By Jason Menard
The recent North Carolina constitutional amendment that effectively bans gay marriage and all forms of civil unions has stoked the fires of the human rights debate. And since this argument is so often rooted in a claim of one faith’s dominion, perhaps it’s time for supporters of all forms of marriage to fight back using those very same principles.
First things first. Let’s deal with the actual debate at hand. This isn’t about preserving the sanctity of marriage – it’s about preserving the sanctity of the Christian definition of marriage. No more, no less.
And why should we be surprised that Christians are claiming squatter’s rights on marriage? The religion has made a habit of doing that for years.
We live in a supposedly secular society, but religious groups still have an inordinate impact on laws on both sides of the 49th. And while I can debate (and have) that not allowing gay marriage actually devalues my own marriage, it’s an argument that holds no power over those who are fighting for their God’s alleged beliefs.
So in true Christian “eye for an eye” fashion, maybe it’s time for those in favour of gay marriage to fight fire with fire. If Christianity wants to claim domain over marriage, maybe instead of complaining it’s time for us to reclaim those things that they’ve conscripted from the world.
Let’s start off by hitting them where it hurts: in their iconic imagery and celebrations. We’ll start by forcing them to get the Christ out of our Christmas. After all, Christianity merely conscripted previous pagan celebrations and traditions of Yule and Saturnalia to help ease the ol’ conversion process.
And that whole virgin mother/manger birth thing? You may want to look up the Ancient Egyptian Isis-Horus story.
Speaking of blatant copyright infringement? How about the use of the cross as representation of faith? The cross had long been used as a symbol of life prior to the advent of Christianity.
Planning on finishing your prayers with Amen? Not any more. We’ll let the Egyptians lay claim to that word, as the term may have derived over 1,500 years B.C. And let’s not forget that many religions, including Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism all use the term.
Lent? Babylonian. Epiphany? Just the Greek festival of Dionysus. The term Dominus is Latin for the Christian Lord, right? Wrong. It’s was the name of the pre-Christian God Mithras.
So any religion that borrows so heavily from others and conscripts everything from symbols to terminology to festivals in an effort to gain a toehold in the pagan mindset would seem to have a very shaky ground upon which to claim any sort of religious dominion over something so timeless as marriage, right?
But the intent is not to undermine Christian beliefs. In fact, some of the best parts of The Bible are the ones that preach tolerance. Sadly, those parts are glossed over in the rush to get to the parts where men aren’t supposed to lie with men as they would with a woman.
In a court of law, it’d be easy to prove that Christianity has no right to control marriage. In the court of public opinion, it’s something else. I firmly believe that many of these people who oppose gay marriage don’t do so out of hate or ignorance, but rather because they firmly believe in what they think their religion is saying. And who are we to be intolerant of faith when we’re asking for the same tolerance in return?
So we could start a theological war — or we could simply live and let live. Take religion out of the political equation and the choice is simple: there’s no reason to not allow anyone to marry anyone else. If you don’t believe that two men or two women should marry, fine.
That’s your choice. If your Church doesn’t want to conduct ceremonies or recognize the union, that’s fine too. Our government will and that’s what matters.
And if you insist upon enforcing religious beliefs on a secular society, how about we use another fundamental belief that Christianity “borrowed” from countless other faiths – The Golden Rule.
After all, treating others the way you want to be treated? That’s a bit of religious dogma that I’d be happy to vote for. And that starts with being tolerant of everyone’s differences — whether it’s the person you choose to marry, or the god you choose to worship.