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May 2011
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Ys [userpic]
Reposted from elsewhere

This is part of a discussion about the definition of Marriage, particularly in the context of gay marriage. I thought I'd add my thoughts here as well.

On a less esoteric slant: having read a bunch of both of your opinions in these couple of threads, I have to say that I have absolutely no problem with your definition of your ideal relationships. They make sense and are consistent.

The concern I have is the same concern I have with a wide variety of beliefs, and that's the question of 'at what point is it acceptable for a society to enforce the beliefs of a subset of society?' If you believe in any kind of absolute right or wrong then there is obviously some set of behaviours that it is essential that a society regulate. If you look at things from a 'societal survival mechanisms' standpoint, then there are also behaviours that a society must regulate. However, these sets are not necessarily the same.

Also, your belief of right and wrong and my belief of right and wrong may well be different. How does one decide what can be imposed on the society as a whole and what can be left to individuals to decide?

I regularly see statements to the effect that America is a Christian nation; however, if you read the writings of the Founding Fathers, that is clearly something they were trying to avoid. As someone who is not at least in any traditional sense Christian, I will admit that I find the notion that I'm now living in a Christian nation a little scary. There are some Christian sects that would find my very existence anathema, and if they are allowed to impose their values, then my life is in jeopardy.

Honestly, I don't have answers to these questions. On the Marriage front, though, it's pretty clear that the majority of people in the society I live in wish to make it as difficult as possble for me to pursue my ideal relationship in which to raise my children (a polygamous one), though, and that saddens me.

Personally, I would prefer that secular society restrict itself to the societal survival mechanism view and assume that civil unions are societal structures for raising children (encouraging the next generation of taxpayers) and any set of adults of any gender that are committed to having a stable environment in which to raise children get the secular encouragements; religious and/or spiritual unions should be left up to the personal religion(s) of the participants.

The question is, do I want that for facile reasons? Do I want it just because it would reduce the mountain of paperwork I currently have that can be challenged in court that allows me to, say, keep one of my spouse's abusive mother away from her in case of some significant accident or the like?

I don't think so...but I don't know for sure.

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

I am an educated person and I respectfully do not agree--at very least, with the notion of a secular state. :)

Re: I'm a logicalkitty


Would it help if I said we should remain a Deist state--or a state that values religion--rather than saying 'We should be a Christian state?'

Every law, guideline, and societal structure oppresses someone who would rather do the opposite.

NAMBLA wishes for men and boys to be able to engage freely in sexual relationships. There is no obvious harm to the state. They are a minority, yet most would agree that we should not condone this behavior. And so we "oppress" them.

Given that you've used the NAMBLA example several times now, you might like to look at http://www.livejournal.com/users/ysabel/151492.html.

Respectfully, I feel you're dodging the issue. There are many behaviors we condone, and many we don't. You can make an argument that we should condone this particular one, and I don't agree. It is a question of deep societal structure and as such is difficult, if not outright impossible, to discuss in a deconstructionist, intellectual fashion.

For what it's worth, I'm not trying to dodge the issue, I'm trying to work through what I believe and why. I'm open to suggestions if you want to point out what I'm missing or inadvertantly avoiding.

As far as it being difficult to discuss in an intellectual fashion -- I don't know on what other basis it can possibly be discussed. I do not accept the "because God says so" argument, because God has not said so to me. If anything, God has said something entirely different to me.

On what terms can this be discussed, then? If we match faith against faith, the answer is very simple...we disagree. It then becomes a straightforward question of whether I am allowed to practice my faith and whether you are allowed to practice your faith, and how do we deal with the places where they intersect badly? Again, I'm hoping to get to that as I write.

I will admit that I am sufficiently tempted by the faith "argument" that I will probably also write a vitriolic post about my frustration with living in a country that claims to practice religious freedom but imposes a particular set of beliefs on its citizens through its laws and the practicalities of day to day life. But I don't really consider that part of this discussion as much as just venting frustration, and I expect it will rapidly degenerate into misanthropy and 'I say we nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.' *sigh*

Ah, and here is the crux of it (putting on devil's advocate cap here....) Why should minors be treated differently? As a class, and a minority, let's say they wish to engage in this activity with their loving male companions. Their companions wish the same. Saying that a 16 year old can't do this is restricting both of them from a behavior that they wish to pursue.

Both of us agree that it shouldn't be encouraged, or even permitted, so with regards to changing long-standing mores and definitions on this issue there is no gap between us. The notion of redefining marriage to include alternate configurations of people, and the effect of that on an already seriously degraded societal notion of marriage, how marriage is perceived by younger generations, the favoring of the nuclear family as an optimal societal cell structure, how seriously marriage vows are taken, and the impression these things have on children also constitute "harm", just of a different, longer-term form that cannot be measured as quickly and definitively as the trauma caused by NAMBLA.

Facile Thoughts

I'm not sure it would be bad to want it for facile reasons. :)

I mean . . .

I think the requirement to think about this stuff comes when you want to stomp on someone else's facile reasons. When you want to take away something that someone else wants. Just wanting something 'cause it would make life better for you and/or people you care about is fine.

I don't think the question is whether polygamous marriage would be good for you, after all. The question is whether having to share half a continent with people having polygamous marriages would kill people's puppies and imprison them in an endless gray gulag of shame and terror.

Ironically, despite polygamous marriage being a complex concept and the gray gulag being a stupid idea, it's "no, it wouldn't be a nightmare for the monogamous" that needs a strong intellectual defense.

I think this is where the separation of Church and state comes in, really. If this is a Christian nation, then non-Christian ideas *are* a shame upon the people. Having idolators and people who violate Leviticus and so forth . . . they'd show the failing of the great Christian nation experiment. They'd undermine the basic civic principles on which a nation in Christ's bosom is founded.

On the other hand, from what I remember of the Bible, Christ would be all, "Ack! Get your filthy nation out of my bosom!", and from what I can tell of social phenomena, a Christian nation would ultimately be detrimental to Christian probity, honor, and general ability to honor their God. Nations can't achieve grace; managing society on Christian principles is kind of an oxymoron; and conditions would be such as to make the Devil smile.

I have a few concerns about legal polygamy, but they'd be matters of implementation; if sufficiently smart people did the relevant law, I figure it'd be okay.