Class Warfare Blog

March 29, 2013

Marriage, Schmarriage

Filed under: Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:49 am
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With all of this talk about the “legality” of gay marriage, I think it is time to take a step back and ask a more basic question: what the heck is marriage good for? My answer is like war: “absolutely nuthin’.”

An objective look at marriage that one could get from, say, an alien secretly observing us is that it is a ceremony in which a great many witnesses are gathered to see and hear the promises two people will make toward one another, promises that are impossible to keep by the way. I mean “I promise to love, honor, and obey” another human being for ever and ever. Right. Love is flakey at best and what are you supposed to do if the love departs? Fake it? Are you in control of what or whom you love? or honor?

I say dump marriage. If hospitals want to know who to admit to a terribly sick person’s room, have the admittance forms include a list of people allowed. Should there be a tax break for married people? Why? The government is disincentivizing being single? Ridiculous.

Instead of marriage, we need an ironclad, government-enforced contract to have children. Requirements of parental conduct (feed, clothe, house, protect, etc.) would have the force of law for those who violate them. These are our society’s next generations of citizens. Many, many studies show that child abuse is the source of a great deal of adult dysfunctional behavior. There is a governmental interest here, a large one. Folks having kids without contract would automatically be under a generic contract entered into by the mere fact of having a child. Parents who abandon or mistreat their children will have a ton of bricks dropped on their heads.

What, then, would marriage be good for, when either spouse can end it with a call to a lawyer? Who does it protect? Anybody? Nope.

I am in favor of marriage equality: we should do away with mentions of it in civil codes, thus making us all equal. We should also forbid it being used as a requirement of service by other organizations. It is merely a religious ceremony that serves no societal purpose. We are all equal under the law. The only exception I would make would be to cover those who might be persecuted by their religious sect for abandoning their religious vows. For this we have a clear motivation and that is the First Amendment of the Constitution.

We want marriage equality! Do away with marriage!

October 18, 2012

Preserving the Sanctity of Marriage

Filed under: History,Religion,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 2:31 pm
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One of the knocks on President Obama by conservatives is that he has chosen not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. They say he is not defending the sanctity of marriage. But, just what is the “sanctity of marriage?”

According to Wikipedia, “Marriage (also called matrimony or wedlock) is a social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship.” So far so good. Sanctity is a close synonym of “holiness.” Wikipedia chimes in again with “Some Christian authorities say that the New Testament regards marriage as instituted and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one man as husband and one woman as wife. Christian theology affirms the secular status of civil marriage, but additionally views it from a moral and religious perspective that transcends all social interests.”

So, marriage is “holy” . . . which means . . . what?

Some equate this to “whomsoever God has joined in marriage, let no man put asunder.” This, of course, excludes the Pope and other officials of various churches who have granted and even sold “special dispensations,” annulments, etc. and when those were insufficient, then the religion was replaced with one more conducive to the needs to the supplicant (think Henry VIII and the Church of England). So, that inyerpretation doesn’t quite hold water (holy or otherwise).

Okay, I will cut to the chase. I hate to break it to these folks, but marriage isn’t particularly holy. Common, ordinary, yes—holy, uh, no.

I know it disturbs creationists to think back more than 6000 years, but consider what life was like 10-12 thousand years ago. This was before there were cities. People lived in small villages or wandered about in smallish groups. We were “hunter-gatherers.” What was marriage like then, do you think? This was before God made himself known. (Okay, I know some of you think that God made himself known on Day 1, but there were people before Adam and Eve. The Bible clearly states that the sons of Adam and Eve went off to the land of Nod to find wives. Which means that we are descendent from Adam and Eve and the children of whatever God created those people nearby? The Bible acknowledges there were other Gods. Oh, dear, this is so confusing.)

“The social contract I want to see is that of becoming joined as parents.”

Back to my argument. When a young man and women wanted to start their own family long, long ago, whose permissions were needed? Anyone’s? Or did they just go off and snuggle in a bush? I suspect parents would probably chime in (they have ever since). What need was there of spiritual guidance? Did the stars need to be aligned? Was there a proper season (even without an estrous cycle)? Just when did the shamans and priests muscle in on this “social contract.” And that “muscling in” like all of the other “muscling ins” was another form of “you need me” from those shamans and priests. If one went without the shaman’s or priest’s blessing, terrible things would happen. But then terrible things happened all the time; I wonder how they could tell the difference? Ah, the shaman/priest would tell them! The same hijacking happened with coronations of kings. Kings were battle leaders chosen by the tribe. If many tribes were involved, maybe a king of kings was needed, but just for the battle. More recently, of course, kings couldn’t be chosen without approval from the local religious potentate. But those relates came up with the idea of the “divine rights of kings,” which allowed those “kinds” to lord it over us peons even when there was no battle in the offing, so they gave as well as they got.

Marriage is hardly sacred. And really marriage doesn’t need defending. People whine about the high rate of divorce. But what do the “divorced” do? They go get married again.

And people really make a fuss about getting married with licenses, blood tests, and ceremonies and whole industries involved (think “Bridezillas”), plus there are laws regarding your mutual and joint tax responsibilities, etc. but there are no contracts regarding the children. Unless there is some kind of criminal abuse, there is little force behind the laws regarding the responsibilities of parents to their children. Those agreements have to be enforced in civil court, by one spouse against the other.

I would like to do away with marriage as a social contract. I mean: who cares if you are “married”? The social contract I want to see is that of becoming joined as parents. I want to see oaths taken and contracts signed regarding how children of that union are to be raised, fed, clothed, educated, etc. I would like the force of the government behind those contracts.

Now that relationship approaches the sacred and requires some defense as at least one of the participants is defenseless (consult the French for where to start).

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