I’ve seen some excellent posts over the past couple of weeks since the Supreme Court ruled Yes to same-sex marriage. I have also seen posts where people have talked about their religious beliefs and how these beliefs mean they do not agree with the ruling or the fact that same sex marriage is legal in the USA now.
I’m been ruminating on this some over the past few days and here is my bottom line. We cannot allow the religious beliefs of one (or of many) to = the human law all of us have to abide by and the human rights we should all be entitled to. Because if we do that for any one religion, we might have to do that for all religions.
I don’t know how many Christians want to eventually live under Sharia Law, allowing their daughters to be married off from the age of 9 to *much* older men.. in fact this event has already occurred right here in Australia. Just last Friday a father was sentenced – NSW father found guilty of procuring 12yo daughter as ‘child bride’ is sentenced to six years in jail – and I suspect this is likely occurring quite often here though it will not often be discovered.
So before you want your religious beliefs to become the law of the land..
Take a moment to think – do you want someone elses religious beliefs to become law?
I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion and to their beliefs, religious or otherwise. I also believe that everyone has some basic rights which we should all be entitled to. Those basic rights should include the right for children to have a childhood and an education and to not be married off to older guys because their parents say so and because that is how things are done within their religion.
I believe that nobody should be allowed to impose their religious beliefs on other people who do not hold those same beliefs, and I want to give a very clear – but quite fake – example to try and illustrate this.
My Fake Example
So, let us imagine that there is a large colony of people living in Antarctica. We will call them the Ticans. These people have their own religion which is not well known outside of their country. It relies on a holy book written thousands of years ago. One of the laws of this religion is that you cannot eat beetroot – not cooked, not raw, not any form of beetroot, nor can you eat food that is prepared in the presence of beetroot or in the same room as beetroot.
So, unfortunately for the Ticans, global warming has made it almost impossible to continue living where they presently live. As the closest continent, Australia extends an invitation to all 200,000 Ticans to become Australian citizens. They offer to house the Ticans in Tasmania as it is closest in climate to Antarctica. Because Tasmania has a population of just over half a million people, this is a significant addition to the population.
When they arrive in Australia, they are horrified to find that Beetroot is on the menu. And not just occasionally, but regularly, in all kinds of locations. Fast food places like Mcdonalds and Subway serve beetroot. Beetroot is even found on hamburgers and in sandwiches. The Ticans are horrified!
Business owners in Tasmania discover that the reason Ticans are not visiting their establishments is because of the beetroot. Some of them choose to become “beetroot free” – as in, they remove beetroot from the menu entirely, to try and seek the business of the Ticans. Now the Tasmanians who love beetroot are outraged. How dare these Tican people change the Tasmanian food culture due to their religious beliefs?
Who is in the right here? Would it be ok for the religious beliefs of the few to change how things are done for the entire population?
Perhaps Not So Fake?
While the example I provide here is fake, unfortunately this kind of situation is also something that has happened in Australia. Some KFC outlets removed Bacon from the menu. Halal certification is a huge thing in our country now, and there is even a movement to boycott Halal products.
So why on earth should the people of Australia have to change their menu to suit any religion? At the time of the 2011 census, only 476,000 Australians (representing 2.2 percent of the population) reported Islam as their religion. That is a tiny percentage of people.
Should anyones religious beliefs about pork over-ride the rights of Australians who do not hold those same beliefs and simply want to have bacon on their burger?
Why would anyone expect that their religious beliefs should always = the law of the land?
My parents have been together for over 40 years now. They are married, which means they have full legal rights. If one of them were to become ill, my other parent would be in the best place to know what their marriage partner wants as far as things like life support, organ donation, etc.
That is the reason why I am happy for same sex couples in the USA – that they now have access to those same rights as my parents do. That once they are married, they will never again be locked out of the health decisions of their long term partner, that they will be able to attend the funerals of their loved ones. Now, we just need to make this happen in Australia, too.
Why should heterosexual couples be the only people entitled to those legal rights? Because a book says so? That book says a lot of things that people have decided are outdated and no longer apply.
Over to you
When the “holy book” of a religion is interpreted to mean that children can be married from the age of 9 upwards, shouldn’t we be absolutely horrified by that? Shouldn’t we be utterly determined as human beings to make sure that no such “holy book” can determine the laws of our lands?