Friday, June 20, 2008

Culture Clash

Harriet Bernstein went on a retreat eight years ago and met her future partner Luisa Paster. Bernstein and Paster formalized their love for one another, a few months after New Jersey legalized civil unions for same-sex partners. They in turn asked to be unionized at a Methodist retreat center, formally known as Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. The association turned their request down based on their religious belief that marriage is between a man and a women and not between two lesbian lovers.

"When Bernstein and Paster asked to celebrate their civil union in the pavilion, the Methodist organization said they could marry on the boardwalk — anywhere but buildings used for religious purposes. In other words, not the pavilion. (the Rev. Scott Hoffman, the group's administrator) says there was a theological principle at stake."
Read full story HERE.
Although this story has been around for awhile and most of you may or may not have read about it, the precedent it sets is quite dangerous and very much so unconstitutional. Will the teachings in any church regarding the sinful nature of homosexuality be the only thing that will be protected under the Constitution or will religious institutions, and their accompanying estates, have to be subjected to the same rules as any public institution or property? It sounds to me that this case will potentially force ALL religious institutions to reside over same-sex "marriages"/unions or face a civil rights lawsuit. So, in turn freedom of religion, along with traditional marriages and families, will become obsolete unless we ALL speak up and fight this rediculousness.
Jennifer Pizer, a senior counsel at Lambda, a gay rights law group, painted a picture for everyone as if we were all born yesterday when she said:
"Groups that are worried that something new will interrupt their ability to function the way they are functioning will soon see that [gay marriage] will not change the rules that govern their public activities. Those rules have been in place and work just fine."
And why then, Ms. Pizer, are religious institutions being attacked and redefined to fit the sexual desires of same-sex couples? Sorry, we are a little bit smarter than that.
Read the article in which Ms. Pizer's comments are found by clicking HERE.
I only have two questions:
1. Are religious institutions under attack for their beliefs regarding same-sex "marriages" and why can they not adhere to these beliefs when making decisions about the use of their property for sinful events, such as same-sex "marriages"?
2. Is the Methodist organization infringing on public order in ways detrimental to society with their decision and if so how?

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I am one who generally sees any religious group in trouble as a good thing, this bugs me. I am an advocate for freedom. If a company does not wish to photograph a couples wedding because their gay I’m okay with that. If that same company doesn’t wish to photograph another wedding because they believe the couple is ugly so be it. It’s their company, and if they don’t wish to take money from people that are willing to give it for a service it is their choice; just don’t complain if your company gets into financial trouble along the way.

Churches are weird though. They take money from their parishioners to build their places of worship; do they tell these same parishioners that if their kids become gay and want to get married there it will not be allowed? I’d be seriously pissed off if the church I went to on a weekly basis, gave money to, let my children attend their religious ceremonies told me my child couldn’t get married there because they don’t approve. I’d want my money back plus a good amount for any time spent there.

Let me know what you guys think.

Ken Weaver

12:28 AM, June 21, 2008  
Blogger John Hosty-Grinnell said...

There is supposedly a clear difference between civil unions and the sacriment of marriage by an ordained minister.

Scia, aren't you one of the people who pushed for civil unions instead of marriage here in Massachusetts? Why would you want to confuse the two as the same when your group was selling the GLBT on it prior to the final outcome?

7:18 AM, June 23, 2008  
OpenID dmurphy98 said...

This is actually a very interesting case, and is part of the trend that will certainly impact the actions in which religious institutions engage in the future.

Ken, I must respectfully disagree with you. If a certain group is recognized as a protected class, e.g. women, minorities, etc., then to refuse to provide services to them because of that protected class status is indeed discrimination that can be regulated.

However, when it comes to religious institutions, I am a firm supporter of the First Amendment. But the First Amendment doesn't settle the question, because the Establishment Clause and the cases interpreting it have never defined (as far as I am aware) the boundaries of what constitutes the exercise of religion and what is plainly a secular activity carried on by a religious institution.

For example, the Sisters of Mercy are one of the largest health care providers in California, but they cannot refuse to provide health care based on sexual orientation, as providing health care is not the exercise of Roman Catholicism.

Courts have upheld the taxation of church-owned land where the land was not used for religious purposes. It seems to me that courts examine the nature of the activity to determine whether it has any religious component at all, and err on the side of protecting First Amendment rights.

Marriages, IMHO, are a bit of a different thing. In most Christian denominations, marriage has some sacramental component, and is thereby religious in nature, yet marriage is regulated by the state. In most states, a member of the clergy performs a marriage which is recognized in that congregation for religious reasons, but which the state also recognizes because it conforms with the statutory requirements.

I anticipate a result where an appellate court rules that a marriage performed in the religious traditions of a recognized congregation holds such a religious component as to exempt it from application of discrimination statutes.

If they were to take it further, we could end up with a sort of Revolutionary Mexico model, where the parties were married first in a civil ceremony to comply with the law, and then were married in the "real" marriage in a church. This model was still in effect as of about 15 years ago.

And, based on this simple analysis, I believe that if the CMA ever allowed this space to be rented or utilized for secular events, they will lose badly.

4:50 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger SCIA said...

Ken,

Your contradicting yourself.

On one hand you say:

"If a company does not wish to photograph a couples wedding because their gay I’m okay with that."

And then you say:

"...do they(churches)tell these same parishioners that if their kids become gay and want to get married there it will not be allowed?"

Not all churches beleive in same-sex "marriages", just like not all photography companies beleive in same-sex "marriages".

Not all churches KNOW what the sexual orientation is of all of their parishoners,and photography companies that do not take money from homosexual customers KNOW what their sexual orientations are.

Some homosexuals give money to their places of worship and some don't. How can a homosexual couple get mad at a church for not "marrying" them when they know darn well that, for example, the Christian church beleives that homosexuality is a sin? The homosexual couple gave money to an institution that does not advocate for sin and will not take part in a ceremony that does just that.

"It's their company", a church that is, right Ken? You are "an advocate for freedom", but I don't think you are an advocate for religious freedom.

7:51 PM, June 24, 2008  
Blogger SCIA said...

John,

You said:

"Scia, aren't you one of the people who pushed for civil unions instead of marriage here in Massachusetts?"

When did I ever push for civil unions instead of marriage for homosexuals?????????????????????????????????????????????????????

You concluded with:

"Why would you want to confuse the two as the same when your group was selling the GLBT on it prior to the final outcome?"

When did "my group", whomever that is, EVER sell the GLBT on civil unions instead of marriage???

Are you drunk or just spreading lies...or both??

7:55 PM, June 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“If a certain group is recognized as a protected class, e.g. women, minorities, etc., then to refuse to provide services to them because of that protected class status is indeed discrimination that can be regulated.”

That is the way things are but not the way they should be. I believe people who create their own businesses should have a right to refuse service for any reason they choose. If a business owner doesn’t like to serve blacks I don’t feel he should be forced to. People have the right to be ass-holes, just look at Scia. (J/K Scia). If my service is to take pictures should I be forced to take pictures of something I don’t want to? The businesses that refuse to perform services based on sexual orientation or race are basically refusing money; shouldn’t they have a right to do so? Sooner or later those biases will be the downfall of that business as word spreads around.

“Ken,

Your contradicting yourself.

On one hand you say:

"If a company does not wish to photograph a couples wedding because their gay I’m okay with that."

And then you say:

"...do they(churches)tell these same parishioners that if their kids become gay and want to get married there it will not be allowed?"”

I disagree; a business is built by the person creating that business. He may save his money or get a loan to build it but it is that one person or entity that is doing the building. A church gets built because of donations or what some people call tithing. Regardless of what it is called it is still a donation. When a church takes money from people it is not in return for a service. It is people sacrificing for god. Not unlike burning a calf on an altar but in the case of money the church can use it. That’s how churches get built. Churches are built upon the donations of outside sources. Maybe if churches weren’t given tax free status and took money for services like maybe they could put sins into categories and tell people a level 1 sin costs this much and a level 2 sin costs this much more I could see it more as a business able to pick and choose who can use their services, but when you have to beg for money and you can receive money tax free, your domain just became public. And just like a public park you shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who uses your services.

“You are "an advocate for freedom", but I don't think you are an advocate for religious freedom.”

I believe people have the right to worship as they please. If someone wants to worship their big toe, I’m okay with that. But if they’re going to come to my house and tell me that if I don’t live by their big toey morals I’m going to spend eternity in a stinky sock I’m going to show them how far my big toe can go up their behind. If their going to try and impose laws that will force people to live by their big toey morals or be considered criminals I’m going to start stepping on big toes.

Ken Weaver

9:45 AM, June 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that gives me all that I need to know.

Ken is a fucking stupid ass shit who makes no sense.

Fuck ya's all, you are not worth the paper I wipe my ass with.

9:11 PM, June 25, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Ken is a fucking stupid ass shit who makes no sense.”

YAY!!! I couldn’t agree more. By the way, who are you?

Ken Weaver

10:27 PM, June 25, 2008  
Blogger SCIA said...

Ken,

I don't think your a "fucking stupid ass shit who makes no sense."

This guy is very articulate.

Anyway,

You said:

"When a church takes money from people it is not in return for a service."

You are incorrect sir. Many churches require couples to pay for their marriage ceremonies, baptisms and other religious functions. They may request that you give a donation for these services, but the organist, which is part of the church, needs to get paid, or even the "Holy Water Wiper-er" for baptisms. Why can't the church providing the above services pay the organist or the person who wipes your babies forhead? When people give money to a church it is out of their own kindness, but churches do not SOLELY rely on donations from the pews to survive and function. Their are services that a church offers that need to be paid for by its parishoners.

You said:

"And just like a public park you shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who uses your services."

But a public park does not have a book that says they have a belief that homosexuality is wrong, so, if the church has a religious faith and has an interest to protect the word of God by living by it, then it must turn away those who engage in homosexuality as this behavior is considered wrong. A public park can not do that because it is not a religious entity.

Once again, public park v. churches = apples & oranges.

You conclude with a very funny hypothetical comment:

"I believe people have the right to worship as they please. If someone wants to worship their big toe, I’m okay with that. But if they’re going to come to my house and tell me that if I don’t live by their big toey morals I’m going to spend eternity in a stinky sock..."

When has a church ever come to your house and said if you do not live by their morals you will be enternally punished??

I understand that the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints comes to peoples houses, but do they say you will suffer if you do not follow the way of the Lord? I have never experienced this from this group or any other religious group that has rung my doorbell.

7:31 PM, June 26, 2008  
Blogger SCIA said...

Anonymous,

Let's try to keep it clean with the language or you will be banned from my blog.

Articulate with your brain not your filthy mouth.

Thanks,

Scia

7:32 PM, June 26, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“…churches do not SOLELY rely on donations from the pews to survive and function. Their are services that a church offers that need to be paid for by its parishoners.”

You made a great point Scia; maybe churches should be able to deny marriage services for homosexuals. You made an argument that makes sense and I humbly concede on this issue.

“When has a church ever come to your house and said if you do not live by their morals you will be enternally punished??”

Jehovah’s Witness, I think I got him angry to begin with to be fair though; whenever a religious representative comes to the door and I don’t feel like conversing with them I tell them I worship the devil. You should see some of the looks I get. It’s funny though, if I tell them I’m an atheist they try to prove me wrong, if I say I worship the devil they can get quite angry and consider me a lost cause. I should think it would be the other way around.

Ken Weaver

7:46 PM, July 09, 2008  

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