takes us a century or more to spot the tyranny.

Nope. That's completely wrong.

They addressed the 'tyranny of the majority' by introducing the concept of a representative republic, which gave the vote to the elected officials that we elect by direct vote, except in the case of the President (Electoral College). Nearly every state also has a direct vote or plebiscite process by which state laws and even state constitutions can be changed by the direct vote of the citizenry; I'd wager that if you vote in the US, you've seen such ballot measures yourself; that's direct democracy, and it is perfectly legal.

All of these have to stand up to Constitutional scrutiny if challenged and if the SCOTUS or lower court grants cert to the case and agrees to hear it. If the law is challenged, then the court in question decides two things (typically). Whether or not the law represents the actual Will of Congress (in the case of federal laws) and whether or not the law infringes on any existing civil liberties. For example, the recent 2nd Amendment case that determined that the anti-gun laws in the city of Washington DC were unconstitutional infringements. They ruled that they were indeed unconstitutional and struck them down. They did NOT consider whether it was the 'tyranny of the majority' that caused the law to exist, nor did they consider such concepts as fairness, niceness, just treatment of all citizens, etc, etc. None of that matters at all in legal terms.

The fact is, the majority can create a law (either directly by plebiscite or by persuading their elected officials to vote for it) that makes someone else miserable. For example, making eating pork illegal. If the law is challenged, and the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, the defense would have to prove that there is some civil liberty that is being infringed by denying people the right to eat pork. I frankly can't think of one, but that would be the question for the SCOTUS. Not that it was or was not 'tyrannical' or the result of some unfair oppression by the majority. Majority oppression is PERFECTLY LEGAL as long as no civil liberties are being violated, and by civil liberties I am not talking about "it makes me unhappy" or "it makes me feel bad." I'm talking about the Bill of Rights and amendments to it. If it isn't there, then your rights are not being violated. That is a case of 'too bad, so sad'.

This is the point I was making, though. Many people have a fundamental lack of understanding about how our system of government actually works. The majority is perfectly entitled to run roughshod over the minority, so long as they are not violating one of the civil rights outlined in the Bill of Rights. Look at Blue Laws. Left-overs from a day when people didn't think anyone should work on Sundays. Many of those laws are being changed or removed from the books now; most people just don't feel that way anymore. But they are perfectly legal. You don't like not being able to buy beer on Sunday. Too bad for you! Yes, you're being oppressed. Tough cookies.

Take a look at this for an example of religious law informing civil law in the USA. Canada has actually taken a more enlightened look at this than the USA:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_law

Blue laws often prohibit an activity only during certain hours and there are usually exceptions to the prohibition of commerce, like grocery and drug stores. In some places blue laws may be enforced due to religious principles, but others are retained as a matter of tradition or out of convenience.[1]

It's still illegal to buy beer in some states on Sunday or on the day elections are held. Can't buy a car on Sunday in some states. All legal. All based (originally) on the religious majority enforcing their tyrannical will on the minority. But it infringes on no civil liberties. That is proof positive that the SCOTUS does not declare laws unconstitutional because they oppress a minority of the people. If you're oppressed, you have the right to vote to change it. If you can't muster a majority to overturn it, you're just out of luck.
 

Bill Mattocks

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The Lemon Test defines the criteria which any law must pass not to infringe upon the Establishment Clause:

  1. The government's action must have a secular legislative purpose;
  2. The government's action must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion;
  3. The government's action must not result in an "excessive government entanglement" with religion.
Requiring the nation to keep kosher, despite the feelings of the populace, would definitely violate at least 1 prong of the test.

Extrapolating further, all legislative actions must have a secular legislative purpose to be congruent with the Constitution as defined by the USSC in Lemon. It doesn't matter what the feelings of the populace are.

That wasn't the argument I advanced (government imposes kosher law despite public opposition) but your point is well-taken. However, I again must call attention to the fact that in the case you noted (and others like it), it has been determined to be an infringement of an existing civil liberty (1st Amendment, Establishment Clause).

But take anything at all as an example. The public (in Cincinnati, for example) doesn't like pornography and they have strict laws regarding it. Other communities have a different concept of what is and is not pornography. So one could say that the majority in Cincy are oppressing the minority who like them a good porno movie or magazine. Legal? Absolutely. No one's civil liberty is being restricted.

And it's the same everywhere in the USA. If a law is going to be found unconstitutional, it has to be because it violates the Constitution. Not because it's unfair, or wrong, or evil, or oppresses the poor minority. Only if it infringes on civil liberties.

The people, either directly or through the expression of their elected representatives, get to live the way they want - which mostly means the majority get their way. Yes, there are safeguards put in place to ensure that the majority (for example) don't get to decide that the minority should be put to death or have their property confiscated or be forced to convert to some particular religion. Those are good safeguards to have! But they are all in the Constitution. There is nothing about being nice, kind, decent, or wonderful to people. We can make laws that are perfectly obnoxious and perfectly legal, and if the minority it affects negatively doesn't like it, too bad for them. So long as the Constitution is not being infringed, they have to eat it.

If the majority decide they don't like pork and don't think it should be legal to sell or eat, (and the reason is not an infringement on the Establishment Clause but simply because they don't like it, even if their personal beliefs are also kosher), then it's the law. There is nothing that prevents it from being so. "But it doesn't hurt anyone" is not a valid reason for a law to be overturned, and in fact that reason is never one given by courts when they overturn laws. It's just not a legal basis for turning over a law.
 

Blade96

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Bill M I have no idea what you are talking about.

Its been legal for homosexuals to get married in my country for some time now. I don't see my country falling apart because of it.

Gaysgetting married is NOT a danger to society. Or to you, or me.
 

SFC JeffJ

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You do have to remember though, not all of our rights are enumerated in the constitution.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Bill M I have no idea what you are talking about.

Its been legal for homosexuals to get married in my country for some time now. I don't see my country falling apart because of it.

China has a practice of bashing unwanted baby girls on rocks. I don't see it destroying their country. But I also don't want it to be legal in mine.

I don't know what it does to your country. I don't know what it would do in mine. But I have my opinions about it, and I'm entitled to both have them and to vote that way.

Gaysgetting married is NOT a danger to society. Or to you, or me.

Sez you. All due respect, I don't agree. I would never accept your 'proof' and you would never accept my 'proof'. Opinions are like that.
 

Bill Mattocks

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You do have to remember though, not all of our rights are enumerated in the constitution.

Absolutely correct. All of our rights are not enumerated. In fact, that's a most excellent thing indeed, and unique (as far as I know) to the USA. I love this part of our Constitution!

However, what *is* enumerated is a list of rights upon which the federal government (and by extension for some of them, the states) may not infringe.

In other words, you may have a 'right' to juggle cats. But the government is not forbidden from infringing on that right. Since there is nothing stopping the government from infringing, they may pass laws making cat-juggling illegal, and there is nothing you can do about it. Do you have the right? Sure! But the government is allowed to infringe on it - so long as it does not infringe on a civil liberty listed in the Bill of Rights (and amendments) as a prohibition. In other words, you have lots of rights, but only a fairly small number of rights upon which the government may not infringe. The rest of them are fair game to infringe away.

So if a challenge is mounted and the SCOTUS grants cert, then the question will be decided on the basis of what the government is or is not forbidden to do, not on what you have the right to do. No one can say at the outset that the SCOTUS will or will not find a given law to be an infringement on a civil liberty. If we could, there would be little point in passing laws that we were 100% certain would be struck down.

But again, if the law in question does not violate civil liberties, then that's pretty much all there is to it. Laws do not have to be fair, just, decent, kind, or non-oppressive to others. They only have to be legally enacted and withstand legal challenges that may come along.

No one goes to court and challenges the legality of a law because it infringes on a right that is not written down. You may indeed have that right - you probably do - but the only Constitutional challenges the courts here are challenges based on the prohibitions contained in the Bill of Rights and Amendments. "I have the right to jump and down and the state says I can't do it anymore!" Well, too bad. Unless you can argue that your right to jump up and down is actually an expression of free speech; then you might have a chance. If they see it that way.
 

Ken Morgan

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Sez you. All due respect, I don't agree. I would never accept your 'proof' and you would never accept my 'proof'. Opinions are like that.

A potential danger to US society, how? How would the marriage of gay people be of greater detriment to US society, then their non-marriage? The gay population would still exist regardless. What is the fear?
 
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Bob Hubbard

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A potential danger to US society, how? How would the marriage of gay people be of greater detriment to US society, then their non-marriage? The gay population would still exist regardless. What is the fear?
The groom would wear a nicer dress than the bride.
 

bushidomartialarts

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It is true, and you just demonstrated it. "...are in place precisely because the majority will of the people infringes on personal rights/freedoms..."

Correction: "because the majority will of the people has potential to infringe." The law of our country (which seems to be your point) specifically protects me from your opinion if my behavior is harmless. We don't universally uphold that law yet, but the trend has been aggressive since the 1970s or so.

Not, however, 'because' the majority will infringes on civil liberties. ONLY IF the majority will does so. ......

Well, yes. Sometimes the majority is right. Other times it's wrong. Which is why we sometimes have to ask the majority for more than "The Bible Tells Me So" if they want to restrict the freedoms of others. The Lemon ruling also brought up is another good piece of support for that.



Yes and no. ...Fairness, being reasonable, being nice or kind - they have NOTHING to do with it.

Never said the laws changed from fairness, etc. Just that the laws have been changed. Because the laws of our land protect us from a majority (like christians) that holds an opinion that can harm a minority (like homosexuals).




Nope. That's completely wrong....

I think your major point here was that the majority can vote a law into effect, and thus we're wrong in asking for your motivations in doing so.

However, a law that's in effect is only half a law. Legal scholars and working lawyers understand that a law isn't taken seriously until it's survived its first legal challenge. That's how our system works. And our system is designed, among other things, to prevent a majority-passed, overly restrictive, law from surviving the test of the courts.

While you're correct in the details of how laws are created, you seem to be ignoring (I know you can't be unaware of this) that SCOTUS and lesser court review is how those laws get changed...and that the fact that changes for the past several decades are overwhelmingly in favor of personal freedom in the face of majority assumptions such as racism, sexism, distaste of miscegination and employer discrimination for sexual preferences.

That's the law of the land.


This is the point I was making, though. Many people have a fundamental lack of understanding about how our system of government actually works. The majority is perfectly entitled to run roughshod over the minority, so long as they are not violating one of the civil rights outlined in the Bill of Rights. Look at Blue Laws...

Look at Jim Crow laws. Look at teaching evolution in schools. Look at bans on abortion. They were left-overs from a less civilized age. They're gone now because they are illegal under our Constitution. Changed when our system became aware that the opinion of the majority was improperly and illegally restricting the freedoms of a minority.

As those who aren't Christian continue to increase their level of visibility in the American political dialog, we see more and more situations just like that...where the checks and balances inherent in our system find places where the majority assumption is unconstitutional.

Just because it takes us a while to realize something is unconstitutional doesn't make it somehow "more legal." It's still illegal and it's still wrong. And the laws of our country still forbid it, even if that forbidding isn't currently being enforced.
 

Carol

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The U.S. Naval Academy had no issue with honoring the same-sex spouse of a Marine....because they were married.

http://www.suntimes.com/3526027-417/ketterson-academy-naval-usna-fliszar.html


The memorial coordinator asked about his relationship to the deceased. Ketterson said that John Fliszar was his husband.


“They were always polite, but there was this moment of hesitation,” Ketterson recalled. “They said they’re going to need something in writing from a blood relative. They asked, ‘Are you listed on the death certificate?’ ‘Do you have a marriage license?’ ”


He was and they did, the couple having been married in Des Moines when gay marriage became legal in Iowa two years ago.

Ketterson sent a copy of the marriage license. That changed everything.


“I was respected,” he said. “From that moment on, I was next of kin. They were amazing.”
The USNA alumni association sent Ketterson a letter expressing condolence for the loss of his husband.
 

fangjian

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Sez you. All due respect, I don't agree. I would never accept your 'proof' and you would never accept my 'proof'. Opinions are like that.

Why not? If someone can show me evidence of anything I would definitely love to see it. To be reasonable, I don't think one should have anything that is completely dogmatic.

(My above comment doesn't just pertain to gay marriage, but to everything. But for the issue of gay marriage, maybe it would be corrosive to society and I am just ignorant of the evidence)
 

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