Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Prop 8: separation of church and state?

And again Proposition 8 is in the news. In August a federal judge ruled that upholding Proposition 8, forbidding same sex marriage, was unconstitutional. Apparently some people, in this case a coalition gathered at do not accept defeat easily and they appealed the ruling.

The site claims they are "a broad-based coalition of California families, community leaders, religious leaders, pro-family organizations and individuals from all walks of life who have joined together to defend and restore the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman." What I find strange is that the supporters of prop 8 seem afraid that the granting of a basic right to all human beings somehow devaluates their right. Surely, when gays are allowed to marry, it does nothing to a heterosexual couple's right to marry?

What frustrates me in this whole prop 8 affair is that tempers get riled up over nothing - as compared to the real problems of human society. And as usual it is a matter of narrow minded people feeling irrationally threatened by the unknown. Off and on I have read a lot about proposition 8 since 2008 and never have I read any supportive argument of prop 8 that held water. Every time the argument was either easily debunked as simply stupid or it was "fine in church but unconstitutional".

I have a deep suspicion that the crux of the matter lies in the word church. Although the site claims to be a coalition of people from all walks of life, it is impossible not to recognise the Christian right wing undertones of every paragraph on that site. If I'm right, and I do believe I am, then it is no surprise that the arguments brought in favour of prop 8 are silly or unconstitutional. A orthodox Christian mindset is not a very practised one in the intelligence department and it is also not a very constitutionally minded one. As soon as a group of people start to step out of the dark ages and says, "You know what, let's evolve and become enlightened, more advanced humans," the Christian mindset gets confused and scared. The rules of the society they live in no longer echo the Bible, which means they have to start thinking for themselves. And no one has ever taught them how to do that. A Christian mindset always has a higher authority to go to when the questions of life get a bit hard. The priest, the bishop, Jesus, God. All higher beings that can be safely let the running of things to. As to the constitution and law: a Christian mindset recognises only one law, and that is the law of God as set down in that hugely controversial, self referential, man-written text: the Bible. So as long as a Christian can transfer laws from the Bible to state or country law, all is fine. But if laws start to conflict with the law of God, the Christian mindset has to adjust the way all those other-thinkers had to adjust for all those centuries.

So if prop 8 is upheld - which seems unlikely - but if it is it is proof that Church and State are still not separated as they should be in a multi-cultural society. Proof that modern California, like the rest of the U.S. is still a state where the law for every human being living in that state, of whatever religion, race or sexual orientation, is subordinate to a 1500 year old law book recognised by a powerful sub-section of the populace that forces the bitter pill called Bible down everyone's throat using state law as sugar coating.

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