Monday, January 8, 2007

Gay Chess II: Tax Breaks for Church Goers

Someone raised an argument against my Gay Chess post with the following example. “The government then makes a law stating that they believe, that church going is advantageous for society and gives tax breaks and the ilk for church goers. They go on to further state that those who do not attend church, or attend any other type of religious centers, are disadvantageous for society and place higher taxes on them.” Church going is an action so therefore it should not fall under the category of being and the government should be allowed to promote or prohibit it as it will.
My response to this would be that it would perfectly fine for the government to do this as long as it can convince five Supreme Court justices that they are not conspiring to create an established religion. The only way that I can see this happening is if the government would give the same privileges to people attending synagogues, mosques and even to secular humanists who gather together to contemplate the wonders of nature. This would not apply to issues of marriage because here the government can offer plausible explanations for why they wish to give special privileges to men and women who marry each other and not to men who marry men or women who marry women which do not involve government conspiracies to create an established religion. The government could argue that they wish to promote male/female relationships because such relationships bring about children. The fact that there are many male/female couples who cannot or will not produce children is not real issue because the government could say that they are promoting male/female relationships in general and since they are doing that they are willing to include those male/female relationships which will not produce the results that the government desires. The government could also argue that they are interested in promoting male/female relationships because there is a long history of those relationships being useful for the promotion of societal stability.
It should also be stated here that religion and even religious actions are in their own category, which gives them special protections and imposes special restrictions. The government offers me special protections when I wish to not work on Saturday and go to synagogue. Those special protections do not apply when I wish to not work on BCS championship day and go to Arizona to watch the Buckeyes. On the other hand there are fewer legal issues at hand if the Ohio State legislature wished to have a special session to watch BCS championship game on the floor of the house then if they wished to host a special session so that the bible could be read on the floor.

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