Essay on A Critique of Sacred or Civil Right by Howard Moody

Essay on A Critique of Sacred or Civil Right by Howard Moody

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In his article “Sacred Rite or Civil Right?” Howard Moody tackles the controversial issue of the definition of marriage and inclusion of same-sex marriage into that definition. The real issue that takes center stage is the not so clear separation between the church and the state. Moody, an ordained Baptist minister, shares his belief that it’s only a matter of time that civil law is once again redefined and homosexual marriage is recognized just as much as heterosexual marriage. The gay marriage debate he suggests isn’t focused on the relationship between such couples and is more about how to define such unions as a “marriage”. (353)
Moody introduces his writing by pointing out the religious oppositions of same-sex marriage is anything but clear cut. With the infinite number of different religions there’s no one set of traditions in scriptures that can define the true meaning of marriage. Many homosexual couples are too often “barred from certain sacraments in the church of their choice.”(354) This makes same-sex marriages almost impossible unless clergy men are willing to defy their own church bans by performing such ceremonies. On the other hand, the states interest in marriage is that of the legal definition. The government Moody explains doesn’t care about the fact that two people are in love and wanting to commit to each other.
Moody gives a very insightful look into the common line crossings of church and state on the issues of gay marriage. Having the credentials of a clergy member and of someone who writes and lectures often on subjects of ethics and social policy, Moody evokes trust in his

opinion. Using multiple examples from his background provides us with a sense of understanding of the complications of both rel...

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...s. While this will not please all, I believe it would please majority and that would result in a more peaceful and harmonious structure to unions of marriage.
If the line is clearly drawn in the sand between church and state it will ultimately be for the betterment of many. Members of the clergy will no longer fear the repercussions of performing marriages for the select homosexual couples who wish to be joined in their church of their choosing. Moody states one catholic priest said: “We can bless a dog, we can bless a boat, but we can’t say a prayer over two people who love each other.” (355) The sacrament of marriage will forever be a topic not everyone can agree upon but as history proves change is inevitability a spoke on a wheel that will constantly be moving forward.

Works Cited
Moody, Howard. “Sacred Rite or Civil Right?” the Nation 5 July 2004. Print.

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