Monday, June 27, 2011

Religions' impact on our PluralisticState

Archbishop Dolan fought hard against same sex marriage, and, he and others continue to fight same sex marriage....

See for example,

But most of all religions have been actively political not just when it comes to same sex marriage.
The teachings of the Church(es) have also imposed on our foreign policy: no condoms distributed in Africa, so the AIDS epidemic there continues to devastate countries;
on our military policy: female service members do not have access to full reproductive health care on military bases.
The teachings of our Temples have allowed for a pro-Israeli foreign policy, that does not grant Palestinians' their human rights.

There are more examples.

Religion should be a private matter, and not impose on others. When it imposes on others in our pluralistic democracy, it has overstepped.
Former Governor Cuomo articulately made the point about imposing religious views on others at the University of Notre Dame in 1984. The full text of his speech can be found here:

In the following excerpt, the bolded lines are the important ones, IMHO.

. . .In fact, Catholic public officials take an oath to preserve the Constitution that guarantees this freedom. And they do so gladly. Not because they love what others do with their freedom, but because they realize that in guaranteeing freedom for all, they guarantee our right to be Catholics: our right to pray, to use the sacraments, to refuse birth control devices, to reject abortion, not to divorce and remarry if we believe it to be wrong.

The Catholic public official lives the political truth most Catholics through most of American history have accepted and insisted on: the truth that to assure our freedom we must allow others the same freedom, even if occasionally it produces conduct by them which we would hold to be sinful.

I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to believe as a Jew, a Protestant or non-believer, or as anything else you choose.

We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that they might some day force theirs on us.

This freedom is the fundamental strength of our unique experiment in government. In the complex interplay of forces and considerations that go into the making of our laws and policies, its preservation must be a pervasive and dominant concern.

But insistence on freedom is easier to accept as a general proposition than in its applications to specific situations. There are other valid general principles firmly embedded in our Constitution, which, operating at the same time, create interesting and occasionally troubling problems. Thus, the same amendment of the Constitution that forbids the establishment of a State Church affirms my legal right to argue that my religious belief would serve well as an article of our universal public morality. I may use the prescribed processes of government -- the legislative and executive and judicial processes -- to convince my fellow citizens -- Jews and Protestants and Buddhists and non-believers -- that what I propose is as beneficial for them as I believe it is for me; that it is not just parochial or narrowly sectarian but fulfills a human desire for order, peace, justice, kindness, love, any of the values most of us agree are desirable even apart from their specific religious base or context. . .

Overstep, become an imposing political force, lose your tax exemption, in my opinion.

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