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Merry Christmas!

 

Merry Christmas from NOM

42 Comments

  1. Good News
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Merry Christmas!!

    (I can see that Santa Clause has a lot of work cutout for himself. A lot of joy to be given, a lot of joy to be received. May it all serve god's honor and glory; whether poor or rich, sick or well, alone or in community. Peace to you all, and to all a good night.)

  2. Robert N. Schwartz
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on all the blessings given you by God.

  3. Ron Lussier
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Why do you want to institute discrimination against religions that aren't yours, Brian? Isn't that wrong? http://nyti.ms/TiLeUP

  4. Randy E King
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    @Ron,

    Is SSM a part of noted religions official doctrine, or is it rooted in transitory popular culture?

    "It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins." Benjamin Franklin

    Religion: a system of belief

    Marriage corruption supporters believe any system of belief that stands in opposition to their system of belief is a religion; whereas there system of belief is not a religion.

  5. M. jones
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Ron, there is no way to make equal, what should not be equal according to our savior.

  6. Ash
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I really love this photo. Brian has such a beautiful family. Merry Christmas to all.

  7. Zack
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to you Brian. God bless you all.

  8. Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to all!

  9. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas to all.
    And to all a good night!

  10. FemEagle
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    **Ron, there is no way to make equal, what should not be equal according to our savior.**

    Rather more significantly, there is no logical or ethical way to make equal what is NOT equal in nature.

  11. M. jones
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Can you imagine being raised in an environment where a child is a fashion statement, like a pair of shoes, or a pet?

  12. Clark
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Statistically, one of those kids is gay. In 25 years, Brian's going to have to explain to all of them that he made a living fighting against the civil rights of a minority. Sad.

  13. Son of Adam
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Redefining marriage is not a civil right, Clark. Besides, I am confident enough in Brian's parenting skills to persuade his kids to stay away from such a dangerous and destructive lifestyle.

  14. bman
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    RL->Why do you want to institute discrimination against religions that aren't yours, Brian? Isn't that wrong?

    Its right for government to publicly recognize and prefer the promotion of Christianity over other religions while leaving individuals free to adopt their own religion.

  15. bman
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Clark->.....fighting against the civil rights of a minority. Sad.

    Its sad you want morally disordered sexual behaviors promoted to society by the government under the guise of civil rights.

  16. Randy E King
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    "Its sad you want morally disordered sexual behaviors promoted to society by the government under the guise of civil rights."

    The principal goal of your A-typical sociopath is to create willing victims who affirm the appropriateness of the crimes perpetrated against them.

  17. Spunky...
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    @ bman

    Its right for government to publicly recognize and prefer the promotion of Christianity over other religions while leaving individuals free to adopt their own religion.

    No.

    There has been little to no precedent of this in Supreme Court interpretations of the Establishment Clause. In fact, even the dissenting opinion in the landmark ruling of Lee v. Weisman specifically stated

    Thus, while I have no quarrel with the Court's general proposition that the Establishment Clause "guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise," ante, at 8, I see no warrant for expanding the concept of coercion beyond acts backed by threat of penalty — a brand of coercion that, happily, is readily discernible to those of us who have made a career of reading the disciples of Blackstone rather than of Freud. The Framers were indeed opposed to coercion of religious worship by the National Government; but, as their own sponsorship of nonsectarian prayer in public events demonstrates, they understood that "[s]peech is not coercive; the listener may do as he likes." American Jewish Congress v. Chicago, 827 F. 2d, at 132 (Easterbrook, J., dissenting).

    (emphasis added by me)

    The most religiously conservative judges in the SCOTUS shared this view, so I don't see this changing any time soon.

    Can you cite specific examples showing otherwise?

  18. Spunky...
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    @ Moderator

    Comment in the queue responding to bman. Can you please delete my first comment (and this as well)? Thank you.

  19. Spunky...
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Forget it. I don't want to wait. This is a duplicate post.

    @ bman

    Its right for government to publicly recognize and prefer the promotion of Christianity over other religions while leaving individuals free to adopt their own religion.

    No.

    There has been little to no precedent of this in Supreme Court interpretations of the Establishment Clause.

  20. Spunky...
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    In fact, even the dissenting opinion in the landmark ruling of Lee v. Weisman specifically >a href="http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/90-1014.ZD.html">stated

    Thus, while I have no quarrel with the Court's general proposition that the Establishment Clause "guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise," ante, at 8, I see no warrant for expanding the concept of coercion beyond acts backed by threat of penalty — a brand of coercion that, happily, is readily discernible to those of us who have made a career of reading the disciples of Blackstone rather than of Freud.

    (emphasis added by me)

  21. Spunky...
    Posted December 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd., last comment)

    The dissent follows:

    The Framers were indeed opposed to coercion of religious worship by the National Government; but, as their own sponsorship of nonsectarian prayer in public events demonstrates, they understood that "[s]peech is not coercive; the listener may do as he likes." American Jewish Congress v. Chicago, 827 F. 2d, at 132 (Easterbrook, J., dissenting).

    (emphasis mine)

    The most religiously conservative judges (Scalia (the author), and Rehnquist, to name two) in the SCOTUS shared this view, so I don't see this changing any time soon.

    Can you cite specific examples showing otherwise?

  22. bman
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    bman-> Its right for government to publicly recognize and prefer the promotion of Christianity over other religions while leaving individuals free to adopt their own religion.

    Spunky->No. There has been little to no precedent of this in Supreme Court interpretations of the Establishment Clause.

    One example of my claim would be formal government recognition of Christmas as a holiday.

    It publicly recognizes Christianity while leaving individuals free to follow their own religion.

    Its unclear how your quotations from the courts are supposed to refute my claim, as well.

    For example, you boldfaced these words, "I have no quarrel with the Court's general proposition that the Establishment Clause guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise."

    That statement opposes the form of coercion mentioned but it does not prevent public recognition that does not coerce in said manner.

    If you still wish to oppose my claim, I would ask that you clarify your counter claim.

    It seems you are making this counter claim, " Its [wrong] for government to publicly recognize and prefer the promotion of Christianity over other religions even if it leaves individuals free to adopt their own religion."

    Does that reflect your counter claim? If so, do you also oppose the public recognition of Christmas as a federal holiday?

  23. M. jones
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    bman, great "Gotcha"

  24. Spunky...
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    @ bman

    Maybe we both should clarify.

    Ron Lussier asked Brian Brown why he "institute[d] discrimination against religions that aren't [Christianity]." Given Brown's position as president of NOM, I took this to mean, "Why does Brian Brown want the government to enforce Christian morals and ban gay marriage?" I imagine you did too. If not, please correct me.

    You responded to this by saying it was "right" for the government to promote Christianity while still allowing others to practice their own religions. Given your position on gay marriage and religion in government, I took this mean, "The government gets to enforce Christian morality and practices over those of other religions, while still allowing people to follow their own religions. A ban on gay marriage is one such example." Again, if this is not correct, please clarify.

  25. Spunky...
    Posted December 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    I will now answer your question about Christmas as a Federal Holiday. (However, I don't really want to get into a debate about it--it's a minor issue, and not what we're really discussing here.)

    If the government recognized Christmas as a Federal Holiday because it's convenient for most American workers, who want to stay at home with their families, then that's fine. I'm especially okay with this since the celebrated traditions of Christmas (setting up a tree and lights, opening presents, and relaxing), are secular, not religious, practices for most (all?) Americans. Indeed, many non-Christian Americans do this, so this tradition is in no way exclusive to Christianity. If the government wants to make it easier for Americans to do all this, then fine by me.

    If, on the other hand, the government recognized Christmas as a Federal Holiday because it wanted to promoting prayer to Christ, then I would not okay with that. I would oppose this because I instead look at this as coercing Americans into practicing Christianity.

    I believe this reasoning is consistent with that of the SCOTUS (see the "Religious Displays" section of the "Establishment Clause" link in my above comment).

  26. bman
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Spunky->Given your position on gay marriage and religion in government, I took this mean, "The government gets to enforce Christian morality and practices over those of other religions, while still allowing people to follow their own religions. A ban on gay marriage is one such example." Again, if this is not correct, please clarify.

    Some corrections are needed (made in brackets) .

    "...[its right for] government to [formally recognize] Christian morality and practices over those of other religions, while still allowing [individuals] to follow their own religion. [Non-recognition] of [disordered sexual unions as marriage] is one such example.

  27. Spunky...
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    @ bman

    Thanks for clarifying. Given this opinion, I would say 3 things in 3 consecutive comments.

    1. That's simply not fair to anyone of a different religion (on a moral level, not a legal level). For example, even though I'm in the minority as a reform Jew who does not believe in God, I still feel the government should formally recognize my religion as much as any other. Which really means, not formally recognizing any religion, period. This is neither here nor there, but I figured I should give you my opinion of religion in government since you gave yours.

  28. Spunky...
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    2. I can now refer you to the passages in bold. By not recognizing gay marriage, I feel the government is coercing the American people to "support and participate" in Christian practices, which even the most conservative justices believed decades ago. Again, for example, as a reform Jew who does not believe in God, and whose religion does allow gay marriage, I have to live as a Christian with regards to gay marriage. Because Christianity does not allow gay marriage, I do not get to participate in a gay marriage even though I am not Christian. Now, following Scalia's logic, if the government wanted to issue a statement against gay marriage, that would be fine since "speech is not coercive; the listener may do as he likes." The way things stand right now, however, I may not do as I like.

  29. Spunky...
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    2. I can now refer you you to the passages in bold from Scalia's dissent. By "not recognizing gay marriage, the government is coercing me to "support or participate in" the Christian practice of not getting gay married. Again, as an example, even though I am a reform Jew who does not believe in God (and whose religion does recognize gay marriage), I cannot fully practice my religion and follow its morals because the government has forced me to behave as a Christian in this regard. I view this as unacceptable, and I believe Scalia's reasoning does as well. On the other hand, if the government instead allowed gay marriage but issued a statement condemning it, Scalia would find that acceptable since "[s]peech is not coercive; the listener may do as he likes."

  30. Spunky...
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    3. You may still disagree with my reasoning in point 2. Even if Scalia's dissent is not applicable in this case, it was still the dissenting view of Lee v. Weisman; the history of the use of the Establishment Clause in the SCOTUS does not support your view of government's promotion of Christianity. Perhaps I am wrong, and Wikipedia is leaving out several important cases. If so, can you provide some? (By the way, I assume you're making a legal argument. If you're making a moral argument, then only my previous post is appropriate---forget points 2 and 3 and I'll end it here.)

  31. Bystander
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    @Spunky,@bman
    In what way is non-recognition of SSM more Christian than Jewish? I find that whole premise questionable. There are Jewish denominations that endorse SSM and those that don't. There are also Christian denominations that do and those that don't. There are both pastors and rabbis on each side of the debate.

  32. bman
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Spunky->If, on the other hand, the government recognized Christmas as a Federal Holiday because it wanted to promoting prayer to Christ, then I would not okay with that. I would oppose this because I instead look at this as coercing Americans into practicing Christianity.

    Your notion of coercion reflects a revisionist, and non-historical, view of rights that should not be used to interpret the meaning of the Constitution.

    Its also incompatible with the right of the people to form a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Imagine a community of Christians goes to a new world to form a government that honors Christ in its laws and its schools.

    Would they have the right to form a government that represents their shared values? They would.

    Now, let's suppose you later move into that community and pay taxes. Should they lose the right to have a government based on their shared values because you moved in and don't share those values?

    That would deprive them of the rights of community they had before you arrived. And there is the real coercion.

    Should your "right" to be free from the values of the people be placed above their right to have a government that publicly speaks and recognizes their values?

    The Constitution must be viewed historically as a written contract between Christian state governments to give up some powers, but not all, to form a shared national government.

    Since the Constitution is a contract ratified by Christian states, it should never be viewed as a document that forbids government to recognize the Christian values unanimously agreed upon by them.

    The fact these were Christian states is a matter of history that you can verify by reading the original state constitutions.

    Here, for example, is an excerpt from the Massachusetts constitution of that period:

    CONSTITUTION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, June 15, 1780 (written by John Adams): ARTICLE 3. The people of this commonwealth have a right to invest their legislature with power to... make suitable provision... for the institution of the public worship of God, and for the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality...And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good subjects of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

    Clearly, the people of 1780 would reject your claim that its coercion to publicly promote Christian prayer. That alone should convince you that your idea of coercion is simply a subjective opinion you hold that lacks a historical basis for interpreting the Constitution.

    Notice, too, the commonwealth of Massachusetts was a Christian community with a government that recognized the shared religious values of the people.

    If your notion of coercion was applied to their constitution it would deny them their right to have a government that speaks and recognizes their values, yes?

    Well, that same coercive effect occurs whether we apply it to the 1780 Massachusetts constitution or to community values today.

    Consider prayer in public schools. When the Constitution said "Congress" can not "prohibit the free exercise of religion" did that mean the Supreme Court could prevent school prayer in every community throughout the United States?

    That is where the coercion really is.

    The people of a community should determine if there is daily prayer in their school, not the federal government.

    I have avoided mentioning "gay marriage" up to this point so you could see that a community has a right to form a government with laws that represents and speaks the values of the community.

    The right of the people to have their government represent their values cannot co-exist alongside the concept of freedom from religion that you hold, as seen by the school prayer result.

    To me, the idea you advance amounts to tyranny in seed form, and I believe it would become tyranny in full form if allowed to develop.

    Just as the white crosses in Arlington National Cemetery should not be removed so a few can be free from religion, the moral and religious values of the people should not be removed from the their laws, or prayer removed from their schools for that reason either.

  33. Spunky...
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    @ Bystander

    That's a good point, and one I always keep in mind.

    As I stated, I practice reform Judaism, which does accept gay marriage. Based on previous posts by bman, it is my understanding that he practices a conservative form of Christianity and believes our government should legislate based on conservative Christian beliefs.

    I wasn't trying to infer anything about Judaism or Christianity. I was only trying to point out that if the U.S. government legislated in ways that favored certain belief systems over others, then it would compromise those other belief systems and the people who practiced them, which I think is a) unfair and b) unconstitutional.

    You might prefer this example: if the government banned gay marriage based solely on certain Christian convictions, then it would infringe on the ability of other Christians whose religions do allow gay marriage to fully practice their religions. Instead, they would have to follow a brand of Christianity that is not their own, which conflicts with Scalia's (again, dissenting) argument.

  34. bman
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Spunky->....the history of the use of the Establishment Clause in the SCOTUS does not support your view of government's promotion of Christianity

    Since 1940, or so, your comment is basically correct, especially Everson v. Board of Education 1947, the wall of separation case.

    In general, however, justices who view the historical meaning of the Constitution as controlling would be on my side of the issue.

    Justice Rehnquist, for example, gave a lengthy discussion on how the historical context of the establishment clause affects its interpretation, in his dissent of Wallace v. Jaffree 1985.

    Here are some brief excerpts with the order arranged to support my position:

    "There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the "wall of separation" that was constitutionalized in Everson."

    "The actions of the First Congress...confirm...[it] did not mean that the Government should be neutral between religion and irreligion...[it] provided that "[r]eligion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

    "...the universal sentiment in America [in 1789] was that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship. .."

    "An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation."

    "The real object of the [First] [A]mendment was not to countenance, much less to advance, Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government. It thus cut off the means of religious persecution (the vice and pest of former ages), and of the subversion of the rights of conscience in matters of religion..."

    "No principle of constitutional law is violated when thanksgiving or fast days are appointed; when chaplains are designated for the army and navy; when legislative sessions are opened with prayer or the reading of the Scriptures, or when religious teaching is encouraged by a general exemption of the houses of religious worship from taxation for the support of State government."

    "....after the House of Representatives voted to adopt the form of the First Amendment Religion Clauses..[a Joint Resolution]....[asked] the President [to] "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God..."

    "The Presidential Proclamation was couched in these words: ".....I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation.... that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions..."

    "...Madison's thinking, as reflected by actions on the floor of the House in 1789, [shows] he saw the Amendment as designed to prohibit the establishment of a national religion, and perhaps to prevent discrimination among sects. He did not see it as requiring neutrality on the part of government between religion and irreligion."

    "Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship...."

    "Our [SCOTUS'] recent opinions, many of them hopelessly divided pluralities, have with embarrassing candor conceded that the "wall of separation" is merely a "blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier," which "is not wholly accurate" and can only be "dimly perceived."

    "....the Everson "wall" has proved all but useless as a guide to sound constitutional adjudication..
    But the greatest injury of the "wall" notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intentions of the drafters of the Bill of Rights....no amount of repetition of historical errors in judicial opinions can make the errors true. The "wall of separation between church and State" is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned."

    The entire discussion is educational and remarkable reading.

    The entire ruling to include Justice Rehnquist's dissent is available at Wallace v. Jaffree 1985

  35. Randy E King
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    There are no tenants in the Judea or Christian faith that provides for the acceptance of changing the intent and meaning of marriage. Any congregation that does so is standing in direct opposition to the tenets of the faith they claim to represent.

    Furthermore; all laws are based on belief. If it were unconstitutional to legislate based on a system of belief then it would be unconstitutional to legislate anything.

    Go sell crazy somewhere else!

  36. bman
    Posted January 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Spunky->Ron Lussier asked Brian Brown why he "institute[d] discrimination against religions that aren't [Christianity]." Given Brown's position as president of NOM, I took this to mean, "Why does Brian Brown want the government to enforce Christian morals and ban gay marriage?" I imagine you did too. If not, please correct me.

    Previous to Ron's objection we find Brian's Merry Christmas greeting.

    Contextually, Ron objected to that greeting to somehow bolster his own marriage viewpoint.

    It seemed consistent that Ron or someone in that camp would view both the Christmas holiday and marriage law as "instituted discrimination against religions that aren't Christianity."

    And so, given the context, I responded to both sides of Ron's implied argument.

    My answer is the same, either way, though.

    The people have a right to a government that represents and honors their values, as opposed to the alien values of other cultures or religions.

    By the same token, its right that government speak and honor the values of its people, as to opposed to the alien values of other cultures or religions.

    The starting principle of democratic government is that the people have a right to representative government by default.

    The mere fact plaintiffs can't marry as they please is no proof that justice was violated by the will of the people. If that were the case then "threesome" marriages or so-called "open marriages" would have to be institutionalized, or any form of marriage some alien culture or value system allows.

    By the way, polygamists in Davis v. Beacon wanted to practice polygamy based on freedom of religion, which was rejected by the Supreme Court which I mention as an answer to Bystander's question and your reply thereto.

    I have a couple of posts in moderation since Saturday, one on the establishment clause, so I will postpone repeating those arguments here.

  37. Spunky
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    @ bman

    Spunky->....the history of the use of the Establishment Clause in the SCOTUS does not support your view of government's promotion of Christianity

    Since 1940, or so, your comment is basically correct, especially Everson v. Board of Education 1947, the wall of separation case.

    I'm glad we agree on this. Reading your subsequent posts, I see that your argument was not based on SCOTUS precedent, but rather on morality and the history of Christianity in the US, particularly in some (but not all) state constitutions. In particular, it seems you're quite the follower of Rehnquist--it does not surprise me that he vehemently objected to all of these decisions. I'm sure Scalia felt similarly.

    I still maintain that the reasoning those same men used in Everson v. Board of Education implies that the lack of recognition of gay marriage by the government solely on religious grounds is coercion. If the government refuses financial benefits in the form of tax breaks, cheaper health insurance options, etc., to people solely because they wish to marry in a way that Christianity does not accept, then that is coercion to participate in Christianity. If you want to argue the SCOTUS has been responsible for coercion on a much grander scale, then fine, but my point remains.

  38. Spunky
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    I take issue with your example, which juxtaposes the MA Constitution of 1780 with the phrase "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." I understand that the US was founded by Christians, and that some states felt more strongly about imposing Christian beliefs than others. I further understand it is your belief that the government should support the Christian beliefs people held 230 years ago over the plethora of other religions we have today. However, to say this and then accuse the other side of ignoring the will of the people is simply illogical. We live in a country where 15% of people who do not identify with any religion; this number has grown significantly in the past few years. At least two polls suggest that two-thirds of Americans believe the First amendment requires a clear separation of Church and State. Yet you do not want these 15% to have any representation with regard to our laws. That is not a government of the people, by the people. That is the government of the people, by bman.

    Your "Christian community" example also fails to move me. The idea that "alien values of other cultures or religions" don't have a say in the already-formed, Christian government is at best outdated and inapplicable today. My grandparents were both Jews, born in the US almost 100 years ago. Their religion and values were not alien then, nor are they today. They paid their dues, both financially and otherwise (my grandfather fought in WWII), as did many other non-Christian Americans. They were as important to this country as anyone else. By your logic, the values of their descendants, also US natives, reflect the values of a portion of the people, not "alien values of other cultures." When you use that phrase, you aren't referring to me.

  39. Spunky
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd.)

    Note sure if this made it. Reposting.

    I take issue with your example, which juxtaposes the MA Constitution of 1780 with the phrase "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." I understand that the US was founded by Christians, and that some states felt more strongly about imposing Christian beliefs than others. I further understand it is your belief that the government should support the Christian beliefs people held 230 years ago over the plethora of other religions we have today. However, to say this and then accuse the other side of ignoring the will of the people is simply illogical. We live in a country where 15% of people who do not identify with any religion; this number has grown significantly in the past few years. At least two polls suggest that two-thirds of Americans believe the First amendment requires a clear separation of Church and State. Yet you do not want these 15% to have any representation with regard to our laws. That is not a government of the people, by the people. That is the government of the people, by bman.

  40. Spunky
    Posted January 3, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    @ bman (ctd., 3 of 3)

    Not sure if this made it. Reposting.

    Your "Christian community" example also fails to move me. The idea that "alien values of other cultures or religions" don't have a say in the already-formed, Christian government is at best outdated and inapplicable today. My grandparents were both Jews, born in the US almost 100 years ago. Their religion and values were not alien then, nor are they today. They paid their dues, both financially and otherwise (my grandfather fought in WWII), as did many other non-Christian Americans. They were as important to this country as anyone else. By your logic, the values of their descendants, also US natives, reflect the values of a portion of the people, not "alien values of other cultures." When you use that phrase, you aren't referring to me.

  41. bman
    Posted January 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Spunky->...the lack of recognition of gay marriage by the government solely on religious grounds is coercion

    How do you apply that to threesome marriages, then?

    Do you say people are being "coerced" to follow the Christian practice of, "not getting [threesome] married"?

    Also, it seems you are not saying non-recognition by government is itself "coercion," but you are saying its coercion only if its "solely on religious grounds."

    If that is your argument, it sounds rather moot since principled secular reasons exist for non-recognition of same sex "marriage."

  42. bman
    Posted January 5, 2013 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Spunky->I see that your argument was not based on SCOTUS precedent, but rather on morality and the history of Christianity in the US,...

    You seem to miss the fact a legal argument was made regarding the original meaning of the Constitution.

    Ask yourself the question, "What did the establishment clause mean in 1789 to the states that signed it?"

    Once you answer that then ask, "Did SCOTUS redefine its meaning in the 1940's?"

    I refer you to the excerpts from Justice Rehnquist as a good source to begin research on those questions.