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02/14/2013

Video: NOM cofounder's ridiculously convenient take on church/state separation

by Jeremy Hooper

Robert George, Catholic-motivated conservative who found NOM, will now "explain" why he and his faith-motivated co-laborers are totally free to do things like ban your civil marriage:

Such a red herring. No one is claiming that religious people cannot enter into the public square. PUH LEEZE. Are there atheists in Congress? Short answer: No, not openly.

Also, no is claiming that religion cannot be what brings someone to a fight. Faith motivates people to do lots of things, on all sides of every issue. Many deeply religious lawmakers who are taught to see the Bible as an anti-gay book may very well want to ban LGBT people from any number of things. No one is denying this.

But when it comes to shared civil policy, there are limitations on this want. One cannot inscribe his or her faithful desires into civil law. That is not open for discussion. If your driving desire to shape civil law begins and ends at your holy book, then that is going to be a problem for you in terms of passage of your policy. And do not be fooled: Without religion, Robert George would not be dedicating large portions of his life to fighting gay people's civil marriages. Without religion, the vast majority (I'd be willing to say 95% or more) of those opposed to marriage equality would not care at all about this fight. Every single special interest group that fights against LGBT rights is a faith-driven group; the larger resistance in any on-the-ground debate comes from faith-driven organizations. Religion is the language in which all marriage bans are written, even if they are translated through a politically pragmatic filter.

Yes, there are religious groups that support equality. However, the major distinction is that our side's religious support simply buoys the civil policy—it does not define it. Pro-LGBT faith leaders are drawn to support pro-LGBT government policy because they believe such policies benefit the welfare of God's kingdom. But the difference is that pro-LGBT faith leaders would not dare use their theological beliefs to create policy. Instead, our side's faithful leaders look to policy that is created for civil, governmental reasons and then determine if that policy—which, first and foremost, is sound on a constitutional level—is something they might also find conducive to their theological perspective. This is the *major* difference. It's the difference between (a) looking to the world and determining the course of civil policy conversation that might best serve the congregants who opted in to your church and (b) looking to the world and telling it that you know what is best for everyone (opted-in or not) based on your personal perspective. The former realizes the proper limits of the "want"; the latter does not give a flying freedom about proper separation or restraint.

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