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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Influence of Christian Religious Beliefs on Secular Law



Introduction

     The use of the Bible, by mostly Christians, as the primary-source for the moral foundation of society was the main contributing factor in the argument against interracial-marriage. An examination of the role that Christian religious-beliefs played in the debate against interracial-marriage will reveal a correlation between the argument against interracial-marriage and the argument against same-sex marriage today. The conflict regarding same-sex marriage is similar to that of interracial-marriage because those who oppose same-sex marriage often repeat those arguments that were used to oppose interracial marriage.

The Bible as Moral Foundation

     Until recently, the Christian Bible has been the primary-source for the moral foundation of American law, society and politics. Many of our founding fathers made statements referring to the Constitution as being built upon religious principles. According to John Adams, “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  As a Christian himself, we can infer that Adams was referring to the Christian religion in his statement.  In addition according to Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, the Bible “is the rock on which our republic rests.”
  
The Argument Against Same Sex Marriage

     The argument against same-sex marriage is similar to the argument against interracial marriage. In 1883, a judge in Missouri ruled against interracial marriage stating that "It is stated as a well authenticated fact that if the [children] of a black man and white woman, and a white man and a black woman intermarry, they cannot possibly have any progeny, and such a fact sufficiently justifies those laws which forbid the intermarriage of blacks and whites."  This idea that the children of Caucasians and African-Americans cannot produce children of their own together has it origins in the biblical decree found in Leviticus 19:19 in which God forbids the crossbreeding of livestock.  The same sentiment echoes the argument made by many opponents of same-sex marriage who believe that because members of the same-sex cannot breed children together that they should not be allowed to marry.

     The belief that God separated the races is similar, if not identical, to the belief that God separated the sexes when he created Adam and Eve. In 1958, Judge Leon M. Bazile upheld the ban on interracial marriage on the basis that "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." In like fashion, and perhaps the most often cited argument against same-sex marriage, however, goes “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” For this reason, Christians have long lobbied for a definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, thereby denying marriage to same-sex couples.

Conclusion

     The Constitution of the United States of America was largely based on the religious beliefs of our founding fathers, who were Christian. For this reason, the Christian Bible has long been the moral foundation on which our society’s laws have been built as well as the yard-stick by which proposed changes to the law have been measured. The arguments against same-sex marriage mirrors the arguments once used to oppose interracial-marriage both of which were opposed on the basis of the religious beliefs of those who write, enact, and enforce the laws of the land.


Works Cited

 Primary Sources

1.      Bibowen. “Law, Morality, and the Bible.” HubPages. June 08, 2012 http://bibowen.hubpages.com/hub/laws-morals-bible
2.      American Love Stories . Saturday, June 08, 2013 http://www.pbs.org/weblab/lovestories/digdeeper/pressinfo6.shtml

Secondary Sources

3.      Marriage Equality USA. “Marriage- An Evolving Institution” June 08, 2012  http://www.marriageequality.org/historical-look


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