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Church of the state

Slacktivist is a daily read, home to some of the most thoughtful writing around, and today’s post on marriage is no exception. It raises the difference between marriage as a legal bond from marriage as a religious sacrament:

When these two, distinct ideas are confused or conflated we encounter the same problems that arise whenever we fail to keep church and state separate. That failure is bad for the state and disastrous for the church and for whoever does not subscribe with patriotic devotion and devout patriotism to whatever becomes the official civil religion.

Forecasts differ on whether this will be a productive campaign issue for anybody, left or right. What seems clear, however, is that to the extent it’s an issue at all, it will be a conflation of civil and religious notions, especially as 1) the right continues its rhetoric about activist liberal judges; 2) conservatives push for yet more codification (even constitutional amendments) of religious marriage in civil law; and 3) conservatives continue to obsess over teh sex.