Religious Freedom Doesn't Mean the Right to Dictate to Others
Today, an Alternet article, Conservatives Push Hard for Gay Marriage Ban, discussed California's Prop. 8, which seeks to rescind the right to same-sex marriage in that state, focusing on efforts by religious fundamentalists to see Prop. 8 passed.
My comment to that article follows below:
In this article Chuck Colson said:
"If sexual freedom is the ultimate liberty, then you have to rewrite the Bill of Rights. This vote on whether we stop the gay marriage juggernaut in California is the Armageddon. We lose this -- we're going to lose in a lot of other ways, including freedom of religion."
My response to him is:
Sexual freedom is very important, as it directly relates to the right to privacy and the right of free association.
I would also advise Colson that religious freedom has two components: freedom OF religion and, no less important, freedom FROM religion. He has every right to practice his religion as he sees fit, but he and others have no right to impose any aspect of religion on others.
The basis for all state and federal laws regulating consensual adult activity are religious in origin. Civil laws regulating American marriage are a place where religious ideas about the "proper" form of intimate relationships have been enforced as "secular" law.
Marriage was a religious institution until the evolution of civil law. Now, we must question whether it would be best to offer everyone the right to marry, or does our constitutional commitment to religious freedom actually require that the government get out of the marriage business altogether?
The First Amendment requires both the disestablishment of religion and protection for the free exercise of religion, which includes all religions and the right not to practice religion as well. If marriage is based on religion, it too, should be disestablished, thus protecting the free exercise of sexuality.
Sexual freedom also has parallels with religious freedom. That is, we aren't born any particular religion that we cannot change -- we choose what, if any, religion we will practice and the right to do so is protected by the Constitution. Likewise, gays and lesbians shouldn't have to justify why they're homosexual in order to enjoy the same freedom in regards to sexual practices. Whether or not homosexuality is a "choice", it should have no bearing on their rights.
You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.