Rights of the individual

Dear Editor:It seems as though nothing these days will aid and abet more venomous dialog than the introduction of untempered religious faith into the regulation of human social behavior, as in the state of California prohibiting by law marriage between two homosexuals. ("Word of God," 1/15/10) It never ceases to intrigue me that those who would be the first to wave the American flag patriotically and with pride are also the first to destroy our most precious constitutional rights; the separation of church and state and the prohibition of the establishment of a state religion. [Letter-writer Michael] Hanker, as an American fundamentalist religious, has designated himself as the sole arbiter of all human behavior which he deems is unholy and evil if it does not adhere to the narrow vision of his universe as it can be described only in his interpretation of biblical scriptures. The fundamentalist's condemnation of all people who do not think, believe or act according to the dictates of the fundamentalist's religious manifesto is as evil a denial of human rights as any call for a 'holy' war against non-Muslims by any jihadist ayatollah. I suggest that the greater action on Mr. Hanker's part, from a Christian point of view, would be to re-consider the issue of homosexual conjugal union from a dispassionate rhetorical position. Without all the fiery verbiage, he might come to see that marriage is entirely a religious affair that can be governed by each church according to that congregation's own tenets. It is not the business of the state to determine who can be married to whom. Rather, for purposes of taxes, benefits, and social programs, the state should be concerned only with civil unions, which can be made between any two consenting adults, as those social arrangements will affect tax collections, state supported benefits and programs such as education, health and welfare. In a number of countries, couples are "married" in a church, temple, synagogue or other religious facility. They are then united in a civil union in the office of a mayor, state registrar, or justice of the peace. In this way they render both unto G-d and Caesar. You see the source of the problem is neither good nor evil. It is semantic. "Civil Union" should be the language of the state in its laws and statutes. Marriage can then become a part of the vocabulary of the church in its liturgies and teachings. - Michael Parmer, Downey

********** Published: January 22, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 40