Sunday, May 17, 2009

Does Paul Broun support "Judeo-Christian" Values

One person, David Schiller, writing into the ABH disagrees:
I am a 63-year old Jewish man and a member of Congregation Children of Israel in Athens. As such, I'm deeply offended by Rep. Paul Broun's absurd and grandiose claim that his opposition to gay marriage is based in any way on what he presumes to call "Judeo-Christian values.

The social and religious values of Reform Judaism are articulated clearly and accurately by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. If Broun would visit RACRJ's Web site, he'd learn Reform Judaism is committed to, and fully supports, the right of same-sex couples to civil marriage. Yes, marriage - not partnerships. Furthermore, he would learn Reform Judaism also supports individual rabbis who choose to perform religious Jewish marriages for same-sex couples, although it does not require them to do so.

The relevant resolution, adopted in March 2000, concludes:

"Whereas, the institutions of Reform Judaism have a long history of support for civil and equal rights for gays and lesbians, and
"Whereas, North American organizations of the Reform Movement have passed resolutions in support of civil marriage for gays and lesbians, therefore

"We do hereby resolve, that the relationship of a Jewish, same-gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual, and

"Further resolved, that we recognize the diversity of opinions within our ranks on this issue. We support the decision of those who choose to officiate at rituals of union for same-gender couples, and we support the decision of those who do not, and
"Further resolved, that we call upon the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) to support all colleagues in their choices in this matter, and

"Further resolved, that we also call upon the CCAR to develop both educational and liturgical resources in this area."
Because Paul Broun's understanding of the term "Judeo-Christian values" is so narrow, distorted and ignorant, I would advise him to refrain henceforth from abusing this term in his political rhetoric.

This shows why the "marriage is a religious institution" arguement does not work. First, American laws are not based on religion. Even if they were, some religions accept gay marriage. To not recognize gay marriage from those religions would be the government promoting one religion (the one without gay marriage) over another religion (the one that is with it). This would violate the first amendment of promoting religion. If the government gives some rights to people of one religion and does not give them to another, then it promotes that religion.


Bryant J. Knight said...

"This shows why the 'marriage is a religious institution' arguement does not work." -- Well, marriage does not have to be overseen by religious institutions, although it traditionally has been. The state didn't really start getting involved in marriage until the past two centuries or so. I tend to think that religious institutions would be outstanding authorities to oversee marriage, but if society disagrees, then marriage can and will be overseen by some other means.

"To not recognize gay marriage from those religions [...]" -- Why should the state recognize *any* marriage? Let society decide how marriages should be recognized. I suggest the recognizing authority should be religious institutions, but perhaps there are other alternatives.