Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No Vote For You!

I've been considering a series of posts outlining my various positions on issues surrounding same-sex marriage and the response to the California Proposition 8. I haven't gotten around to it yet, and may not at all. But there's one issue I can't ignore. Many protesting the results insist that religion should never play a role in politics.

What country do you live in?! Obviously not this one, as--if that were true--we'd still be a Royal Commonwealth. Your lack of historical knowledge is amazingly acute and you should be sent back to elementary school.

But all that aside, the notion is utterly ludicrous and dangerous. To imply that there should be any test to qualify for voting is fascist, not democratic. I may not like how people vote, I may not like why they vote a particular way, but to state that any particular way of reaching one's conclusions is wrong is anathema to the very principles this country was founded on.

This idea is forwarded by small-minded individuals who simply cannot endure the idea that anyone would disagree with them. The most common excuse I've heard to justify this idea is that "I come by my opinion based on logic and common sense, while religion is irrational at best, and hate-mongery at worst."

For one thing, that is only an opinion. You see the logic in your opinion, but it does not necessarily follow that your logic is irrefutable. Chances are you only refuse to hear counter-evidence.

For another, logic can be used to justify nearly anything. For example, I could (and do) present the following argument: Prove to me that there is no God. What responses might you give? You've never seen him? *Buzz* So? Borneo exists regardless of my lack of personal oggling thereof. And there are at least a few people who claim to have seen God.

How about many of the claims of the Bible being refuted by science? Does that disprove the existence of God, or just prove either the incompleteness of science or the failure of the Bible to state religious beliefs in scientifically verifiable terms? Either way, that fails to really address God's existence.

Please don't even bother raising the argument, "Well, if there was a God, why does he let so many bad things happen?" That's simply a ludicrous way of saying "If God were God he'd agree with me!" I would posit that if God is God he's got a totally different perspective on things that none of us are likely to grasp without a similar frame of reference.

You might get farther arguing "If God is God, why are there so many different religions, and why does he allow them to do such terrible things in his name?" But ultimately it's the same argument as above. You think you know how God should work, as if his perspective should somehow match yours. That only questions the nature of God, not his existence.

If someone has some really good, solid, verifiable proof that God does not exist I'm open to hearing it. Otherwise, I can logically argue that without proof that God does not exist, it's completely logical and acceptable to assume that He does. It is also logical to assume that God has a plan for what He is doing, because we have no proof to the contrary.

And if that is accepted, then it logically follows that God's plan includes an opinion on how we should behave. Prove otherwise. Now here you might have some rational ground for bringing up the multiplicity of religions and their contrary beliefs. However, for every argument here there is a counter-argument. Ultimately you can no more disprove the idea of "commandments" than I can prove their veracity--though there is evidence on my side. Eventually it all returns to the idea that God, for whatever reason, wants us to operate on faith, whether we like it or not.

So perhaps it is not incontrovertable for me to say that "X is a sin", but it is also not incontrovertable for you to argue "no X is not, because there is no sin, because there is no God." Logic insists that there is at least a chance that I am right. Therefore there is also a chance that you are wrong in claiming I am irrational.

Are you willing to bet your presumed eternal soul that I'm wrong? I'm already betting mine that I'm right. If you're right, then really, what does it matter how I behave? If there is no God, then man is the only moral authority. So who is to say that you are any more right than I am? Oh, sure, society has its conventions, but then on the question of gay marriage, who is the one overturning convention?

In fact, in the absence of God, the only moral authority--at least in America--is majority rule. And what has the majority been saying so far about same-sex marriage? Like it or not, until you convince a majority to support it, you at the very least cannot question my right to oppose it.

But to get back to my point, you cannot exclude religious people from the political process simply because you believe we are irrational. For one, you cannot irrefutably prove that we are. For another, the law of the land only insists that you be eighteen years of age and a U.S. citizen. Until it says otherwise, that is the only grounds on which you can refuse political franchise.

For my part, I don't care if a person flips a coin, listens to a rock, prays to satan, or numerologically calculates the ideal candidate based on his middle name in choosing how to vote. That's their business. I may not like the result, but I'll defend their right to do so until death. The minute we claim one method is superior to another and therefore grounds to disenfranchise anyone we are on very shaky ground.

For all the charges of hate and bigotry against "my side" of the issue, I would never attempt to deny anyone on "the other side" the right to vote on the issue. On any issue. Should someone seek to amend the Constitution to acknowledge satan as supreme lord of the universe I would still insist that every legal voter be allowed their vote.

I'm just funny that way.

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