Keep Church Out of… April 18, 2009

Keep Church Out of…

In the debate over gay marriage, I’ve heard a lot of calls to keep the church out of the bedroom. In other words, the church shouldn’t have any control over what you do in the privacy of your bedroom.

Modern Girl says that’s not enough. She wants to keep the church out of all the rooms in her house:

Should the church be in the kitchen?

… Do I want the Catholic church telling me I shouldn’t eat meat on Fridays? No. I think the church should stay out of the kitchen. That’s our private space.

Should the church be in living room?

That’s where we watch our movies and films about sinful things. That’s where we listen to cds about sinful things, and where we entertain company with sinful things like alcohol…I think the church should stay out of the living room. That’s our private space.

Right on. In fact, they should stop invading your personal space wherever you go. As long as you’re not hurting anybody else, do as you please. Don’t let the church interfere.

(via Sinner, Saint, Shiksa)

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  • Ryan

    Wow, its such a simple thing. If the church actually kept to thier own business think about how much better this world would be.

  • Erp

    Well to be exact a church should keep out unless it has been invited in by the individual or individuals in question. A church always has the option of removing from full membership those individuals who refuse to comply with its regulations and the government can’t interfere with that (unless a legal contract is broken).

  • Jason Orlando Hawk

    Is someone really complaining that a religious organization passes out instructions on observing religious holidays, such as Lent?

    You know, stating that religion should have absolutely zero impact on people, including its’ adherents strikes me as slightly extreme.

    I live in a pretty religious area, and there are no horrible social strictures against those who eat meat on Fridays during Lent. It’s a religious observation, not a “forced” activity (even among the Catholic members of my family).

    I think Erp said it well: if an individual wants to invite the church to be part of their life, then it’s acceptable. Extending control to those who don’t adhere to that religion is where things get bad.

  • Jason, I don’t think that was her point. What she’s saying is if you’re not the member of that religion, it doesn’t make sense if they try to force their other beliefs on you regulating your life. I’m not Catholic, so I shouldn’t be forced to not eat meat on Friday. Most people see this as reasonable. She’s just using an analogy to show why it should extend to the bedroom as well – that religious beliefs shouldn’t be able to regulate who can sleep with or love who.

  • The proper place for churches is in the after-life. This life should be church-free.

    Perhaps a deal is in the works. We grant the religious the infinite span of eternity if they grant us freedom (from them) in the here and now.

    Sounds like a good deal for us. If the religious really believed in an afterlife, it would be a good deal for them too.

  • Kiera

    Well to be exact a church should keep out unless it has been invited in by the individual or individuals in question.

    @ Erp: So the church is like a vampire? 🙂

  • Well, at least we can find meat on Fridays. I am still bothered by the fact that due to religion, I can’t do certain things on Sundays, like buy a car or postage stamps.

    Or, that I am forced to observe religious holidays – it’s impossible to escape, for example, Christmas.

  • Luther Weeks

    Do I want the Catholic church telling me I shouldn’t eat meat on Fridays? No. I think the church should stay out of the kitchen. That’s our private space.

    As a Vegetarian I keep the church out my Kitchen all the time because I’m not OK eating meat on Saturday thru Thursday as well.

  • I’m confused. Has the church been in her kitchen, or her living room?

    I don’t know where she lives, but I’m not personally aware of any places here in the US where Catholic dietary disciplines are enforced by the government. Neither am I aware of any places where there are laws about what movies you can watch or music you can listen to in your own living room. (Though I suppose there might be – please correct me if I’m wrong.) And as far as I know, it’s been a long, long time since prohibition has been in effect.

    So I’m not really sure what her point is. Some churches are trying to pass laws about what goes on in the “bedroom”, and that’s definitely a bad thing, but I don’t know any that are actively trying to implement laws regarding any of those other issues.

    And if she’s upset about the church encouraging its own members to follow certain practices in those areas, well it’s each Christian’s right to live according to their own values, and I don’t see how its really any of her concern what they choose to do in the privacy of their own homes.

  • Oh, I just noticed that she seems to be from Canada. Are these things issues up there? That would be rather surprising.

  • Lexi

    Maybe I’m wrong on this, but I think the church does sort of get first dibs on marriage. That being said, if we took church out of it, no one would get married by the state, just civil unions, gay and straight ppl alike.

    If you wanted to be married in the eyes of god, your private church would have to do it. Which means, if there was a church that was gay friendly, they’d be able to get married in that church. And marriage would not confer any changes in how to relate to people.

    So if people wanted to be married in the eyes of god, great find a church that will do it. If people want to be married in a way that gets them the same rights that getting married in the eyes of the state currently gets you, called that something else, but not marriage. That would be true separation of church and state.

  • The church can keep out of my garden too. I’m trying to get a fig tree to grow.

  • I totally disagree with Modern Girl. I am a Muslim and I want Islam in every room of my house. I think one reason for our difference in perspective is that Islam in America is free from a rigid institutional hierarchy unlike Catholicism. But I have no problem with Allah telling me who to marry, what to eat,or what to wear.

  • I totally agree Lexi. What you’ve suggested is something I’ve been arguing for for a long time. Though I would think that it wouldn’t have to be just churches that could marry. Cultural or social groups could define marriage their way too. Either way though, I think the State should stick to legal contracts like civil unions and stay out of the marriage business altogether.

  • Flawedprefect

    Hahahaha! After I found Jesus (he was behind the couch the whole time) I donated him to the local St Vincent-De-Paul’s. I thought he should not even have dominion over the under-the-couch dust-motes.

  • Richard Wade

    It was the church in the billiard room with the candlestick!

    There’s only one kind of room out of which we need to keep the church, and that is the halls of government. Without that, they cannot force their will into any other rooms, including bedrooms, kitchens, public schoolrooms, doctor’s offices or research laboratories.

  • Wow, I totally did expect to get mentioned on Friendly Atheist. Thank you all for the comments, I’ll try to clear up a few things:

    Asad – I believe you have the right to invite Islam into your home, and I am happy for you. What I mean is that there are people who don’t want religion in their homes (Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, whatever) yet their society and tries to make them live more religiously than they would like.

    Canada is not trying to make people eat fish on Fridays, don’t worry. But when my mom was growing up, she wouldn’t eat meat on Fridays for fear that the nuns would find out. She’s a nonbeliever now, yet she’s still afriad to take down the Holy Water dish in our front hall.

  • Con’t

    And a more extreme example would be the Jewish families using peer pressure to make a Jewish family keep kosher. In tight-knit Jewish communities, it does happen.

    An evangelical friend told me that his parents used to censor all the tv and movies he would watch (think Flanders blocking all the channels on Rod and Todd) but not because it was against parenting practices – it was because the church said to.

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