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Separation of church and state gay marriage essay

For more informationor to obtain help, click here. The statement below is an attempt to shed light on the confusion about the separation of church and state. When people argue that same-sex marriage is immoral, critics often attempt to rule their moral and religious arguments out-of-order: Are people of faith trying to impose their religious view of marriage on society as a whole? Are they violating the Constitution?

There is an obvious double standard. So the only moral position ruled out of bounds is the moral position that gay marriage is immoral.

This is just plain hypocrisy. The separation of church and state argument is equally false. This is because marriage has been the foundation of society from the dawn of human civilization, no matter the religion or culture.

There has never been any question about whether marriage extends to same-sex couples.

Until a decade ago, homosexual activity was illegal in many states. Throughout the history of this nation, the state merely recognized marriage, and provided a civil structure of laws to govern it, but never asserted the power to change the nature of the institution. Now, for the first time, the courts have asserted the right to change the definition of marriage, and to impose on the state of California the moral and religious views of a minority, views many believe to be immoral and irreligious.

So how can it be fair for the gay community to impose its moral view on society, but unfair for religious people to advocate a more traditional approach to marriage? The contention that religious people cannot advocate religiously based moral views as public policy is simply censorship.

The bedrock of the American constitution is full and free public debate of issues. With this in mind, we still need to answer the question: Most basic to understanding the First Amendment religion clauses is the recognition that it was intended to protect religious freedom.

This is what Thomas Jefferson meant when he observed that both clauses erected a wall of separation between church and state. The California Supreme Court has now held that the right of gays to equality is fundamental, while refusing to recognize that religious freedom is a fundamental right. This is more fully documented on our website, at www. Clearly, this is NOT religious freedom.

Instead of protecting the freedom of religious people to speak their minds about morality, it is now being used as a tool to silence them, censorshipand to rule their moral views unacceptable.

Clearly, we need a better understanding of the separation of church and state, one that actually respects and protects religious freedom. Kurtzman 1971to determine whether a law or state action violates the Establishment Clause. This test is a very helpful tool for thinking about whether advocating for marriage violates the First Amendment. The Lemon test requires laws: Marriage most definitely serves important secular purposes and has a secular effect: There is nothing improper separation of church and state gay marriage essay unduly religious about wanting to promote marriage for the good of families, children and society.

After all, religious groups have lined up on both sides of the debate. So which ones are violating the First Amendment by advocating their view of what marriage policy should be?

Not About Gay Rights: Same Sex Marriage and the Separation of Church and State

Thus, retaining the definition of marriage as a man and a woman simply does not pose a meaningful threat to the separation of church and state. Nor is there anything in the language of Prop 8 that is even remotely religious. It simply states that: This means that the state cannot regulate the religious aspects of marriage. Proposition 8 does not include any religious aspects of marriage, only civil laws concerning marriage. All sides of this debate concede that the state has the right to legislate the civil rules on marriage; they just differ on what those rules should be.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the meaning of separation of church and state. Religious conservatives tend to denigrate church-state separation, because they want a much stronger overlap between the spheres of church and state. They want more unity of purpose, more religion in government and public life, not more separation.

They seek to reduce the influence and place of religion in public life. Such secularists desire a more complete separation of the spheres of government and religion. They argue that whenever public policies reflect religious values in even a remote sense, such policies violate the First Amendment.

Same-sex Marriage, Censorship, and the Separation of Church and State

American courts have never embraced this view of separation of church and state, and moreover, neither has the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Discussions with some Adventist advocates of church-state separation suggest that the reason for their opposition to Proposition 8 derives from the conviction that marriage is and ought to be, primarily religious.

In their reasoning, since marriage is an institution ordained by God in Eden, it is fundamentally religious. Thus, they are unable to see that the state does not concern itself with marriage as a religious institution, but only in its civil aspects. We certainly do agree that marriage is religious, and that it was ordained by God in Eden. For us, it is profoundly religious, but that does not make civil marriage as regulated by the state inherently religious.

There is a danger in exalting separation of church and state into an absolute principle; a goal in and of itself.

The Conversation

We have found, in practice, that both extreme positions, those of religious conservatives and of secularists alike, pose grave threats to liberty of conscience and religion.

With respect to marriage, we have already written extensively as to why same-sex marriage threatens the very existence and survival of organized religion in America. A balanced view of church and state looks to the purpose of the First Amendment — protecting religious freedom, not at some abstract notion of complete and utter separation of religion and government.

  • Thus, they are unable to see that the state does not concern itself with marriage as a religious institution, but only in its civil aspects;
  • American courts have never embraced this view of separation of church and state, and moreover, neither has the Seventh-day Adventist Church;
  • The statement below is an attempt to shed light on the confusion about the separation of church and state.

Such separation is possible only in theory, not in reality. In our own advocacy of Proposition 8, there are two points worth repeating here: Our interest in Proposition 8 is simply about our support for marriage and for religious freedom. Second, we have been teaching church members to make secular, not religious arguments in favor of marriage in their public discussion of the issues. We believe the wisdom of God with respect to marriage can be universally discerned by all, regardless of religious belief or lack thereof.

The importance of marriage to society, to families and children, is easily understood without reference to specific religious teachings. In the end, the most important stake holder without a voice in this marriage debate is our children, whose wellbeing depends on the preservation of marriage.