My Rites Have Rights

Today I write of rites and rights. This phonetic pun is meant to catch your attention with a little pithy fun but there is an underlying truth that we must explore. It would seem that in this age we have sacrificed the right to rites in obeisance to the rite of rights. I’ll explain why I’m right.

In last week’s column, we examined the anti-miscegenation laws and eugenics which are the tap root to flower of the Marriage License. While the marriage license is manifestation of deep seeded racism within certain political circles, it also shows that government has no business in the business of personal choice. Specifically, should government decide who should and shouldn’t get married and should it have the power to punish those who disagree with its decisions?

Anti-miscegenation laws were abolished to stop those who were using the power of government to implement their eugenic beliefs that blacks were an inferior race and should not enter into marriage with whites, which eugenic experts held as the purest highest race. Still, every culture has traditions and rites passed down to this day that encourage children to marry within their race. Should government make it their business to encourage “sensible” modifications to these cultural rites?

A person’s choice to adhere to a ritual or belief, beyond the pall of physical coercion or violence, is their choice and according to the constitution cannot be infringed upon. Until this new age, we as a people refused to violate the rituals of other cultures present here in our melting pot, no matter how disagreeable, distasteful, or confusing they seemed, unless it could be proven coercion by force was in play. This steadfast adherence to freedom passed down from our Founders was the beacon to all who came to hope that they could live and practice their faith and culture without reprisal in their daily lives.

Our Founders were not so far removed from the exodus of many fleeing religious persecutions from the different countries of Europe and England. It should be noted that these religions had been told by their governments that their faiths could not be practiced in public or in their workplace. Some were punished for preaching sermons which government found intolerable and inappropriate to be voiced from a public pulpit. There was a state religion which government demanded be the template for all others.

So many of these groups through various means secured charters to flee to a world where they could worship and live their lives in freedom the they way they chose. These early settlers could not flourish under the “keep your beliefs in your own four walls” of the old world which is so prevalent now in the aging Democrat Party and the New Republican Party. This penal form of “freedom” is a study in contradiction. It amounts to nothing more than sentence of confinement by an over bearing government. Freedom is not freedom unless you are free wherever you may be.

But times bring changes. Recent polls and trends among the Nation’s youth, especially college students, have revealed a disturbing trend of beliefs that freedoms apply only to certain people or groups. That government is best suited to decide which belief systems are deserving of constitutional liberties is an argument that in years past would have been disregarded as barbaric and dangerous in light of world history, but in the surreal light of the imploding Republic, the generations of our tomorrow have embraced these seeds left from the shadows of fascism in dream of a new tomorrow. Sadly, as a wise man once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

Many are now content to let government be the purveyor of morality. It is in style now to persecute Christians and their “intolerant beliefs”. The calls for the elimination of the First Amendment for those with unsanctioned beliefs comes from the shortsightedness of those who believe what is “en vogue” now will remain so without change or a shift of the pendulum.

The hammer of government has returned and all sides are intent on gaining control of it to advance their belief system with no care for the danger signs history has left for us. It is evident that some feel that shouting loud enough so that opposing views are silenced is preferable to debate and that a tantrum is sufficient argument for getting what they want. Short term satisfaction is of paramount importance and long term repercussions be damned.

We have burned the platform of civil debate to the ground while the structure in the marriage debate that needs to be burned is the bridge of the marriage license. It is through this structure that government has attacked and trampled the freedoms of those whose marital and religious rites it finds unpalatable. Some are thrilled to destroy those who hold unsanctioned beliefs while others are incredulous to find that there are some whose god is not mammon and really is…well…God.

The new modern rite of our society is to pursue rights as a validation for all behavior and lifestyle choices. It is the new religion and government is its god. All these beliefs have savaged each other  in a quest for a marriage license, a government overreach steeped in racism and government eugenics. If these truly seek the attainment of right and not the destruction of their fellow Americans rights, there needs to be cessation of the trampling of the right to rites.

These questions remain: Can these competing views on marriage return to the platform of civil debate without trampling certain unalienable rights? How can we allow all lives to live  in freedom in our every day exercise with a pattern of decency and deference to our fellow man? It is time to right a wrong and abolish the marriage license. This is the answer.

Racism, Eugenics, and the Marriage License

I do remember my wedding day. I remember how beautiful my wife looked walking down that aisle towards me, and, yes, I cried. My parents had not been remiss in their duties to instill in me a full knowledge of the gravity and sacred responsibility for this new voyage my wife and I were about embark upon and as a result, I was scared to death. I also remember the moment my bride and I walked to a decorated little podium and there signed our marriage license just like many other couples have done countless times in our Nation, but knowing what I know now, I would have never consented to having that moment in our ceremony.

The marriage license is a dark and horrible over-reach from government with its roots in racism and the eugenics movement. Its genesis comes from the anti-miscegenation laws, which were brought over from England. Such laws prevented intermarriage between races in an effort to maintain racial purity.

These types of laws were more often used to target the intermarriage between whites and blacks than any other as blacks were the prime target of eugenic scientists and believers, who were convinced negro blood was inferior and weakened the human race. This horrible belief system fomented in our society until culminating with Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

Until the 1920’s, the concept of a marriage license was non-existent. Simply put, the marriage license was created to prevent whites from marrying blacks. Government agents were gatekeepers or agents to prevent the intermingling of “dysgenic unions” by which “the superior groups (whites) risks polluting their germ plasms with inferior hereditary traits.”

Lothrop Stoddard, a lawyer and eugenics expert, speaking in support of the Virginia Racial Integrity Act in 1924 before the Virginia legislature said this, “White race purity is the cornerstone of our civilization. Its mongrelization with non-white blood, particularly with Negro blood, would spell the downfall of our civilization. This is a matter of both national and racial life and death, and no efforts would be spared to guard against the greatest of all perils-the perils of miscegenation.”

The Virginia Racial Integrity Act would be the law overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia. Still there was another eugenics influence that found its manifestation in the marriage license, the required blood test. This was done to establish whether there was enough percentage of “impure” blood in the person to constitute them as black. The ratio would vary from state to state. Amazingly enough, some states still require a blood test, although the claim is that it is now to test for sexual disease.

So what is your point many may ask? In my faith, it is our belief that my marriage to my wife is a sacred covenant between us, bound before and by God Almighty. Many religions have similar sacraments. Others view marriage devoid of religious sacrament but a necessary fundamental structure to the building of a society. Some, especially as of late, view marriage as a right to be obtained as an expression of equality.

Each of these views has merit for some, while others may hold strong reasons to contend against the establishment of said beliefs. All point to the Constitution as the validation for their marriage rite. The bridge by which all these contending beliefs attack each other seems to be the Marriage License.

As an activist who has vigorously defended the rites of traditional marriage and a railed against the acceptance of gay marriage, I present this proposition. Could the growing cries for the abolition of the marriage license be the solution by which we all can live peaceably and not have our rights trampled by our rites? The very existence of the many and varied marriage traditions should be an indication that the governmental one size fits all approach does not work.

And why do we need governmental approval to marry in the first place? Should a couple wish to marry and covenant before God and their church, let them within the rituals of their faith. If a couple prefers their marriage be simply a legal document witnessed by friends, let them. If a couple wishes to have a document with a government approval, let them, but let’s do away with this horrible concept of government control on who can and cannot marry and thereby providing the vehicle by which groups from all sides can attack others all in the name of love’s rights and rites.

It really comes down to whom or what do you believe your God is? Whom do you honor? If your beliefs do not perpetrate violence upon your fellow citizens, our Constitution declares you are entitled to them, anywhere.

Have I changed my beliefs on marriage? No. Do I still believe the abandonment of our traditional marriage structure will have and has had dire societal repercussions? Yes. Are there many that disagree with me? Obviously.

As of late, I am convinced that there are factions on the many sides of this divide that prefer the argument rather than the solution. They relish the utilization of the hammer of government to target and eliminate their opponents. From targeting a florist for her religious beliefs to Christians abandoning their religious beliefs to hate the “sinner” rather than the “sin”, we have forgotten the value of live and let live. In the marriage debate as I see it, we will never see the merit of the arguments come to fruition peacefully unless we abolish the marriage license.