Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is Nothing Sacred?

Thinking about the defeat of gay marriage in Maryland which came at the hands of Republicans and African-American Democrats(something we'll discuss later in the week). But the line from those seeking to make sure that an oppressed minority of tax-paying American citizens are denied their rights under the law argue that this injustice must stand because "marriage is sacred."

By the word sacred, they do not only mean blessed by God, they mean that which is beyond question, beyond reproach, whose contrary is not to be considered a live option. If something is sacred, it is not to be messed with or joked about, but defended and revered. Mere consideration of any other way is to be subversive.

Clearly, marriage is not sacred. We've changed its definition before for perfectly good moral reasons and we can, and will eventually, do it again for moral reasons. But is there anything -- and it need not have anything to do with religion -- that we do consider sacred? Is there any practice or institution that we put outside of the realm of critical scrutiny?

Is the two party system sacred? It is hard to start a conversation about it without getting labeled a weirdo. What about corporate capitalism? Women's rights? Is that question closed? A minimum wage? Can't include the right to vote? We have problem stripping that from felons for life.

What is it in contemporary society that is part of the paradigm, that is beyond the ability to be challenged? What do we hold sacred?