Saturday, June 25, 2011

The "My God Is Better Than Your God" Argument

One of my favorite pastimes as of late has been joining in on the marriage equality discussion that takes place every day on the National Organization for Marriages’ webpage. There is always a great deal of bantering back and forth on about marriage equality, with about half supporting the notion and the other half opposing.   One of the most common messages that I see from one man/one woman marriage supporters on that page is the idea that God is the one who has defined marriage and that He decided that it was to be between one man and one woman. Besides the obvious Constitutional implications that such a statement has in relation to civil marriage, I find it interesting to bring up what I deem the “other religion” argument.  This is a very important argument for me, because I am a Conservative Jew, and the majority of Judaism does not support what the one man/one women proponents say that God says.  

      One man/One woman marriage supporters often state that God never intended that two men or two women be married, and that he specifically forbids homosexuality in scripture. I respond…”That’s excellent, I’m glad that you have those beliefs, and maybe the God that you believe in does have these prohibitions. But in Judaism, the religion that I belong too, the majority of movements (our version of denominations) support and validate same-sex unions and LGBT individuals.” You see, for years, the Reformed, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism have openly welcomed their gay and lesbian members and their partners, and often times even perform same-sex weddings in those jurisdictions where they are legal.  For example, in my synagogue - a Conservative Jewish shule - my Rabbi and our community have been more than welcoming of my husband and I.
      The question that I ask of one man/one women marriage supporters is this – if your argument is purely based upon a religious model, why should the Government prefer your religious version of marriage to the version of marriage upheld by both my God as well as my Movement? As of yet, I have had no adequate response; for though some have been receptive to this contradiction, many have resorted to attacks against the Jewish religion instead of actually addressing the issue at hand.  But my question raises some legitimate concerns; for under a “God says so, therefore Government should make it so” model, we cannot actually make a determination on the issue one way or another, because that would require choosing one religious viewpoint over an equally valid one, something that the Government cannot and should not do.  

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