I started out with a different title :
Hypocritical Sanctimony meets Sanctimonious Hypocrisy.
With self-serving sober sanctimony, the evangelical political gang – pretending to deep and profound thoughts – declares that we absolutely must defend that “sacred institution upon which this country is based.”
1. I’d worry more about those couples already married than about those who want to get married.
I’d be concerned and working toward seeing that they kept their jobs or, if unemployed, found good ones upon which they could economically stabilize their marriage.
2. I’d work intensely to stabilize marriage by doing everything in my and my administration’s power to achieve health coverage for every member of every family and every member-to-be of every family-to-be.
3. I’d work for increasing family incomes with minimum wage increases and expanding worker benefits. I wouldn’t stand there like a dope and pretend that corporate tax cuts have created meaningful long term income opportunities for that sector of society where the largest number of marriages are already at risk.
4. I’d understand that the sacred institution of marriage is placed more at risk when it attempts to survive with inadequate housing, bottom-line cheapskate and/or corporate slumlords, and home ownership as an impossible dream.
5. I’d take a long look and seek answers from those who truly know about failed marriages among our minority populations and stop thinking that unfettered capitalism includes within its framework some sort of naturally-occurring equal opportunity for every citizen to succeed in some idealized cookie-cutter manner.
6. I’d give priority to our married soldiers and their spouses. I would certainly not let those who never served write out political and military checks that the children in our families – built on our sacred institution of marriage – will have to cash.
7. I’d focus on those military families and single soldiers in another significant way – I’d care about what happens when they come home and are no longer tactical plastic markers on a map. I’d make sure that the VA is truly an effective and functioning VA – a boon to our society of veterans and something for which we as a nation can all be proud and not suspicious.
8. I’d see to it that families and the marriages that build them are not hampered by an urgent need for food assistance and other welfare.
9. I’d sustain our sacred institution by getting out of the business of trying to control one gender’s right to chose. A truly moral and ethical president would trust our processes of education and scientific study and encourage responsibility around human sexuality as a national concern and effort rather than a divisive argument based on polarized personal moralities.
10. I’d sustain and advocate for the sacredness of our marriage institution by educating and protecting our precious human national resource – our children. Rather than prance around sounding pious and sober about abortion and gay couples, I’d march around obsessed with doing something about the factors that do greater harm to our families and their young members.
I’d work to encourage the nation to go after on its domestic abusers and family abandoners in a major way.
In short, as President, if I ever started defining marriage as “the sacred institution upon which this country is based,” I’d be ready to start encouraging an intervention in all those things that form the framework for failed marriages, failed families and ruined lives.
I’d resist in every way the notion that the American people believe that banning abortion and gay marriages is the answer to solving social problems.
I’d talk the necessary God-talk to challenge the Christian Right to prove that God is as narrowly focused on righteous intimacy as they are.
Actually in terms of “pro,” I support choosing and accountability for choice. I usually come down on a side that counsels against a choice to have an abortion but I’m very much against criminalizing the act and its associated legal retribution. If Christians want to construct a “moral” world then it must be non-coercive in order to get God out of the extortion business.
“Do it my way or I’ll send you to hell” is extortion and the least reason why someone would make “good moral choices.”
Good moral choices from my perspective are first founded on ethics. Those who practice good ethics ought to be doing so as a direct application of the golden rule and a genuine desire for the highest good.
They absolutely are not subject to an innerant Bible nor the human opinions of ecclesiastical leaders assumed to be speaking for Jehovah who shut the hell up a very long time ago.
I think that open discussion of what most fundamentalists have unwittingly portrayed as God’s obsession on human sexuality is imperative if, in fact, God is obsessed with the intimate details of human sexuality.
Since the subject provokes more intense moral outrage, it should be discussed openly and with an eye single to teaching it as a spiritual concept rather than relegating it to a discussion of the mechanics of physiology.
In that regard, such conversation can’t help but throw a spotlight on the demagogues who raise the issue for selfish reasons. In that kind of revealing moment the loudest moral mouths are forced to throw open their own cloaks of privacy and flash to the rest of us what they are really after.
Who owns the definition of marriage two human beings are using or contemplating?
The word marriage already has some meaning – including purpose and definition – that reflects a sense of relationship and longing for something with which to define and portray themselves as a couple.
It’s also important to remember that if it is not your personal definition it is someone else’s – it is someone else’s magic. Someone else’s magic in life is either dispensed or loaned and as such, remains the exclusive property of the lender/dispenser. The lender/dispenser will not validate any usage of their magic if it is contrary to how they expect it will be utilized.
Some folks insist that “marriage” is a word they own or that God owns; that God, although not a respecter of persons as written scripturally, is still particular about who uses His word. Such a jealous God will not recognize as holy and sacred what already is holy and sacred to many human beings.
This circumstance will be valid only so long as couples contemplating marriage are in harmony and, more significantly, in subordination to that same point of view. In reality, no one owns that word more than any word is owned. Marriage is each couple’s to define and around which to appoint to a couple’s purpose.
My wife and I were married in a Native-American ceremony presided over by a Christian Native-American Shaman who is a member of the Cherokee Good Medicine Society. We were not joined in holy matrimony by a priest, pastor, reverend, preacher, bishop or any other god-talker. And certainly not a justice of the peace.
I think God in reality is too busy trying to stay untangled from the prayers of the self-righteous to take the time to do nit-picking over who owns words and their definitions.
2 thoughts on “On Sacred Institutions”
I am watching the Bill Moyer’s series with Joseph Campbell. It turns out that arranged marriages were the ones sanctioned by the Church and society for thousands of years (and still are in many places!). Marriages were based on economic and political strategies. Love was seen as dangerous and heretical. It seems that it still is.
So long as women were seen as property which made them bargaining chips