From the paper


. . . The question to ask is whose belief should be enshrined
in civil law? Ted Haggard’s or Barack Obama’s? The answer
is simple.  Neither.  Why?  Because “the law knows no
heresy, and is committed to the support of no dogma, the
establishment of no sect.”  Justice Samuel Miller, 1872,
Watson v Jones (Gaustad 1999: 44).


Conclusion

In the matter of gay marriage, the question, for a
democracy, is not “What is right?” but rather, “Who should
determine what is right: the church, the state, or the
individual?”  

Today’s Evangelicals are bringing the wrong question to the
public square.  Evangelicals are addressing the question,
“What is right?” When Robert Gagnon says “for any given
homosexual person hope exists for forming a heterosexual
union” – that directive addresses the question “What is
right?” and belongs in the pulpit not in the capital. (Myers &
Scanzoni 2005: 126.)

It is the Baptists who have historically brought the right
question to the public square.  And so it must be now.   In
the matter of gay marriage, the question is, “Who should
determine what is right:  the church, the state, or the
individual?”   The historical Baptist answer is the individual
and therefore the state must defend liberty of conscience.

Why the individual?  Because gay marriage “does not
interfere with the rights of conscience.”  That means, my
right to a gay marriage does not interfere with your right to
refrain from a gay marriage.  So then, gay marriage
compels no individual, whereas a ban on gay marriage is
“compulsory heterosexuality” (Eskridge 1996: 143), and in
the words of 17th century English Baptist John Murton:  
“The foulest of crimes is to force people’s bodies to a
worship whereunto they cannot bring their spirits.”

Finally, (1) gay marriage, to use the words of Justice
Samuel Miller,  “does not violate the [civil] laws of morality
and property” (Gaustad 1991: 44).  (2) Same-sex civil union
in place of gay marriage is an expression of intolerance,
discrimination and oppression. And (3) according to Ted
Jelen, professor of political science at the University of
Nevada at Las Vegas, “Identification of religious principles
with political values can be considered a violation of the
First Commandment as well as the First Amendment.”  
(Jelen 2000: 94).

Gay Marriage and Baptist Doctrine:  
A Civil Question to Be Left to the Individual?
This is an
Other Sheep
website
Counter
Visits to this web page since Nov. 2006
 
 
 
 

The paper was delivered on
November 15, 2006, in the
Lincoln Room West of the
Washington Hilton Hotel,
at 2:30 PM
under the title:
This is an
Other Sheep
website
 

Click here for the Full
Paper as Presented at
ETS, 2006

Click here for the Full
Paper as Presented at
ETS, 2006
Go to NJ Marriage
Equality - "
So,
Who's Getting
Married in NJ?"
"They tore him [Steve Parelli] apart.  Baptist historians rose and
denounced his methodology."
--John Marks, Reasons to Believe, c2008, page 362.  For a decade, Marks wrote for
U.S. News & World Report
, after which he became a producer for 60 Minutes.
Read the first-hand
account of the delivery
of the paper as
reported by a
professional journalist
...go to another web page