Some thoughts on same-sex marriage

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I’ve been thinking about same-sex marriage recently (no, I haven’t got a boyfriend!), but in terms different from what the public is currently debating. In light of the recent California Supreme Court decision mandating equal marriage rights (and rites?) for same-sex couples, I thought I’d share them.

The Religious Reich’s war against same-sex marriage is only part of a larger picture. Perhaps if it is framed in the context of creedism, rather than just that of homophobia or heterosexism, we can create more effective strategies to stop it.

At the rock bottom of the RR’s theocratic agenda is an appeal to creedism. They believe that they have a “right” to shove their particular (and often peculiar) doctrines down the throats of every man, woman, and child on the planet. This is true whether you are discussing Christian or Islamic Fundamentalists (Jewish Fundamentalists only want to force their doctrines upon people living in Israel or in Hassidic communities elsewhere).

There are plenty of new and old religions in the world, with millions of their members in the USA, who do not agree with the sexual, reproductive, or marital doctrines of conservative monotheism. Why should one group of religions be able to use the power of civil law to enforce their doctrines and deny others’ doctrines?

The fact that Judeo-Christian-Islamic creedists are a voting majority in America is no more relevant to our civil rights than the fact that racists and sexists were once (and in some places still are) the majority of US citizens. The tyranny of the majority is specifically restrained by the constitution.

I advocate fighting this battle over marriage rights, reproductive rights, sex education rights, and all related issues in terms of resistance to creedism. The old protest phrase, “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries,” cuts to the heart of RR bigotry. Their views are rooted in the Torah, Bible, and Koran, so monotheistic creedists are “obligated” to be homophobic and opposed to all sexual freedom issues, just as they were once “obligated” to be racist or sexist.

People are entitled to have any sort of religious beliefs or non-beliefs they like. They are not entitled, under the US constitution, to force all other citizens to live under those same opinions, whether they call them “God’s Law” or anything else.

It may be easier for those of us who are (more or less) “straight” to use the “Homophobia is creedist” frame, but we might all consider using it in appropriate circumstances. Let’s make creedism as socially unacceptable as racism and sexism, and perhaps heterosexism will become equally unacceptable.

Go to www.beyondmarriage.org for some additional interesting thoughts on this issue. I think Robert Heinlein would be pleased at their goals.

As a Neopagan Druid, I’ll be happy to perform same-sex or multiple marriage ceremonies for anyone who asks me to do so. I consider it an obligation of my priesthood. Of course, I would hope that the couple/triad/quad/etc. would help out with any subsequent legal costs!

About Isaac Bonewits

World famous (or is that notorious) Druid/Wiccan/Heathen/Santarian author, speaker, pundit, etc. Google me to see what I've been doing with my life and what my friends and enemies think about me.
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8 Responses to Some thoughts on same-sex marriage

  1. sari0009 says:

    How about going one more step and frame creedism in the contexts of the power wheels, the meta paradigms that involve power and control and equality. (Notice the position of the wheels.)

    There is so much underneath the surface of the topic of civil and reproductive religious rights that memes will fall flat without a lot more concerted open but excellent dialogue than is usually seen.

    We first battled with “Godless” communists during the Cold War and then monotheistic fundamentalist terrorists…so we first made a point of being a God-fearing nation and then it made the point of being of the right (pun intended) monotheistic religion.

    Yet even with all the dialogue, most don’t understand:

    * What tipping points are and that they sadly often come thick, fast, and too late in the game.
    * That theocracy ensures that factions/denominations will endlessly fight each other for power and control while like governments become increasingly prone to moving further right (more abusive).
    * That the government should be extremely wary of legislating morality.
    * That equality and liberalism aren’t the same thing as lacking ethics and boundaries.
    * The “least restrictive alternative” approach can actually provide sound, consistent, pluralism-friendly boundaries.
    * That at some point there’s an inverse relationship between “politically correct” normalization and civil rights.
    * How to make the connection between decreasing or purposely withheld minority civil rights and their own gradually diminishing civil rights.
    * That arguments defending “between a man and a woman” marriage protection acts fall apart precisely when trying to name what actually makes marriages work and last and if the acts have anything whatsoever to do with that.
    * Where to draw the line between moral majority (which the law has to address in some contexts, such as public decency) and tyranny of the majority and that we’re not even supposed to vote on anything minority civil rights.

    As for larger patterns, most don’t understand that even failed cult raids can, without overt conspiracy, feed into growing creedism and the threat of religious litmus tests, and so on.

    1953

    Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower took office, they put “under God” in the United States Pledge of Allegiance (in 1954), to differentiate us from the godless commies during the cold war, the Short Creek (same Mormon sect) raid was conducted, and Eisenhower played an instrumental role in the 1956 adoption of “In God We Trust” as the US motto and as an inclusion on U.S. currency.

    1953 to Present

    The Republican Party shifts increasingly toward the right and turns into a theocracy.

    2001

    Within 2 days of 9-11, our fundamentalists answered their fundamentalists (the Robertson and Falwell thing) after which bible sales rocketed, our politicians increasingly yodeled “under God” at every chance, and Bush led one pledge of allegiance during which he yelled the “under God ” part.

    2004

    In the months leading up to the presidential election, our European counterparts snarked that our president sounds more like a preacher than a politician.

    2006

    After decades of looking the other way, and x number of months before 2006 elections, Warren Jeffs and polygamy were thrown into the limelight, the topic given months to percolate, followed by ten states attempting to pass, by popular vote, various “marriage protection” measures aimed at banning gay marriages and plural marriages. It became quite acceptable that minority civil rights were up to majority vote and no one seemed to utter “majoritarian tyranny” or other like phrases in major media or politics. This helped cement the Republican Party as a theocracy.

    2007-2008

    The Christian Nation memeplex is so powerful that House Resolution 887 and 888 are entertained, and you should see the cross-outs of original texts (which were stridently theocratic) as they struggle to get it under the radar…and note the lies (reinventing history) .

    Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, sums it up perfectly: “Its myriad tortured and deliberate historical fictions, fused by it’s Congressional-member drafters into a sorry screed of fascistic Christian exceptionalism and triumphalism, clearly illuminate its private sector and legislative sponsors’ unbridled lust to spare absolutely no effort to complete the transformation of our country into ‘The United Christian States of America.’”

    X number of months before the presidential election that threatens Religious Reich power, even democrat candidates must stand up and profess their faith (the right faith), if they want a chance at any majority vote and the oval office, and the Eldorado Warren Jeffs FLDS cult raid hits the news with an even bigger splash before a bigger election.

    I’m sure you could throw in the increasingly polarized right to life debate and what happened to reasonable limits and reproductive rights too!

  2. Baruch Dreamstalker says:

    Isaac:

    The problem with attaching “creedism” is that the battle has too many fronts. Marriage equity, intelligent design, abortion, abstinence-only sex “education,” Ten Commandments monuments on the courthouse lawn, shoddy treatment of Pagans and their chaplains in prisons, et tedious cetera. The fights against racism and sexism were/are far more focused, and got things done when they were better focused than they are at present.

    I would rather tackle each of these issues in its own name rather than try to educate my enemies that they are doing something additional wrong whose definition they can barely understand.

  3. David K. M. Klaus says:

    I’ve used the word “creedism” more than once in my writing, but unfortunately, the only reaction I’ve ever received is “What the hell is ‘creedism’?” Nobody is familiar with the word, nor with the word “culturism” which I derived from it to describe bigotry based on one’s choice of literature or television program.

    The lot of the linguistic pioneer, I’m afraid.

  4. sari0009 says:

    I’ve had the same reaction (from people who graduated high school with good grades) when I used the words “ethnocentric” or “creedism.” You’d think these behaviors at large and the words themselves are so incredibly obvious, but no, you get puzzled blank looks.

    I’m not sure which is *more* responsible for that, our broken school system or socio-creedist indoctrination that glorifies uber normalization.

  5. ibonewits says:

    When I get that “huh?” reaction, I always just say, “Racism, sexism, creedism — get the picture?” and they do.

    What’s difficult is getting anyone to admit that THEY are creedist when they try to force fundamentalist memes on others.

  6. sari0009 says:

    I tried that too, Isaac, and often still get a blank look or uncomfortable silence. I’m testing random mainstream people in average neighborhoods. You’re going to get different results for several reasons (age, sex, published status, known mega genius status, audience)?

    I also tested people to see if they had the slightest inkling what “tyranny of the majority” (even Wikipedia’s page on it is curiously scant) meant and not one did. Results were similar for the importance of “separation of church and state” or “failure of imagination” (which is definitely related).

    Even a middle-aged gung ho civil rights minded feminist atheist artist didn’t get that some of her comments about the UU church (“where they can worship anything, even their dogs”) were creedist (as many atheists unwittingly are since their reality is framed by a God vs. no monotheistic God debate). I bet “not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, disability, or other legally protected status” is one of her favorite phrases.

    Well, who can blame her since “creedism” isn’t even in the dictionary? “Religionism” is but it doesn’t hit the mark. (I wonder when the word “racism” became familiar in mainstream consciousness as it’s understood now, rather than to describe the claim that race, a dubious concept, determines culture? Was it before, during, or toward the tail end of “the” civil rights movement?)

    When I press average mainstream people 30 and under about why they don’t seem interested or concerned about such concepts, I’m told in a variety of ways that the government is too corrupt to listen, so why sweat what you can’t change…and it’s not as if they are political scientists!

    There’s a huge disconnect and a leave it to the experts/politicians/leaders/popular learned helplessness (“attention span”). How is open dialogue supposed to happen in the wild frequently enough this way?

    Of course it doesn’t mean stop trying and bother to educate along the way!

  7. TAFL says:

    I just thought on an interesting bumper sticker yesterday. It speaks to the nonsense of fundamentalism in terms the fundies can understand–and is likely to really p*ss them off.

    “Fundamentalism is Satan at work”

    or

    “Evangelicalism is Satan at work”

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