Monday, November 30, 2009

What does one religion's doctrine have to do with civil marriage?

That's the title of this great piece in today's Blue Jersey blog. The concept of separation of church and state, one of the pillars of our republic as enshrined in the very first article in the Bill of Rights, seems to be difficult for a lot of people, notably among established religious organizations, to understand. For example, the Roman Catholic Church seems to think it appropriate to use its influence and financial resources (arguably better spent helping the poor) to prevent people like me, who aren't even Catholic, gaining equal CIVIL legal marriage rights.

Most recently, the Catholic Church in Maine was instrumental in contributing money to overturn equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in the recent Question 1 ballot initiative in Maine, thus stripping same-sex couples of equal civil protections regardless of whether or not those couples were even Catholic. The Catholic Church is also threatening to withhold charity services to the poor and sick in Washington, DC if the District council votes, as it is expected to, to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples there. Perhaps I'm picking too much on the Catholic Church when in fact many other denominations have been just as guilty of imposing their sectarian beliefs on society at large. But I can't help being disgusted as I see an institution that has its own checkered history with respect to morality (e.g. the ongoing scandal of priests abusing children while being protected by the Church, most recently in Ireland) seeking to impose its religion-based sectarian views on all of society, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Nobody is imposing anything on the Catholic Church. I wish they would return the favor.

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