Monday, October 26, 2009
Separation of Church and State?
In reality, as Bishop Robinson said, this is the church imposing its will on the state. "Separation of church and state works both ways." The framing of what he meant is what really caught me: that churches, as he said, are deputized by the state for civil purposes. If you want to get married, you to a church and you get married. Or you can go get a justice of the peace. You can even have a friend become a Universal Life minister just for the occasion. There are lots of ways. And as Bishop Robinson pointed out, when you get a divorce, you don't go back to the church. You go to the courts. But because marriage originated as a religious concept, and because churches and other religious organizations are massive and organized, the church has a seat at the table, and the religious exceptions written into the New Hampshire and Maine legislation has a specific exception for that. So they get to cry foul and people listen to them.