Sunday, October 16, 2011

Too much faith, not enough money!

Time and time again, we are told that there is nothing like the separation of church and state in order to keep a moral society. Though I agree with the previous, it seems as though not everyone does. Within her news post, Michele Somerville makes it a point to make this evident as she exposes the actions of two Catholic Bishops who fail to realize that they are called to be “teachers and priests, not Emperors”.
New York Archbishop and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops president Timothy Dolan recently wrote to Barrack Obama asking him to sign the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA consists of two sections, “one defining “marriage” for purposes of federal law, and the other affirming federalism principles under the authority granted by Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution, the Full Faith and Credit Clause. The first section states that for purposes of federal law, marriage means a legal union between a man and a woman, the second section reaffirmed the power of the states to make their own decisions about marriage”.
As a Catholic, Timothy Dolan claims that his desire to have DOMA signed has a lot to do with the fact that he will not sit around and be silent while there are federal steps being taken against marriage, the laws which defend it and religious freedom as well.Though I understand that within Catholic beliefs, same sex marriage is deemed a sin, I do not see DOMA as a constitutional addition to society in anyway shape or form. It is nothing new to see someone within a religious leadership position like the one Dolan is in to expect his followers to have the same political views as his own. Even with that, Dolan fails to take into consideration two things, first and foremost the fact that there are even some Catholics who partake in enjoying the freedom which is entitled to everyone through the first amendment, and second the fact that even those who do wish to go through with a homosexual marriage have the same constitutional rights as anyone else to fulfill their needs for happiness.
DOMA is undoubtedly discriminatory because if it were to be implemented as Dolan wants it; it would restrict the marriage and reproduction rights of any non-Catholic person and it would thus be considered a religious law. Sadly, Dolan is not the only Catholic bishop who is attempting to utilize his works of mercy as a means a leverage. Similarly, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has utilized his column and leadership within the religious system, to urge those around him to vote against the Child Victim's Act which helps the children who have been abused by priests. DiMarzio even went as far as threatening to close the parishes of those who failed to vote in the way he favored.
In short, I believe that though everyone is entitled to the First Amendment, Dolan and DiMarzio take it too far as to where imposes on the freedom of others. If they are not wise in the path they take from here forth, they can lose a lot of the benefits they receive as a mean of being exempt from paying taxes to the government. The fact that they are intertwining secular law with canon law is risky as well. They are crossing the fine line that lies between the separation of church and state, while simultaneously taking credibility away from Catholicism worldwide. If bishops like these do not cease their actions pertaining to the church/state divide, they will ultimately lead to the downfall of their parishes.

8 comments:

Harry R. said...

I feel that the issue of each state being allowed to come to its own decision regarding marriage is the most important aspect of this issue. Marriage is not a constitutional issue, nor is it historically considered a fundamental right. Marriage is a manmade institution which is viewed differently over time. As such, I feel that the DOMA act would inappropriately define marriage in a set way by executive order, but that decision should not be made by the executive branch.

Grace R said...

I agree with Zermeno in that DOMA is unconstitutional. The government should not be defining marriage in such specific terms as solely for a man and a woman. If the government put DOMA into law, than it would be an issue of establishment because it clearly benefits and endorses one religions beliefs over another. I also agree with what Harry said about marriage not being a federal issue, but a state one. The definition is constantly evolving and I believe that as such, there should not be such a finite line fo what should and should not be considered marriage.

Sophie K said...

I agree with Harry in that I think marriage is a social institution. Therefore, I believe it is inappropriate for the federal government to define marriage by executive order. If the federal government took the liberty of defining marriage, couldn't the federal government then technically also define what it means to be a family?

Ashley R said...

The issue here is whether or not the Archbishop is overstepping boundaries in asking President Obama to approve of DOMA. The Archbishop, in so exercising his freedom of speech, does nothing to violate the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause. He does not infringe upon anyone else’s free exercise and he is not establishing Catholicism as a federal religion. A religious citizen can write to Congressmen and other government officials expressing his or her religiously derived views on government policy. The Archbishop holds that right as well. Furthermore, it is entirely possible to put forth a religious argument that still holds significant and strong secular value.

Justin E said...

I agree with Harry's comment from above. Marriage is not a constitutional issue, and states should be allowed to come to their own decisions regarding marriage. Putting DOMA into law would also benefit christian law over other religions. The federal government should stay out of marriage.. case closed!

BryceS said...

I agree in that marriage is a social construct and should not be defined by the federal government. Furthermore, there is a potential for excessive entanglement, as it is clear that this law originated from religious roots. As briefly mentioned by Justin, this is not exclusively a representation of Catholic beliefs, but also to Christianity as a whole. Thus, this implement is an act based off of a prominent religious view, which, according to our constitution, is a violation of the first amendment.

Chris R. said...

I would like to address one thing in particular that was written in this post: that this is a religious law because it restricts the freedom of non-Catholics. The overall argument is in trouble if this is the basis of evidence, because the law applies to everyone, not just "non-Catholics." The post itself stated that there are Catholics that wish to take part in these types of unions. If this is indeed true, then such a law would indeed be universal.

kanderson said...

Talk about excessive entanglement. This is a situation where the Lemon Test would have argued against it, because of how much involvement the Federal Government would have had in the matter. It seems like the general consensus is that the Fed should be not getting themselves involved in this matter. But, should DOMA be placed into law (I agreed with Grace R) that it would be promoting if not establishing one law over another. Seems to me that this is something that should not even be in consideration on a national level.