the separation of church and state, at least in this country, is a myth.
granted, it’s a great goal to work toward – the complete non-reliance of the governing, legislating bodies on any single religious, moral code.
governing shouldn’t be about morality or any kind of philosophical pandering anyhow, it should be about protecting the state from harm – whether that harm comes from within or without. to that end, legislation should protect people from one another, and protect the rights of individuals from being infringed upon, and no more.
individuals must be able to make up their own minds as to what is right and wrong for themselves. only if a person’s action infringe upon the freedoms of another, or causes harm to someone else, then those acts should be punished in a manner befitting the crime.
my macchiavellian babbling aside, the most apt example of how religion and the state are still inexorably linked is in the institute of marriage.
marriage is no longer about love. if it were, then two people could make vows to one another to be forever faithful and caring of one another, and leave it at that.
and it’s not about procreation anymore either. the idea that, to have children, one must first be married, is not only out of date, it’s out of touch with reality.
so, what is marriage about? it’s about money. taxes, particularly.
if you ask the u.s. government, anyway, that’s all that matters. marriage is the institution where two people come together and pool their assets, talents, and dependencies, and file a joint tax return. there are other benefits, too – insurance, health care, etc. but mostly, marriage means two people can be treated as one. simplify. simplify, simplify.
so, why are marriages still held at churches? why are they usually overseen by ordained clergy of one faith or another? because the church has this crazy idea that marriage is an institute created by God, ordained in the bible.
of course, marriage has been around in many forms since well before the bible was written, and in cultures who have never even heard the Word. men have coupled with women, typically one to one, typically until one of them dies, and typically in order to be sure that the one is the father of the other’s children. the judeo-christian corporate conglomerate that thinks they rule the western world also thinks they have some kind of stake in marriage.
and that’s why it’s still not recognized by law when two men decide to love one another forever, monogamously. or two women. or any combination of threes and fours. because the church think that marriage is still about the coupling of one man and one woman in order to ensure identity in reproduction
and what of married couples who are unable or unwilling to reproduce? should they not get married? should they not be allowed? what if they indeed love one another, but won’t sign a piece of paper
the disparity is obvious. if marriage is only the joining of two bank accounts and tax returns, the only way it can really be recognized by the government, then any two
but then, what would become of all the paperwork?