Establishment of Religion
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
from the 1st Amendment of the U.S Constituion.
This has been knocking around in my head for a bit and thought I may take 5 from the God Trip while some things mull about in the back of mind.
I have spoken with many on the subject of, read quite a bit about and contemplated the meaning of “Establishment of Religion” in context of the 1st Amendment and so far most agree these two meanings are both intended to affect any interpretation of the “Religion Clause”
1. Founding or creating a Religion (es·tab·lish : verb ; : to institute (as a law) permanently by enactment or agreement )http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/establish
2. An existing Religion (es·tab·lish·ment : Noun ; : a public or private institution) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/establishment
This leads to many restrictions on what Congress can do in “respect” to Religion
A few examples those restrictions :
Congress cannot Create a National Official Religion
Congress cannot lift an existing Religion to National Offical Status
Congress cannot in any other way elevate one Religion above another
Congress cannot grant a privelage or power to one Religion yet deny the same to another
Congress cannot Outlaw a Religion
Congress cannot make a Law’s that stop anyone from excercising their Religion as they see fit(with some exception for practices that would violate existing Law’s that are Constitutionally Approved, bit of a grey area there)
Congress cannot create Law which is based on Religions views, teachings or beliefs.(unless of course the Religious part is an incidental Factor not the singular basis the Law is built on)
There is much more but I think you get the gist of it.
Making Law is often a balancing act. To protect one Right or Freedom often another is infringed upon, at least if you view those Rights and Freedoms as Absolutes.
We’re on the 1st Amendment so I’ll use another part if it as an example.
We all have Freedom of Speech of ourse BUT try standing up in a courtrrom and telling the judge to go screw him/herslf.
Why can’t you do that? Various laws give the Judge the right to lock you up that’s why. Yes those Laws are restricting your Freedom but they are also Protecting the Court from disruptions that could impede it’s ability to perfom it’s duties. Duties which are required by Law to be performed as Efficently and Fairly as possible.
I point out the Ethical Juggling Act that lawmakers have to contend with to make my next point more clear.
Many proposed and existing Laws, such as the Ban on Gay Marriage are UN-Constitutional. There is No reason other than Personal or Religious issues for it. Religious basis is obviously out of the question and personal issues, well those would go against so many Ethical standards of lawmaking that I don’t even know where to begin.
The other part of this point is the arguement that to Legally recognize Gay Marriage would infringe on Religious protections inherent in the 1st Amendment. Sorry, that doesnt fly. “Legal Marriage” is basicly a contract between two people and has nothing to do with Religion.
You can get Legally Married and then get Legally Divorced yet still be viewd as Married in the eyes of God according to some Religions of course. However that Religious recognition of continued Marriage does not change the fact that the Legal Contract is dissolved and all rights, privelages and responsibilitie bestowed thereof under the Law are null and void. In the eyes of the Law, you’re Not Married anymore.
Think about this one, you have a Catholic wedding complete with all neccasary Legal paperwork to have the Marriage Legally recognized, then a year later get a Legal Divorce. Now, try claiming your “spouse” on your tax return. I defy you to find a Judge that will uphold your contention that you Are in fact still married when the Taxman comes for you.
Even if you Do manage that, be prepared for the next summons to court when that case goes up the Legal Ladder. Don’t worry, it will probably end right on that next rung, when the next Judge to see it recognizes that “In the Eyes of God” has absolutley No legal standing under Contract Law in this country.Which by the way I thank “God” and every sane attorney, Jurist and lawmaker that opposes it’s recogniton under the Law.
You thought I was going with how some Churches say they’ll be forced to recognize a Gay Marriage even against their beliefs didn’t you? Well I am, now that you see the distinction between “Legal” and “Religious” Marriage. “Forcing” a Church to recognize Legal Marriage is only forcing them to abide by any rules or duties required of them in the face of a Legal Marriage Contract.
Noone says they have to accept the Marriage as being “Sanctioned by God” they just have to abide by any legal requirements afforded “legally” married couples. Benefits for employees and whatnot. Pretty simple and straight forward really. How would the Religious crowd like it if “Religious Marriage” was banned? It doesn’t hurt anyone they would scream, but neither does Gay Marriage.
(stupid fingers are being a pain, hit the publish button before I was done …lol)
About WilliamJust a Blogger with too much time to kill. Ranting and Raving about whatever is on my mind when I sit down to type. Politics, Religion, Social issues even Personal crap..errr ...Revelations at times.
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