Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dobson Does Something Right

I'm not normally a fan of James Dobson and his political machinations. He's generally too old guard for me. But a bill he is supporting in Colorado is actually pretty good:
A controversial bill under consideration in the Colorado Legislature, which is supported by Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family Action, would facilitate certain contractual obligations or legal arrangements for any two "unmarried persons who are excluded from entering into a valid marriage under the marriage laws of this state."
Meaning that this law can be used to streamline gay couples sharing parental rights or other legal arrangements. It could also be used by close family members and other groups. Joe Carter has this to say:
Some conservatives and libertarians may see no need for the government to expand the definition of civil unions in any manner. But the political reality is that the change is inevitable. The issue is no longer when civil unions will be recognized but what form they will take. (The Colorado bill is competing with a domestic partnership proposal from Democratic lawmakers.) By desexualizing the issue we preserve the government’s purpose (a social institution that brings stability to our society) without endorsing behavior that many of us consider immoral.
Exactly. I'm not fan of homosexuality in general or gay marriage in particular. But gay couples are adopting and raising children. I'm not insensitive to the problems this creates. If we don't react in a way that allows both Christians and homosexuals some flexibility, then we are likely to get something that has no flexibility shoved down our throats.

There are essentially two models of Christian involvement in government. The first is to embrace big government and use it to try to foster or even impose godly behavior on the governed. In short, turn the gigantic government machine that the liberals built against them. It is tempting, but it isn't biblical. In Corinthians, Paul says that you can't expect or require that non-Christians behave like Christians. Without the Holy Spirit to do so is little more than tyranny. I am many things, but not a tyrant.

I believe we need to embrace a form of limited civil government where people may do what they like contractually, but where the government and the legal system cannot impose support for behavior that citizens consider immoral. We need to dismantle the monster liberals have built and bring many social issues out of the halls of government and back into the public square where they really belong.

UPDATE: A response to some comments:
You want limited government but only if it agrees with your moral compass.
No what I want is a government limited so that it cannot force me to act against my own moral compass. I really don't care if gay people want to get married. I do care if I am forced to support their lifestyle with my taxes, etc.

Maybe they don't want to support my lifestyle either. If that means some things I want don't get government or contractually supported because other people have problems with them, then I'm fine with that. I'm more than willing to support them myself with my non-tax dollars, especially when limited government means I will have more non-tax dollars I can use to support those charities.
What Problem does adopting children create exactly? What is getting shoved down your throats? What flexibility do Christians need from the government?
Adopting children causes huge parent/guardianship problems for gay couples. Often only one member of the couple can be listed as a parent or guardian. If that one dies, the child's other parent may be in a custody battle with their deceased partner's family for the child. It happens, it sucks, and I sympathize. Also, a civil union or marriage would probably make it a lot easier for gay couples to get health benefits and the like from people who have no moral problems with homosexuality. This is also useful for raising kids.

On the other hand if gay marriage is considered marriage, there is no option to deny gay couples coverage on moral grounds. The civil institution of marriage is a pre-existing legal construct with pre-existing contractual issues. If no differentiation is made, then all those pre-existing issues can be rammed down the throat of conscientous moral objectors in a court of law.

On the other hand if gay marriage is legally different than straight marriage, then it has to be re-legislated by the states and feds. Gay marriage can't just piggy-back on the immense body of pre-existing legislation. You can't use gay marriage to force people to do what they want. The difference is that if gay marriage is a "civil union" then a Christian healthcare provider (and there are several) can say "No we don't cover you, but try Blue Cross" instead of being told "You cannot deny me coverage by state law."

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