Gay Marriage:Entanglement of Church, Politics & Business

I was fortunate to have been a young adult during the civil rights and women’s equality periods.  It was exciting to read about them and experience first hand some aspects of those changes.

Though I’m not gay, the gay rights experience has been even more exciting to me personally. The issue has so many intersections with religion and politics, and to a lesser extent, money.

I recall Alabama Governor George Wallace shouting to adoring crowds, “Integration, never, not ever.”  In retrospect, it seems like a very short time between when he drew a line in the sand there would be no integration in Alabama to George Wallace courting the black vote and embracing the new reality.

With the vote in New York to allow gay marriage, it seems inevitable we will see something similar.  Much is at stake.

I wish I were a fly on the wall inside the New York City Diocese.  In New York there are both many Catholics and many gays.  If, say ten percent of active Catholics are gays, and preists refuse to perform a gay weddings, one would have to think it would have at least some fiscal impact.  Theology will make the inevitable adjustments.

In politics, conservatives are vowing to take out revenge on politicans who voted in favor of gay marraige.  Revenge doesn’t always work out. 

The Family Alliance boycotted Disney to punish it for marketing to gays.  They recently admitted the effort was unsuccessful.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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46 Responses to Gay Marriage:Entanglement of Church, Politics & Business

  1. Avatar of Kevin Kevin says:

    Since all rights have a cost, whose rights should be violated to pay the cost? Don’t homosexual households already enjoy the highest income of all households?

    • entech says:

      Interesting? Which rights are you talking about?
      The right to be given official state sanction? Or,
      The right to be free from being deprived of official sanction?

      Positive or negative, and, in what way would either affect any one else’s rights. And what do you mean by cost in this context?

      Where I come from “DINKS” in general have the highest average income. Dinks = Dual Income No Kids.

    • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

      Why yes we do. It’s an added bonus than annoys the religious right.

    • minbari says:

      All rights have a cost? Just what is the cost of equality for gay Americans?

  2. wj says:

    Simply saying “much is at stake” does not mean there is. What is at stake? If, what both sides agree on is true – that marriage is a “privilege” with state benefits, what could be at stake. Same-sex couples have really have nothing to lose.

    Also, how would there be a financial impact for refusing to perform weddings that they already do not perform? Looks like a zero-sum game even if you assume that churches make money off of weddings, which they don’t.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      wj 1:09 Thanks for commenting. As to the consequences of NY State’s approval of gay weddings and churches, I’m making some assumptions that are admittedly speculative. With State approval, the culture around gay marriages will change. It will be accepted as rather commonplace. People will come to expect it from their churches. Churches that refuse will become ever-more odd. This, I’m assuming, will have a financial impact. Churches are like other businesses. They need to be on people’s minds, a place they visit often and read about in the paper or people forget about them. That’s why denominations and big mega churches have press staffs. As we speak, the Southern Baptist Convention is getting smaller. It seems to me it has much in common with today’s Catholic church, except that the Catholics reach out to bring in minorities while SBC sends dogs after them.

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; Your ” Theology will make the inevitable adjustments”. “Theology”= the study of Theos (God). You are confusing theology with doctrine. Are you suggesting that doctrine be adjusted and treated as a marketing tool? There have been some groups that have done this, and many that haven’t. Are you suggesting that the “minority”of a group determine doctrine? It is clear that they have in churches (small c), where doctrinal indifference is present. Within these groups, it is also clear that they are more of a social organization with an emphasis on self improvement, and their worship little more than motivational seminars. Not a church in the classical sense.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 2:59 You are correct, I’m confusing theology and doctine. In my way of thinking, it doen’t matter. Both have to fall in line with a significant portion of the public’s views or a denomination (cult or whatever) disappears over time. It takes money to keep alive threads of either theology or doctrine.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Spoken like an economist telling a pastry chef how to make puff tarts. Completely out of his line of expertise, yet passing himself off as an authority.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 5:30 Yes, you are correct indeed. I’ve decided you and I are like the fox and the hedgehog. The fox is smarter and knows much about many things. The hedgehog knows only one thing, but knows it well. You are the fox, I the hedgehog. The finest pastry chefs go unemployed sometimes. I know why, but don’t know how to make a cream puff. Religions have died out regularly because they didn’t have the economic and social circumstances to continue.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            “didn’t have the economic and social circumstances to continue.” If there ever was a broad based etherial statement said, you have mastered the art. Name them, and the “circumstances.”

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 6:38 I was trying not to use the economist’s favorite words, markets and the resources that flow to something that has succesfully found its market. Resources flow away when the market is lost.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          And your cart is in front of the horse again by throwing “dogma” (that misunderstood/misused word) into the mix.
          There is an old saying that;”An elephant is a giraffe built by committee”. That is your recipe.
          A man sees a sign on the window of a bakery that says “cream puffs for sale”. He goes in and says “I’ll take two”. The baker gives him two jelley rolls, and says ‘two dollars please”. The man realises the baker is trying to trick him, and he leaves without buying. If the one who calls himself a baker doesn’t know the difference between a cream puff and a jelly roll, he isn’t a baker, he is a fraud at best or a liar at worst. He indeed would fail.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            6:20 The baker knows the difference. The ones who often fail are too good for the market they want to sell to. That was my point. Same thing happens when a denomination is certain it has found the ultimate truth and refuses to change while the public moves on to some other way of looking at things. Like is happening right now, apparently.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Dazzle/baffle

          • entech says:

            Dogmata/charismata/stigmata a words a word for all that.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I understand there are some that accept that. I don’t.
            I do believe yer talkin’ to the wrong feller. Don’t ass-u-me. It’s not the cowboy thing to do.

          • entech says:

            Sorry if I made the wrong assumption, I thought you were just playing with words because Jon never used the word dogma.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Entech; Oops, you are right. Looks like I got the posters confused. Sorry about that Jon. I’ve been gone a few days.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 1:36 Wecome back.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; I thoroughly enjoy dogmatics, (a systematic study and an apological approach to doctrine). That being said, it is something that has been horribly abused and mis-understood, by many, and primarily as a weapon instead of a tool for understanding. There was a horror movie by the name of Dogma. Hence my oversensetivity for the sake of clarity.
            While coming home last night, we met an 18 wheeler who lost it’s full load of lumber on the road. Not more than five seconds after we met. The tiedown straps were flopping b/4 we met, and we got peppered with small stuff prior to the whole load coming off just after we met. That could ruin one’s day.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 2:02 Wow! What a close call. There are thousands of those lumber trucks. I’ve never heard of straps breaking.

            So, if that is the definition of dogmatics, what is dogma? Would it not be the doctrine resulting from dogmatics?

  4. I am struck by a number of qualities that appear regularly in this blog. I received a “Puritan’s Prayer” from a good friend recently and I find one part of it very descriptive of blog and comments:(the language is from the 17th century English)

    “When thou wouldst guide me I control myself.
    When I should depend on thy providings I supply myself.
    When thou wouldst take care of me I suffice myself.
    When I should submit to Providence I follow my will.
    I fault and correct they laws to suit myself.
    When I should study love, honour, trust thee I serve myself.
    Instead of thee I look to man’s approbation
    and am by nature an idolater.”

    If the shoe fits………………………………………………………………………

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      buffalogal 10:22 Thanks for the Puritian’s Prayer. Your comments, along with all the others, make this site a lively place. I’m sure the prayer was not directed at me. :)

  5. j'existe, je pense donc says:

    you may recall that i have posted comments on this blog before. but not recently: have been preoccupied with family issues of one sort or other (medical mostly). have some time at the moment, however, and would like to use it by posting a few thoughts (tho’ brief). first, i don’t think that the analogy comparing same sex marriage and the civil rights movement hold water. as the logicians say, it entails the error of the bad or faulty analogy, a kind of non sequiter. don’t think that the right to equal treatment under the law is comparable to the “right” to marry. as far as i know, homosexuals are not widely or legally discriminated against when it comes to such things as housing, education and the like (tho’ i admit that they, like other minorities, may be unofficially discriminated against in some regards, e.g. bullying). but marriage is another matter entirely: don’t think that anyone really has a “right” to marry, strickly speaking. besides there is a question of natural law and a rather solid tradition dating back quite a ways. and there is common sense. racial discrimination was a bad thing, contrary to natural law precepts, natural law defined as reason reflecting on nature). SSM is contrary to natural law, but in a quite different way that racial discrimination or slavery, etc. were/are. but that, i concede is a very cursory treatment of a complex issue. but that brings me to another point: much of the stuff that appears on this blog is superficial, seemingly posted by ex-fundamentalists who never really bothered to really understand that which they are so dogmatically determined to attack. yes, my friend, many atheists are as dogmatic and bigoted as the people they are so quick to condemn. and a final question befoore i sign off (have to hurry off right now): how do you define truth. you are obviously a foundationlist, so, then, on what foundation do you build your truth. and for those who have no real foundation on which to build their truth, why are they then so dogmatic in their views (and so ready to condemn others, like the same sex marriage folks who contend that anyone who disagrees with them, hates them). if there is no real or solid truth, then why bother to debate at all? but i must go now.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      j’existe 12:06 Thank you for the comment. I’m happy to have you as a blog reader. I’ll just address one of the many issues you raised. “don’t think the the right to equal treatment under the law in comparable to the ‘right’ to marry.” The case for the right to marry would not be as strong were it not for the money issues. Gay people pay taxes like everyone else. In the U. S., there are various tax and legal benefits available to married couples. Thus, all citizens should have equal access to these benefits.

  6. j'existe, je pense donc says:

    simply put, either we have some objective standard by which to judge right from wrong, good or bad. or we don’t. and if we don’t, then we are all up the proverbial creek sans paddle. my argument is that racial discrimination does not pass the test. it was wrong, objectively wrong. it just took us a while to wake up to that fact. on the contrary, SSM marriage is objectively wrong, contrary to any concept of natural moral law that i know about. even the ancient Greeks (who, as you know were rather “tolerant” of homosexual behavior) did not (so far as i know) endorse or condone SSM. and the French as you may know just recently rejected SSM by a rather wide margin. for your part, you seem to have a strong belief in “progress,” that the world is getting better and better simply because it is more accepting of today’s leftist agenda (don’t know why so many atheists are attracted to the leftist agenda: perhaps it’s just because that agenda is anti-Christian, anti-theist). that aside, i don’t have any sure fire way of determining whether or not the world is getting worse or better (to hear some people talk it’s getting worse, perhaps standing on the edge of moral, environmental, economic doom, name your favorite bete noir du jour). all i can say is that the world has always been badly messed up in one way or another. in some ways it gets better, in some ways worse. regression seems to be about as likely as progression. anyway, as i said, if you don’t have some extrinsic standard, you can’t say anything pro or con and make it sound credible.

    • entech says:

      The normative approach always leads to specious ideas. Attempts to make the subjective appear objective.

      • j'existe, je pense donc says:

        don’t know exactly what you mean by “subjective” but i can guess. you probably think that all moral/ethical claims are self-referential, that is existing only in the individual mind and serving the interests of that mind. of course, there is a sense in which all ethics are “personal”. only a rational mind can grasp/ appropriate what you call normative principles. that however is quite different than saying that there are no universal ethical norms to be grasped. if ethical principles end with the mind that holds them, then there is no point in arguing about morality (or by extension, perhaps anything else). unfortunately for you, ethical relativism/subjectivism is logically and existentially contradictory, an intellectual and ethical dead end.

        • entech says:

          Thinking more along the lines that if you start with something like Aristotle’s physics which would tell you that a stone falls to the ground because it is in its nature to do so. Therefore it is normal behaviour for rocks to fall. You can reach some very odd positions.
          In nature procreation (except for some rare examples) is the result of male/female sexual intercourse, from this any other sexual activity does not result in procreation, therefore, anything else is unnatural. Then you add God said so and there you are.
          But is does not matter, I notice from your posts a few months again and from your beginning here that you are superior and everyone else is stupid so why would you bother.

          “… much of the stuff that appears on this blog is superficial, seemingly posted by ex-fundamentalists who never really bothered to really understand that which they are so dogmatically determined …”

          • entech says:

            P.S. I had a quite different slant on subjective/objective.
            Quite simple really, belief or lack of it does not affect reality.
            Subjective/this is my view therefore because that is my view it is true/objective

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          j’existe 3:54 You make several statements about things I supposedly said and believe and words I used, none of which I did. If you are going post comments it would be helpful if you would quote what I actually wrote and then comment on it instead of making up statements. I did not use the term “normative principles”.

          Atheists have moral principles equal or superior to everyone else’s, including people of faith. Some statistics show there are fewer atheists in prison, per captia, than people of faith. There is simply no evidence whatsoever atheist follow what you call “ethical relativism/subjectivism”. You don’t say where one finds the ultimate, value free source of morals. I assume you mean religion. The morals found in religion were formed by human beings, just like those of nonbelievers.

  7. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; The term “dogma” most commonly understood is used in the Catholic Church, in the context of a combination of doctrine and enforced “teaching” and practices. Within my affiliation, “dogma” is a seldom used word.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      oops, out of order. oh well.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 2:37 I looked up “dogma” in Wikapedia. It’s central meaning seems to refer to religious ideas not to be challenged–the hard as rock beliefs. When I use the term here, I don’t think I stray far from using it in this way. Am I using it incorrectly?

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; If I understand you right, I would say you are correct. Within the Catholic Church, there are two sources of revelation, and they are the Bible, and Sacred Tradition (large T). Both of these along with Church Fathers are the codification of dogma. A couple examples of of these dogmas is the immaculate conception of Mary, and the assumption of Mary, Teachings that must believed. Your “not to be challenged” is well said. They use the Council of Trent extensively to support dogma. (In reality, Trent is generally considered to be a codification of medieval Catholicism). (Pre-reformation).

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Oops, Re,” Bible, Tradition, and Church Fathers,” I should have said “are the SOURCE for the codification of dogma”.

  8. entech says:

    I always thought that a ‘dogma’ was an item of a Churches doctrine that was a foundational idea, one that it not open to question. But not all creeds would have the same set of dogmas, That there is a creator God is dogma for all Christians, but the Trinity would be dogma for Catholics but not Unitarians. So foundational or fundamental doctrine (dogma) would make a Unitarian Catholic not possible.

    Checked the movie, it would frighten me away from the word as well, and that from just the few words of description that i could be bothered reading.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Pretty much spot on

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Entech; I find it interesting that the word (small c) catholic meaning; universal, and the Unitarian/universalists are so opposed. If trinitarianism is foundational for the whole of Christianity, Unitarian/universalists ordinarily wouldn’t be considered to be Christian, but a sect of a different nature.

      • entech says:

        This is what makes the history of the early church (small c generic) so interesting. There were so many views of God and Jesus. The Council of Nicaea (351 AD) appears to be one of the first general meetings of Christians, the first ecumenical council so to speak. This was called by Constantine because of the diversity of thought and the problems that it was causing; quite rightly Constantine said that if I am to take you as my official religion you must be consistent. He council took the position held by the majority of Churches that God and Jesus were coexistent and coeternal one and the same substance, the minority position mainly that of Arius was that Jesus was literally the Son of God, created and not equal and eternal was rejected and declared anathema. The council determined the nature of God/Jesus by the view of most Christians at that time; it was NOT decided by vote that Jesus was God (although I confess to throwing that fallacy into the mix on occasion).
        It was probably not for a hundred years that the Trinity became official doctrine (dogma?) at the Council of Chalcedon.
        All these centuries later the debate is still alive and although the Trinitarian position dominates non-Trinitarian position is still widely held: Unitarians, Unitarian Universalist Christians, Bible Students, Christadelphians, Christian Scientists and more, including the dreaded Jehovah’s Witnesses.
        All have an equally valid claim to being the one and only, the history of the early church is not yet complete.

        I agree dogma is a good word to avoid, so easy to fall into the ‘ad hominem’ trap, if he can be so dogmatic about that how can you trust him on this? (Usually more subtle but worse for that), both sides can be as bad as each other here, naming someone as a ‘relativist’ is almost always pejorative.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wanna 4:04 The original statement for the formation of our Red River Freethinker group included the word dogma. That is why I use it sometimes. The RRF statement went something like this: “RRF is a group that does not accept unfounded dogma from religious or secular authorities…” So, authority and dogma go together. I realize it is a somewhat polically loaded term and I may not use it correctly at all times, but it serves a purpose of portraying “dogmatic” religious views.

        In the Presbyterian church, I recall standing to recite the Apostles Creed every Sunday, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth….” To me, that is dogma. It make have come about from committees and votes rather than the dictates of anoited church officials, but the fact it is recited as an oath makes it dogma to me.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Jon; Re. the Apostles Creed, your “recited as an oath makes it dogma to me”; We may be spliting hairs here, but I would preffer ” A confession of faith regarding Christian doctrine.”
          There are a few words that carry with them baggage. Small t and big T-tradition, and dogma are just a couple. They almost always seem to be needing qualification due to inapropriate application or understanding.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 2:23 Yes, some could feel as though it is a confession of faith. When I recite it, it feels like an oath, something I’m pressured to recite in the circumstances I find myself.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; I can’t believe you of all people would feel “pressured to recite” in any circumstance you find yourself. Suspecting a defiant nature, I would expect you to stand taller just to show that your lips aren’t moving. Smilie face.

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