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Separation of church and state. (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
This is a short essay I wrote for a local paper. As you can imagine responses fell along predictable lines with no real dialogue on the merits of the idea. I'm hoping for better here.


The time has come to separate church and state in this country. No, I’m not talking about school prayer, that’s a red-herring. So are abortion and capital punishment but those are different columns.

What I am talking about is this business of the State sanctioning—indeed almost requiring—religious ceremonies be performed and duly recorded before certain legal rights and obligations are granted to two previously unrelated people.

That’s right…marriage. The keening wail heard from the religious right is matched only by the incendiary rhetoric from the left and it is time to separate the warring sides by returning to our deepest roots.

Marriage, by historical tradition is the joining of a man and a woman in the eyes of God however they behold that deity. As time and civilization marched forward this religious ritual became intertwined with civil law and has now deposited us at the brink of cultural Armageddon. It’s past time to sever those ancient ties.

Marriage, in my opinion and in the eyes of my church, is a joining of a man and woman in the bonds of Holy matrimony—emphasis on the Holy. This is as it should be in a faith-based joining. Your church may have a different viewpoint and that is altogether appropriate in a free society. Where the rub begins is when such unions convey legal rights and obligations in the secular world.

However unsavory or perhaps even detrimental gay marriage may seem to some, the fact of the matter is that government should be about the secular business of the people. It is past time to take the word marriage out of the government license and insert the word union, or even contract, for in fact that is what the civil side of a marriage is anyway. The act of obtaining a license and performing a ceremony in the front of witnesses creates real-world legal obligations that reach far beyond the grasp of any church.

Any mediocre jailhouse lawyer will tell you that a contract is an instrument in writing that legally binds willing parties to perform according to the terms of same. It can be entered into by any who have reached the age of majority and are mentally capable, without regard to race, religion, gender or creed. So be it. Society moved on though the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments about slavery, universal suffrage, abortion, civil rights for people with more melatonin than others and we will move through this as well. Dire predictions about the imminent collapse of civilization have preceded all these events and yet here we all are, still struggling with emotional and deeply held beliefs, as we will be when the next Great Big Hairy Deal comes along to supplant this one.

If I were a divorce lawyer I’d be standing on the tallest box I could find screaming for this reform. The problems and subsequent divorces in the gay community will be every bit as gut wrenching and resource wasting as they are in the straight world, but there will also be happiness and fulfillment for many, and after all isn’t that what the whole idea of marriage is about?

Let’s tell our governments to get out of the marriage business and get back to civil law. Want to get married? Find an accommodating church and minister and be joined in the eyes of God, as you see him, with no legal strings attached. Want to be legally bound together in a civil union? Sign the contract issued by City Hall in the presence of a Notary and witnesses. Then go have a party! I’ll be there with you in spirit.


Senior Member
This is a short essay I wrote for a local paper. As you can imagine responses fell along predictable lines with no real dialogue on the merits of the idea. I'm hoping for better here.

if it's not here for us to critique re the writing quality, wouldn't it be more fitting to put it in the debate section?... or, at least, in 'the lounge'?


I think the idea of seperation of church and state is all-together lost, at least for now. I feel that North America is very conservative right now, and that way of thinking leads to the idea that we should all live in a perfect world. And as long as it suits people, it will continue that way. Up until the day the average person has had enough, and frees himself. Then you can bring up the seperation of church and state, in about another five years or so. These patterns tend to run in decades.

I think homosexuals are very brave, and have fought hard for every right they've earned, and it's paying off with the next generation. I'm only 25, and the people my age are not afraid of homosexuality (at least the ones i know, for the most part). They have rights, and deserve better than to be treated as second class citizens. Marriage is them asking for the same rights and responsibilites as everyone else.

I hope that's the response you're looking for. Normally I avoid all debates about politics and religion, but since you're asking....


Senior Member
Probably so, Mamma. I'm still a rookie here though and it seems like debates break out all over the site that are irrelevant to the question at hand. As I get better wandering around in here I will hopefully get better at figuring out where everything goes.

OJT I guess.


Senior Member
Thanks for your thoughts, Perk. I'm not looking for a specific response so much as just a sharing of thinking. Mamma's probably correct about where I posted so I imagine I may not get as much response as I might have expected. 'S'okay with me though...it's all a learning process.

Despite the content of the essay, I am by no means naive enough to believe anything even close to a sensible acommodation is likely anytime soon.


first of all

First of all holy has no connotations with any religious terms. It means simply "set apart". Perhaps one could blame the incredible moral decripidity that has beset our country due to the lack of "holiness" and reverence for things such as purity, abstinence, temperance and true love.

If marriage is noy "holy" or "set apart" then it is not marriage. A man is not required to marry a woman, there are civil unions, and a man does not have to be married to a woman under God. What you are offering here is a blatant attack on the Biblical view of marriage, in which people are not forced into, this is not the middle ages, but consent into.

Your essay has no depth or intellectuality at all, nothing save for attacks and propositions against those who hold dear the traits mentioned in my first paragraph.


I wholeheartedly agree with your views (my country recently put civil unions into practice) Your writing style was OK but nothing to special. i liked the line If I were a divorce lawyer I’d be standing on the tallest box I could find screaming for this reform. .


Senior Member
No really, Jet. Say what you mean. Don't hold back now.

On the contrary, I am suggesting exactly what you propose. Marriage under the church is purely voluntary in my proposal--will no legal implications--and civil unions are only that, contracts with specified legal obligations.

I am particularly enlightened to know that I have no intellect whatsoever. I shall certainly cease and desist any further attempt at that; or at the very least learn to dismiss your opinion as cavalierly as you have dismissed mine.

I have resisted the temptation to add a pithy quote that would appear in all my posts. I may rethink that and add...

'Flame off, Torch." Stan Lee


Senior Member
Thanks for the input, Bornagain. I have found in writing editorials that my publishers invariably send 'make this more reader friendly' notes to me whenever I attempt to submit 'deep' subjects.

I even wrote an editorial excoriating the paper for 'dumbing down' my essays. They wouldn't print that one; and this a university town. Shame I say to them; no check this week, they respond.

I capitulate, my head hanging down, captive to the almighty buck.


Senior Member
Thanks, Dustin. Welcome to the wacky. obsessive-compulsive world that is the lot of the writer. Have a great time and don't let 'em wear you down.

I judge about half of what goes on in this site is useful to readers and writers alike, and about half is pure drivel. The wonderful thing is, that upon which side of the line any individual item falls, is purely in the eyes of the beholder.


Senior Member
jetzeppelin said:
First of all holy has no connotations with any religious terms.
I think he means to use "denotations", because "holy" is filled with religious connotations.


Senior Member
You are correct that gov. should stay out of the maarriage business. But where civil/public benefits are concerned, people are entitled to 'representation' regarding the disbursal of ther taxes. There is no question they want to impose a specific religious world view upon the secular code, and that should be resisted at all costs. But they must be heard. "Marriage" under the law will require re-defining, or an extension of the present legal/civil definitions. The far Right is dangerous, as is the far left (though if it comes to it, I'll be found behind the 'Left' barricades)---I don't want any of these nuts messing with the Constitution...people wanna meet and obide by the obligations of marriage? Fine--- make it legal for them to do so...for the good and the bad. Man are there bigger problems for this society to deal with.