Should Prop 8 be overturned? By what authority?

Jerry Brown, the attorney general in California, has asked the state supreme court to overturn the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  Brown, who was once against same-sex marriage, now says the ban is unconstitutional.

You can read an article discussing the issue here:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnews/20081223/ts_usnews/brownaskscourttooverturnprop8

The above article describes the state’s “constitutional crisis.”  It states that every branch of government in California, including the courts, support gay marriage.  However, the majority of the people (52%) are against it.  Who decides?

In a secular society such as ours, the people decide what laws govern the land.  We collectively decide through the democratic process what things are right or wrong, and what is acceptable or not.  A secular society has at its foundation the assumption that there is no such thing as absolute truth.  There is no such thing as absolute right and wrong.  These things are all decided collectively by society.

If one was to argue that society were wrong, she would have to argue from a position of a higher authority than society.  What could this authority possibly be?  For the Christian, the source of authority is found in the Bible.  We look to the written word of God as our guide in every area of life.  Truth is based upon what God has said is right and wrong, not what we collectively decide.  Other religions have their own ideas of absolute truth.

Even our nation’s Constitution is based on the idea that there is a higher authority than society.  The Bill of Rights begins by stating that people have certain inalienable rights that were endowed upon them by their Creator (i.e. God).  This means that regardless of what society or government may say, people have certain fundamental rights that cannot be taken away.  It also means that the Creator is the source of the rights.  If you eliminate the Creator, you eliminate the authority for rights and potentially the rights themselves (if society decides to take them away).

My questions at the end are these:

  1. If we live in a secular society, and we do, how do we have any basis for arguing that our basic, God-given rights have been violated?  If we say there is no God, we cannot say we have God-given rights.
  2. If we acknowledge God, how can we attempt to overstep His authority?  If He has stated that same-sex relationships are wrong, there is nothing else to be argued.  His authority is absolute and final.
  3. If we have absolute authority (which is needed to have “inalienable rights”) without God, what is the source of this authority?
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17 Responses to Should Prop 8 be overturned? By what authority?

  1. The Bible also says that those who work on the Sabbath should be put to death.
    I look forward to you supporting this position in the future. Or will you, like most American Christians, pick and choose which sections of the Bible you derive your morals from, in order to justify your own prejudices?

    Christian America is fundamentally hypocritical, intolerant, segregating ignorance. If the sadistic God you guys worship is the true God, I want nothing to do with a God like that.

  2. Tim Farley says:

    Jamie:
    Thanks for your comment. Your question about the Sabbath is a good one. I will address it in my next blog post since it will take too long to do so here in a comment area. I hope you will come back and read my response.

    You miss the main point of my post. Of course, your views will differ from many on here since you are not in the U.S., but the main point is this: If our rights are not based on absolute truth, where do they come from? They must come from majority opinion. If this is the case, no one can say “unfair!” They can work to change majority opinion, but without absolutes (which come from a higher authority), there is really no such thing as right or wrong, only opinion. If we are a democracy that is run “by the people”, the state must honor the will of the people. They do not have the authority to overturn it.

    As far as your opinion of God, that is your choice to make. I can only tell you what His word says. If you find it unpalatable, I am sorry. It is not up to me to make God more appealing to you. He is who He is. We accept Him for who He has revealed Himself to be or we do not.

    Also, I remind you that your own website states that we should allow people to hold whatever religious convictions they desire. Your words towards Christians do not sound very tolerant to me.

  3. Jon_York says:

    America was not always a secular society; of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; Our National Motto was, last time I checked, “In God We Trust.”

    If in fact religion and morality, or good conduct, have no place in our society then we are doomed to fail as a nation. To answer the first of the three questions …

    1. If we live in a secular society, and we do, how do we have any basis for arguing that our basic, God-given rights have been violated? If we say there is no God, we cannot say we have God-given rights.

    Our God given rights remain just that. God given; and violated! Secular or not. Our perseption of where these rights come from does not exempt the violation of these rights whether we do it ignorantly or deliberately.

    2. If we acknowledge God, how can we attempt to overstep His authority? If He has stated that same-sex relationships are wrong, there is nothing else to be argued. His authority is absolute and final.

    If we overstep these; whether we do so in ignorance or in open defiance is irrelevant; and we as a nation are subject to His wrath. It’s been done before. Overstepping God’s design has failed every time it’s tried.

    3. If we have absolute authority (which is needed to have “inalienable rights”) without God, what is the source of this authority?

    The little secret here is whether government imposes it’self in the place of God, whether we see man as the be all and end all and the ultimate and final authority; God remains God. There will come a final Assize … in God’s time.

  4. I’m perfectly tolerant toward christians. Many of my good friends are Catholic. Half my family, are Catholic. People should be allowed to believe what they want, without Religion crossing over into politics, because when that happens, hatred and intolerance occur.
    I don’t think Christians, can play the “intolerance” card toward anyone else given how hate filled, violent, and evil Christianity has been over the past 2000 years

  5. Jeff says:

    Even if you work from the assumption that God is the highest authority and should be obeyed, you still need to ask the question, who represents God in government? We tried that in our history already. The British monarchy was believed to be God’s divine appointment, but we rebelled against that leader.

    Do we base the actions of government on the Bible, Koran, the Talmud, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Tao-te-ching? If we choose the Bible (as most subscribers to this blog would probably choose) who interprets the Bible and applies it to the twenty-first century?

    Do we choose the religion that has the most public support or the one that the country’s origins were based upon?

    I keep thinking about the Taliban in Afghanistan. That’s an example of where the road of theocracy leads.

    I love asking all of these questions because it is so much easier than providing the answers.

  6. Tim Farley says:

    Jamie:

    I think you have a contradiction when you say you believe all people should be able to practice their religion freely, but religion has no place in the political arena. What do you say to your Catholic friend who shows up on election day to vote according to his/her values, which are shaped by religious beliefs? Or your Muslim friend who wants to run for office? Do they need to somehow discard their personal values (which come from religious convictions) before they are allowed to vote or run for office? If not, religion does impact politics. If so, that is not toleration, but discrimination. You cannot call it “freedom of religion” if people are not actually free to exercise their religion.

    Freedom of religion is not about keeping individuals from voting and participating in politics, even if they do so based upon religious convictions. It is about keeping the organization of the Church, or any one religion, from controlling the State. I too hold to separation of Church and State, as do almost all Christians.

  7. Tim Farley says:

    Jeff:

    Thanks for your comments. They are good ones and not easy to answer quickly. I am not attempting to say that our nation, or any other, should be run by the Church or any other religion. I am trying to show that as Christians, or any other religious group, we hold convictions based upon a higher authority than ourselves. In fact, this higher authority is the source of our basic, inalienable rights. Without a higher authority, there is no argument for inalienable rights. There does not need to be a decision made by the State as to who this higher authority is (i.e. picking an “official” State religion).

    I am simply trying to make the point that all of us religious “nutcases”(Christian or otherwise) have played a valuable role in the shaping of our govenment. If it were not for religious convictions and belief in a higher power, we would not have the Bill of Rights, which guarantee our basic human rights.

    We live in a democracy, not a theocracy, which I believe is appropriate. In a true democracy, everyone, regardless of religious convictions (or lack of), has a place in the political arena. Any attempt to totally keep religion out of politics, which some are advocating, is a violation of our First Amendment rights and unwise as it would eventually lead to the removal of all basic human rights and place all authority in the hands of government or popular opinion. No one wants that.

  8. Jeff says:

    When Thomas Jefferson, who could write a good sound bite, refered to the Creator, I doubt he had any more sincerity than an actor who thanks for God when they recieve an Oscar.

  9. Jon_York says:

    http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html

    Because our founders were Christian we have the greatest nation on earth.

    Someday soon, you might wake up to the call to prayer from a Muslim muezzin. Millions of Europeans already do.

    And liberals will still tell you that “diversity is our strength” — while Talibanic enforcers cruise our cities burning books and barber shops… the Supreme Court decides sharia law doesn’t violate the “separation of church and state” … and the Hollywood Left gives up gay rights in favor of the much safer charms of polygamy.

    If you think this can’t happen, you haven’t been paying attention,As Mark Steyn puts it, “The future belongs to the fecund and the confident. And the Islamists are both, while the West — wedded to a multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivion — is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.”

    Europe, laments Steyn, is almost certainly a goner. The future, if the West has one, belongs to America alone-with maybe its cousins in brave Australia. But America can still survive, prosper, and defend its freedom only if it continues to believe in itself, in the sturdier virtues of self-reliance (not government), in the centrality of family, and in the conviction that our country really is the world’s last best hope….

    I must state it again our strength is in our Christian Faith. This is where our freedoms and liberties are guaranteed.

  10. Kelsey says:

    First of all, I think it takes a lot of nerve to say that the future of the West “belongs to America”, or even that the way of the West is the best way. The West is no more or less moral than the rest of the world, and does not have a monopoly on “Christian values”. To argue that our nation is, or ever has been, a “Christian” one is a stretch, since most of our founding fathers, including Jefferson, were deists who did not believe in the God of the Bible. So I agree that it is appropriate to say that Christians, as well as Americans of all religions, should be allowed to vote according to their values, but it is not correct to make this argument based on “history”.

    Pastor Tim, I definitely agree that our inalienable rights come from God. I also think these rights apply to all people, everywhere, not just to Americans. So it’s a shame that Christians don’t take human rights violations world-wide more seriously. In terms of American politics, however, I think our society has come to accept inalienable rights as simply a part of our political set-up, with or without God. I think it’s seen more as some kind of agreement- we agree that Americans should have Constitutional rights because this is the system we have chosen, so we do have those rights, with or without God. I’m not saying this is right, but I think this is how most Americans see our political set-up. I agree with you for the most part, but the non-Christian majority in America would have a hard time accepting that our rights come from God, and we must therefore honor him with those rights. And while the government alone should not be able to overturn popular opinion all by itself, it must sustain the gay-marriage activits’ right to sue to overturn Prop. 8, just like it sustained the rights of those who sued to overturn the allowence of gay marriage in the first place.

  11. Tim Farley says:

    Kelsey:

    I totally agree that Christians should be involved in making sure the basic rights of humans are not violated, regardless of where they reside. I am under no delusion that this is happening as well as it should be or that spreading the “American way” is the same. Unfortunately, I do believe some American Christians feel the two are the same and that as long as America prospers and fights wars based on protecting human rights, they are doing their part.

    I am not saying that gay-rights groups do not have a right to fight this in court. They absolutely do, as does every person in this country. I wrote this to ask where our authority comes from. For Christians, the answer should be “God.” However, we realize that we are not a part of a Christian nation and that our nation is a democracy, not a theocracy.

    If we are in a true democracy, and I believe we are, then authority come from the will of the people. The government is there to serve the will of the people as long as it does not infringe on basic human rights, which are given by God (no need to determine who this God is). Now, in our last election, the “will of the people” was to turn down a redefinition of marriage. Can the government or courts or other overstep the will of the people? If so, on what authority? The only way to do so is to argue that God-given rights are being infringed upon. The irony is that gay-rights activists want any and all religion and discussion of God removed from the argument! He is their best hope for overturning Prop 8! If we do not have a higher authority than the people to point to, then the will of the people in our country is the final authority. Is that what anyone wants?

    You cannot have inalienable rights and no God at the same time. Even you stated in your comment that these are basically rights because “we have chosen them”, which gives final authority to the people. This also means our inalienable rights actually were given by the will of the people and are able to be taken away (or at least did not always exist). I do not believe this is what the Constitutional framers had in mind when they wrote it, especially when they were dealing with a tyrannical king, whose authority they were not about to submit to. They may not have been Christian (I never said they were), but they were definitely appealing to a higher authority than the king or the collective will of the people.

  12. Jon_York says:

    First of all, I think it takes a lot of nerve to say that the future of the West “belongs to America”, or even that the way of the West is the best way. The West is no more or less moral than the rest of the world, and does not have a monopoly on “Christian values”. To argue that our nation is, or ever has been, a “Christian” one is a stretch, since most of our founding fathers, including Jefferson, were deists who did not believe in the God of the Bible. So I agree that it is appropriate to say that Christians, as well as Americans of all religions, should be allowed to vote according to their values, but it is not correct to make this argument based on “history”.

    This is a reflection of our liberal bias in media and the indoctrination of our public school system “America is the BAD GUY.”

  13. jonyork1958 says:

    I don’t believe it is off topic to discuss what authority American government is based.

    All nations have a theistic or anti-theistic base. India and Hinduism, China and Confucianism, Israel and Judaism, Saud Arabia and Islam, or the former Soviet Union and atheism. The historically literate will see that America was founded upon Christ and His Word.

    But the true source of America’s greatness has been blotted out by the miasmic fog of secularism. Credit is not being given where it is due. From where do the streams of thought, the basic principals of life that make this nation great originate? American liberty, government, economics, education, and it’s general thought can ONLY have come from a Christian philosophy.

    The American government is a republic. In our church; the lay-people are given the right to govern the church. It is not governed from somewhere up above. And freedom has been restored to the church. Politically it is seen in the same way. Christianity has produced America’s republican government.

    The Constitution is government by law and not by men–on the idea that both the citizens and the public officials who represent them must be governed by a fundamental law in keeping with the law of God. James Madison said, “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, but upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

  14. jonyork1958 says:

    The stealth jihadists are laboring to impose upon us —

    a)by taking advantage of political correctness among government and law enforcement officials that keeps them from even speaking about Islamic jihad, much less taking steps to resist it
    b)by demanding, ever more shrilly, the accommodation of Muslim practices in public places, universities, schools, workplaces, and even banking and finance
    c)by smearing and silencing anti-jihad and anti-terror voices in America and worldwide
    by using “hate speech” laws to try to stifle analysis of the elements of Islam that jihadists use to justify violence
    d)by transforming public school textbooks into tracts that proselytize for Islam
    and even by infiltrating the highest levels of the American government.

  15. jonyork1958 says:

  16. aaron says:

    Jon York,

    Please check yourself buddy. You are need ot back you info.

    1. ‘In God we trust” is NOT our nations motto. It was place on our currancy in the 1950’s, not the 1700’s, as part of our governments propaganda campaign against the Russia. Nothing else. Historians back this.

    2. Anything from Aherent.com concerning secularism is out. It like asking an fan of Ohio State University to give an opinion on which school is better, Ohio State or Michigan. Too much bias there.

    3. I see that you are a Muslim since you bring up “inalienable rights”. The genesis of this terms dates back to Islamic law. Yep, even John Locke (not a liberal by any mean) learned it from his professor of Islamix studies and helped incorporated into USA law.

    4. So you simply believe what was written without fact checking? Shame. Many, in their own writings, claimed otherwise. Plus, they were all Freemasons, who were Deists.

    5. If Christianity was some inportant ot our founding fathers, why is there NO mention of if in our Constitution? “Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion,or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    Article VI, Section 3, “. . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    6. Here is what some of our framers said, in thier own words:

    -When asked: Thomas Jefferson made an interpretation of the 1st Amendment to his January 1st, 1802 letter to the Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association calling it a “wall of separation between church and State.”

    -Treaty of Tripoli. In Article 11: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. Signed by President John Adams on June 10, 1797.(wow, today)

    -To the United Baptist Churches in Virginia in May, 1789, Washington said that every man “ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

    -In a letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Question with boldness even the existence of a god.”

    -James Madison (Father of the Constitution). In 1785, wrote in his Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments:

    “During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”

    “What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”

    Please do not trust me, these are all in the library of congress.

    Bottom line, so what. This should not diminish your belief in God, Christ, Christianity or the USA. Thanks to these men, you can practice your faith of choice without the government telling you how to pray.

  17. JonYork1958 says:

    aaron,

    ‘In God We Trust’ IS our Nation’s motto. And isn’t it funny that you start out disqualifying sources because your argument is lame.

    ‘Inalienable rights’ are indeed Christian. If you think Islam holds to this concept you simply don’t know current events.

    All our Founders were NOT Freemasons, you purger yourself, I only go on because others may see this.

    The pilgrims, as were Christians fleeing Europe in order to escape religious persecution, and they literally began their stay in their new land with the words, “In the name of God, Amen.”

    The pilgrims were followed to New England by the Puritans, who created bible-based commonwealths. Those commonwealths practiced the same sort of representative government as their church covenants. Those governmental covenants and compacts numbered more than 100, and were the foundation for our Constitution.

    New Haven (Connecticut) and Massachusetts were founded by Puritans who wanted to reform the Church of England, who later became known as Congregationalists. Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island based on the principle of freedom of conscience. Pennsylvania was established by William Penn as a Quaker colony. Maryland was a haven for Catholics from Protestant England.

    America was indeed founded by bible-believing Christians and based on Christian principles. When they founded this country, the Founding Fathers envisioned a government that would promote and encourage Christianity.

    All but two of the first 108 universities founded in America were Christian. This includes the first, Harvard, where the student handbook listed this as Rule #1: “Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, John 17:3; and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation for our children to follow the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.”

    In 1777. Continental Congress voted to spend $300,000 to purchase bibles which were to be distributed throughout the 13 colonies! And in 1782, the United States Congress declared, “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.

    aaron! I challenge you to look at each State’s Constitution and you will see they are ALL Christian and protect all worship, not just Christian; but only because it is Christian do we enjoy rights given by God.

    There is yet another court case going on up in Fargo, North Dakota over displaying the Ten Commandments. The attack on America’s heritage, our traditions and history is so transparent, Americans are beginning to see through this smoke screen about violating people’s “civil rights” and separation of church and state.

    Anyone who has done the historical homework knows that America is a Christian nation founded upon Christianity and Christianity alone. Atheists and the American Communist Lawyers Union (ACLU) have done their darndest to convince Americans otherwise with their constant propaganda by using repetition of certain phrases, i.e., “separation of church and state,” a concept hallucinated up by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1947. Americans are finally getting fed up with this propaganda and are standing firm for the truth.

    “We find few historians who have been diligent enough in their search for truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they help distribute to the public; by which means a falsehood once received from a famed writer becomes traditional to posterity.” — John Dryden , English Poet, 1631-1700

    If you are homosexual and against prop 8 and wish to marry your buddy you are free to marry because of our Christian heritage … just make sure your ‘buddy is of the opposite sex. This will preserve our society.

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