Why I Would Support Banning Gay Marriage

My argument is that we allow religions to have bizarre laws within secular states. If we relegate marriage as a whole to religions, we ought to tolerate whatever views the religious groups have on marriage. With regards to the State, we ought to just have a civil union, which is sex-blind. If religions then want to maintain their opposition to gay marriages, that is their business, not those of us focused on secular policies. It would be disgusting if they did continue to oppose gay marriages, but we tolerate disgusting views – as long as they don’t infringe on the wider laws – anyway.

The main reason to oppose homosexual discrimination usually has to due with inconsistent application of the laws or rules applied. That is, if sexual orientation truly does not effect whether someone is a better citizen, worker, friend, and so on, then he ought not to be discriminated against if he happens to be gay. This would constitute unfair discrimination, by definition, since you would be treating those who happened to be straight without worrying whether their sexual orientation would lead to a worse friendship or poorer work performance (or you take it for granted that straight people perform better or are more trustworthy, etc.) Unfair discrimination or prejudice is what we (ought to) oppose – but not discrimination by definition, since that would actually be absurd.

‘Discrimination’ is, like ‘killing’ and ‘punishment’, a neutral term. We must decide whether the discrimination in particular cases is moral or not, since there can be good and bad discrimination (just like their can be justified and unjustified killing , punishment, etc.). For example, we ‘discriminate’ where we allocate our time when it comes to friends, colleagues and lovers – we sometimes will choose to allocate our time to friends today, colleagues tomorrow, lovers in the evening. If you were casting a movie for Malcolm X or Ray Charles, discriminating against Johnny Depp or Arnold Schwarzenegger for the title role would be justified (though Robert Downey Jr. might do an amazing job). Notice here that we are discriminating based on skin-colour but it is not racist since it is justified according to the specific parameters: that is, it’s a movie about a black man and, therefore, it seems, it requires a black man in the role.

However, sexual orientation is not, like skin-colour, something immediately apparent in an individual. Sexual orientation is, in the most common instances, a private affair for individuals. In the best case scenario, I wouldn’t even be writing about it but because it is of some concern to people, usually those who are either conservative, homophobic or religious (usually all three), I want to try get to the heart of the problem when it comes to gay marriage. But I’m coming to that.

So how could one justifiably discriminate in general? To reiterate, if the rules of a particular group are consistent with their overall existence within whatever society the group is in, and the rules happen to discriminate based on a specific property people have (through no choosing of their own, like sex or sexual orientation), then the group can discriminate justifiably. I’ve given the example of the film industry: so, if we can agree that the film industry is such that it exists to create the illusion of life to tell stories, using people to who serve as stand-ins for characters, then we accept that there will be rules about who can play those characters. We know that we can’t caste eight year olds to play teenagers and so on; skin-colour happens to be another of these criterions. (I’m ignoring for the moment the abilities of costume and designs that can change people’s appearances and sexes entirely).

Now, when it comes to gay marriage, we have something similar.  I apologise for the forthcoming sentence but I wish to spell it out as clearly as possible: It seems to me we also have groups – called religious groups – which exist in particular societies – secular democracies – whose rules the State allows to continue (to maintain particular religious groups’ continued identities and, therefore, existence). However state law doesn’t allow these religious groups to interfere in the rules that govern all of us (i.e. the law) who share that society.

In other words, religions within secular democracies are allowed to have their own (often bizarre) laws for their own people (no eating meat that wasn’t killed without arbitrary Arabic phrases; fasting for a month; no sex before marriage, etc.), as long as those laws don’t violate the rules which govern everyone (i.e. constitutional, federal, etc. laws).

We often call groups that claim weird metaphysics, knowledge of gods’ minds and maintenance of bizarre laws ‘religions’, yet ones that do all of those but break important laws of the land, like murder or manslaughter, we call ‘cults’. (An interesting experiment would be to truly categorise the difference between religions and cults. I have sneaking suspicion there is no significant difference.) But the point I’m highlighting is that we allow bizarre laws within religions to continue as long as they don’t obviously interfere with wider laws of the country.

Now when it comes to marriage, something very interesting arises. See, marriage is a grey area when it comes to the State and recognised religions. For example, in South Africa there is still uncertainty regarding the legal legitimacy of Muslim marriages. This means that, under Allah, a man and woman might be wedded but under the State they are not. Currently, there is a fight to change that since, if there is a divorce, the State struggles to legitimately help those left in the matrimonial dust with regard to pooled resources, children and so on, that arose during the years of marriage. Since this relationship was never recognised by the State, in that the resources (house, income, etc.) would be shared, how can the State therefore try defend those who require a powerful mediator? Sure, mullahs and imams could step in, but that’s not the point here since it would be relying on people no more qualified than a random person off the street.

Pictured on Left: Person off the street.

You can see the problem then, since “marriage” is something understood within that religion’s law. Like halal and not eating pork, we accept that religions instigate marriages between particular people. Religious groups can say “These are the people who are allowed to be married according to our faith” and can list the properties they deem appropriate. The common property for all the major religions is that it must be between a man and a woman. If the members of that particular religious group are not a man and a woman, then we must agree to the following: according to that particular religious group, they can’t be married.

This is not about they “should” or “shouldn’t” be married. The laws of the religions dictate that marriage is allowed only for a man and a woman. If it is not a man and a woman, then, by definition, that religious group cannot recognise that marriage. It is no different to asking Muslims to eat pork: for Muslims, they cannot eat pork because that is what their particular religion’s law states. This isn’t about why Muslims continue this very stupid rule – pork and marriages – but simply accepting that they do. Remember: the nature of a secular state and free expression is not about liking or endorsing all views, opinions and practices (that would make it relativistic), but about tolerating them (again, as long as they don’t interfere with the wider society). This relationship is a two-way street: Just as various religions are allowed to exist within the same society and not interfere with each other, so the religions can’t interfere with the State (the fact that they try is not the point here). But: it also means we, the wider society, can’t interfere with their laws.

It’s about being consistent: if we’re saying that religions can’t interfere with us, then surely it means we can’t interfere with them. We break that rule when they do: that is, when religions attempt to ban or hinder activity which they have no business doing (I still can’t buy alcohol on a Sunday and no one can give me a good secular reason for this. We can go busting down church doors for this but we should not bust down doors if they tell it to their flocks).  Being consistent means that if we want religions to stay out of our lives, we should stay out of theirs.

Tolerance means we should not interfere with their laws, which don’t infringe on ours. Thus, if in a religious denomination they cannot recognise gay marriage, I can accept that. It is no business of mine to go ahead and change some religion’s law (because I want to see all religions done away with, not individual religious laws. I’m not a theologian because I actually have real matters to attend to). So, just as we tolerate their stupid laws on halal foods and not allowing women priests, we ought to do the same for marriage.

It seems to me we ought to give the entire institution of marriage over to religions. This isn’t a new idea: it’s simply a call for civil unions however you wish to construe that term. Marriages, I think, should be relegated to the dominions of religions (and perhaps other places like the Navy or wherever) but have no legal binding. The couple then needs to acquire a civil union at the same time. There’s no reason they can’t do it on the same day, have a ceremony which includes the applications toward getting a civil union, etc. My point is, it need not interfere with the festivities of how marriages are celebrated anyway. Furthermore, it would overcome the idiocies of trying to recognise religious marriages as proper marriages – marriages as a whole should just stay within religious groups, then the couple should acquire a civil union. Upon the successful acquisition of the latter, the State recognises them however the particular States in different countries recognise married couples.

This also does away with gay marriages, since there are few religious groups which will accept it. It seems unfair that, say, Muslim gay people can’t be recognised as equals to everyone else within the Muslim community, but that’s just the nature of Islam because it’s a religion. If you don’t recognise that religions, by definition, have crooked necks from all the backward glancing to the past, then you must surely be myopic. If you wish to try and reform your church or denomination to recognise gay marriages, that should be your own personal challenge within your religious group. Perhaps you can try muster support from others and work toward that goal. However, again, that need not concern the rest of us. Though it sounds harsh, it really is not my business to defend, for example, homosexual Muslim men trying to get Islam to recognise them as equal people before God. What I will (and constantly am trying to) do is have all homosexual people recognised as equals before the law of the country. Again, its about unfair discrimination and, within the State, it would be unfair given how the laws are applied. I don’t know – nor really care – for the intricate, silly theology that says gays can’t be married within a particular denomination. It’s the same reason I won’t fight Islam to change its law about eating pork or halal meat: it’s not my business. If meat sellers don’t sell to Muslims because of their faith, then I will defend Muslims but again because its unfair discrimination.

Though I think many might misconstrue my attitude and find it harsh, it really isn’t. I will oppose all and any forms of unfair discrimination; however, I’m not convinced that within religious groups who don’t recognise gay marriages that it is, in fact, unfair. It is horrid and, I think, barbaric to think that because someone isn’t having sex the way you think he should, it makes him “less” of a person in the eyes of your god, church, and so on – but that disgust is separate to the theological “reasoning” (oxymoron?) behind not allowing gay marriages within that particular denomination. It is not my battle as an ex-Muslim who is opposed to religions and religious mindsets as a whole. As I say, what we should do is simply give marriages to religions and have a sex-blind civil union which offers the same legal benefits. There’s no reason the two are mutually exclusive.

These are simply my initial thoughts on these matters. I imagine there are a number of criticisms that can be made about my various arguments. Here are some that I hope people will either develop more robustly against me or show why my arguments may in fact overcome them:

  1. Unfairness should be recognised wholesale. There’s no reason to draw a line at religions and say “As long as its now unlawful, we should allow it”. Marriages (even gay ones) are lawful in many countries including South Africa, so it is, in fact unlawful not to recognise them within religious denominations. You should be fighting for it.
  2. The attitude of a hands-off approach means tolerating discrimination in, for example, the workplace. Would you be OK with a business that didn’t allow women to work in it? Or said women must be attractive and wear minimal clothing? (I would be. Now before you think I’m being naughty, I mean I would tolerate it since I would respect a woman’s right to choose for herself whether to work there or not provided she knows those sexist rules are in place. Also, I believe it is unlawful for businesses to have practices like that anyway since it would prevent women from wanting to work there, therefore implicitly depriving them of a job based on their sex, etc.)
  3. How can you say in the same breath it is unfair and horrid that religions do x, but then not do anything about it? Surely that’s hypocritical of you in your desire to see them done away with and/or defending all forms of unjustified discrimination (again, my response might be I don’t think it’s unjustified within that particular religious group).
  4. What about reforming religions? Religions are not static entities, they change as the people do. Surely you are simply maintaining stagnation by not aiding, for example, gay Muslim men who want to change Islam?
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20 thoughts on “Why I Would Support Banning Gay Marriage

  1. Seems to me you are suggesting marriage as a religious institution; but the law should provide for a civil-union.Sounds fair enough to me. Do you see the separation working that clearly? A 2-step process (Civil union plus a religious marriage if so desired)? Should we prevent religious marriage-officials from performing the civil-union part of it if they are unwilling to be civil about providing that function for gays?

    And d’ya think civil-unions should provide for poly-andry/gyny/anything? One spouse was too much for me – but I believe that Heinlein-esque world is just through the next door …

    • I’m not sure if it would work that clearly. It would be complicated by such things as priests who do both – perhaps there could be a convenient system to make that process smoother for couples. Again, I don’t know.

      “Should we prevent religious marriage-officials from performing the civil-union part of it if they are unwilling to be civil about providing that function for gays?”

      I’m not really sure what you mean, here. Perhaps you can correct me if the following answer is misrepresenting your question. I think perhaps we can, but my whole point is to leave marriage out of gay couples wanting to cement their relationship.

      Assuming we’ve made it such that marriage is only a religious institution and civil unions are the legitimate form of obtaining mutual rights and sharing property, etc. OK, with that done, the point is that gay couples would need to find a church that would marry them, but can have any official bring them into a civil union recognised by the state. You raise an interesting point: what happens if there is a priest who is also a recognised presider of a civil union? There are two responses. One is that we prevent double-duties, so priests by definition CANT also engage in making a civil union. Or, two, we simply accept that for these officials, their church duties are formost before being some kind of extension of the state. I’m not sure. The difficult is that then the sentence I just said, “[a gay couple] can have any official…” , would not be true since “any official” includes the priests with double-duties.

      I’m not sure but it’s certainly an interesting scenario that I must battle with.

  2. Excellent. I’ve been trying to tell people this for years it seems. You said it very well. Marriage is a religious idea, so let the religions do it however they want. But let’s amend the idea of a civil union to be truly non-discriminatory and define its parameters and social/legal/financial benefits. The way you’ve made a clear distinction between the two is quite helpful.

    • Thank you. Some of my more professional friends, like Russell Blackford, think I’m too ambitious (read: naive), but I’m not exactly sure why. Apparently this would undermine an institution too in-built into society. That’s what people said about apartheid, so I don’t know…

  3. Pingback: There She Is!! | Evidence & Reason

  4. I wouldn’t take anything you write seriously, since you can not even spell basic words such as apologize with a z not an s or recognize also the same spelling. So I guess since I have to be conservative, homophobic and religious. You can be uneducated, arrogant and liberal, but I am sure the first two are somebody else’s fault. (liberal)

    • 1. Americans spell such words with a “z”. I’m using UK English. For example, have you heard of a place called “England”? A remarable place. Check to see how they spell things called “words”, like coloured, apologise, and recognise. So bizarre that there are other countries that aren’t America but they, weirdly, exist. But then what do I know, since I’m uneducated.

      2. What does spelling have to do with whether the argument is right. You’re judging me wrong because of not spelling it according to American dictionaries? I guess that means that everything not written in American English is also wrong: Bertrand Russell, Darwin and those other British people were all idiots. What’s this? Dawkins in River Out of Eden spelling it as “maximise”? Blasphemy I say!

      3. Why am I homophobic?

      I can’t believe you actually wrote what you did. But then you’re not going to be taking me seriously anyway with my liberal use of the letter “s”… or something about liberals.

  5. I agree entirely with your proposed hierarchy of state civil unions as the primary condition to specific rights (financial, legal, etc), with religious marriage being secondary and according persons with whatever rights that would confer with the caveat that it is not in conflict with the primary.

    I would further propose that de-facto civil union be granted in certain circumstances (eg cohabitation for a certain period) as is currently the case.

    On the criticisms you mention, many of them are difficult to argue because by lie on a border between two opposing rights – i.e. people have a right to freedom of speech up to inciting violence and/or causing panic, at which stage an individual’s right to life takes precedence.

    In much the same way people have the right to equal treatment by the state and the organs of state, but to a large degree groups of people the freedom to include and exclude people as they deem fit. This is however not entirely without limit as society has been known to unjustly discriminate against a minority, even when such discrimination is to its own detriment. In cases such as these the state needs to step in and take corrective action.

    The problem with most criticisms is that any of them could be argued with some strength depending on a person’s specific hierarchy of freedoms how much one is willing to curtail any of them.

    Personally I am very liberalist so my preferences to the above would be to live and let live, even the somewhat bizarre policies regarding females and dress code – given informed consent of course.

  6. Great article. You make interesting points to a very similar view I also share. May I add some (what I believe to be) congruent thoughts? If its coherent at all!

    I completely agree that ‘marriage’ is a religious concept and should be in the domain of religion, at least officially. In my opinion, ONE of the two only legitimate gripes religion actually has with ‘gay marriage’ is that marriage is an institution of God between man and woman, so your proposal would clear up that issue for religions. (the other legitimate gripe IMO up later in the post) Homosexuals should be satisfied, as they have access to the same rights and duties in a civil union as all other ‘normal’ marriages.

    Of course, nothing is stopping homosexuals from calling their life together at and after wedding ceremonies a ‘marriage’, as the term ‘marriage’ has taken on to mean much more in today’s lexicon (i.e. the union of two entities) but at least the religious will be satisfied that the state doesn’t call it a ‘marriage’. Phew, hope that isn’t too incoherent!

    Now I foolishly tread further into the murky waters of morality…

    I fully believe gays should have the right to marry or ‘civil unionise’ or whatever. I believe people should be able to live according to their own conviction, as long as it doesn’t directly negatively impact on anyone else. ‘Directly’ is a loose term, I know, and that’s where murkiness comes in. Some may argue that certain behaviours or actions are ‘direct’ whilst others say its ‘indirect’. I believe its mostly a grayscale / sliding scale of impact. So with much delayed build-up, onto what I believe is a second fairly legitimate gripe religion has with homosexual unions, and that is that of adoption. (Or is this a very old topic already discussed to death in your site? Elsewhere it probably is, and I still need to be enlightened to some of the views, so please feel free to comment me!)

    It is the view of religion, and I believe of many, if not most, secular psychologists (I don’t have any proof right now so feel free to bash me) that a child needs both genders in parents to have a better chance at developing a healthy framework of reference. (I am assuming ceteris paribus, so no remarks about some ‘bad’ hetero parents versus good homo parents). What, exactly, a healthy framework of reference is, is probably also up for endless discussion, perhaps rendering any point I make moot, but I persist with the thought nonetheless. Therefore, if homosexuals all adopt, and the children grow up with certain aspects of the frame of reference less balanced, that would have an impact on society, and all of its individuals – the issue is, how direct / indirect is that impact?

    Its very complicated. Issues come into play, like, surely its better for a child to grow up with middle-class homosexual parents than to be on ‘the streets’, etc..

    If I were to extremely hazard a sweeping solution for everyone (even if its only to soothe the conscience) is that everybody should realise that each one of us is ultimately responsible for our own lives and beliefs. Therefore, religions / groups should not be too disheartened if ‘innocent’ babies are brought up by other beliefs / groups than your own – though that child will no doubt be influenced by some extent, that child / grown adult must own up to his/her own belief, and hopefully, make his / her own intelligent, objective decisions. In absolute form, this is only an ideal.

    So, to madly continue with this ‘sweeping solution’ idea, we should all strive for a more individualistic society, right? As opposed to a collectivist society (More specifically, I am referring to a measure of culture of Geert Hofstede’s, the indivualist-collectivist continuum). More ‘I’ than ‘we’. More independant of the group than dependant on the group. Sounds a bit sad. But we do live in a world with highly collectivist societies, where the values of the group imprint and have more weight than what the individual might have. (different cultures score differently on this continuum; broadly speaking, ‘Western’ cultures are more individualisic, whilst ‘African’ and ‘Eastern’ cultures are more collectivist. Collectivist doesn’t mean communist)

    Yet, to accept that we are TOO influenced by the group (or homo parents, if you will. Insert any perceived problematic group, i.e. another-religion-than-your-own-parents) means that we should indeed judge and discriminate against other groups, should their impact on society be deemed to ‘direct’ – of course this thinking cannot be acceptable!

    So, to crazily continue with this sweeping idea solution, the problem with society is…GROUPS! ROFL.

    Argh, I am going cross-eyed! Some help, please, bring my mind back onto the straight and narrow.

    • Question #2 remains hypothetical as long as we’re just throwing around “what ifs” on a blog. Actually answering your question would entail finding some people who were raised by same-sex couples and see how they turned out.

      Also, if you’re suggesting that people need two parents of different gender present in the home to “turn out okay,” then you could talk to some people who only had one parent, were raised only by their grandmother, and so on. Do they meet your criteria for turning out as a decent human? If they do, why would you think things would be any better or worse with two parents of the same sex?

      I don’t personally have an opinion to argue on this. Just suggesting that these questions of yours could actually be answered by surveying some real people.

      • Exactly. And the research indicates that the idea of “man father” and “lady mother” doesn’t mean as much as we think it does. It’s not the gender, it’s the entire home environment.

        • In the point I raised, I did intend for a ceteris paribus assumption, where all other factors are equal (the entire home environment). But I assume its exactly that which is argued makes ‘the indelible stamp’ on a person, so thank you, its a very good point to consider…if you come upon some salient links in this regard, could you please post them? I might need them! Would love to be a student in your class btw.

    • Research indicates the gender of parents is irrelevant to the extent that we’ve thought. It’s not that it has no impact – since there’s little in childhood that won’t have some impact – but it’s not so important that we “need” or ought to argue for it, since its largely not the point of developing a healthy child. What matters is a stable, safe, homebase and a loving parent (or parents, even two isn’t necessary). So unfortunately, this is wrong: “a child needs both genders in parents to have a better chance at developing a healthy framework of reference.”

      What do you mean by genders? I’m not convinced by the idea of gender roles, since that seems to me to be refuted constantly by the growing equality of sexes. The differences are biological, sure, but in terms of much more than that, there’s nothing I see that we should take seriously. It implies that men and women “ought” to be a certain way, and that is a nonsense, teleological assumption.

      Also, what do you mean by “healthy frame of reference”? The most important part is a stable, secure loving family. Even genetics are irrelevant to this, as adoptive families indicate and as you’ve already outargued yourself, there are numerous exceptions – single families better than abusive “two gendered” ones, etc. – which prove this wrong. This doesn’t meant that we advocate to destroy “mum and dad” scenarios, it’s just that we should say that’s how all families should be since there’s no reason to take that line of argument seriously: we should be trying to help all families, regardless of structure (one mom, two moms, one dad and mom, etc.), to be stable, secure, helpful, etc. That doesn’t need gender roles (hence its irrelevance).

      Also, not all married couples are going to have kids. I hope they don’t and, instead, adopt. But that’s another argument and why it’s not THAT important to the discussion of gay marriages in this case.

      • Thank you for a well reasoned reply. This branched line of debate probably doesn’t fit into the ‘gay marriage’ segment but more into a ‘rights of gay parents to adopt’ segment, so I apologise if I confuse the issues.

        Some Christians / religions might argue that there iscomplete equality between the genders, but different roles, and that the two need not be mutually exclusive – to what is extent, I don’t know, but the difference is probably diminishing. I don’t think it can’t be entirely diminished, though. Only a woman can bear children, and resultant hormones give (most) women extraordinary chutzpah to take care of young in the most trying of circumstances. There are just some things that a man might not be able to do as fantastic as a woman, but that’s not to say that a single father can’t do a good job.

        This all is not to say gay parents can’t be good for children, the above point just needs to be considered I believe, as I know this is a fundamental gripe with religions RE gay parents.

        We should indeed try to help all family structures!

        Do you have a RSS feed? I don’t mind email updates, but prefer RSS feeds even more.

        Thanks for thought inducing…thoughts!

  7. Do note that the reply is of my own beliefs and opinions, it may or may not be a fact.

    The origin of marriage is still debatable, it being a secular contract(trade) or a religious idea of a union between a man and a woman. The term marriage is undoubtedly altered by both religion and the State. Where the State provides benefits, rights and equality to the persons in marriage ; religion providing the catalysts to the concept of love in a marriage(as opposed to duty in secular marriage contracts)

    No point denying this, but the term of marriage is more or less a highly valued term for the people in the society, that the ‘separate but equal’ version called civil union would probably never be able to replace it.

    To allow religions(and its denominations) to determine what marriage is would expand the term ‘marriage’ to dozens of definitions, from one man one woman to two committed people(note some LGBT friendly religions/denominations would call this ‘marriage’) to remarried couples.

    Which means all civil union-ed couples that could find a church/mosque/temple that calls their union a marriage would be entitled to say ‘i am married’ and they could also be disagreed by religions that do not. In other words, its an entirely new grey area for defining marriage.

    I do know its possible for an ‘Universal Definition of Religious Marriage'(UDRM), but that would be beyond their own religion and affecting other religions by imposing their definitions on other religions who disagrees. Its one thing to say that ‘i disagree with your marriage because under my religion it is not’ and another to say that ‘your religion cannot call this marriage because UDRM does not agree’.

  8. Hi Tauriq;

    I love your work and logic. But I am irked by the following thought: the social context created by dominant religions (like Christianity in America, which reins over the realm of the perceived normalcy of marriage) can still inflict the felt discrimination of exclusion. The separate but equal comparison of civil union to community sanctified marriage is akin in some ways to the former use of black and white drinking fountains. The argument being: the water is the same, so what’s the dif? I know you are wisely and pragmatically focusing on the difference between juridical and religious uses of the marriage contract, and wisely looking to influence the civic realm where logic and reason and justice can sometimes actually prevail; but somewhere in the middle is the realm of an individual’s experience in a social context, and that cannot be fully excluded from the equation of social justice.

    You wisely dismiss the illogic and warped traditions of religions but that does not mean their social effect disappears at the time of your own dismissal. Your notion that the effect of religion is contained within the religious group (and thus no need to mess with them as long as they don’t mess with us) is more logical than actual. Prohibitions on eating pork truly do not affect anyone else’s sense of self-worth; but when large and influential institutions (that receive terrific tax breaks from the federal and state government, and often influence elections at every level of governmental office from the presidency to local school boards) are allowed to institutionalize discrimination we have a whole different kind of problem. See? The tyranny of the many, as you wonderfully address elsewhere.

    I am all for doing the pragmatic wherever it can be done, bravo, but there is still this bleed-thru effect between the civic and the religious, and between the civic and any ‘moral’ issue. Regrettably, as any African American living in the US can attest to, problems in the realm of actual lived experience are by no means resolved by rational laws.

    Best,
    CH

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