John W. Burgeson (73531.1501@compuserve.com)
25 Jul 96 16:13:19 EDT

John Miller writes, in part: "I fail to see any logic in society trying to meet
the legitmate needs of
those non-sexual families by legislating marriage to encompass such voluntary
associations. Can't those legitimate needs be met by the affected people taking
action by notifying... medical care-givers who their appointed "next-of-kin"
shall be? Can't issues of inheritance be met with existing legal documents...?
Dying intestate is not the fault of society...Tax status is different, but it is
not obvious to me that two single people living together as a household should
necessarily qualify for the same tax privileges as spouses who are likely to
generate offspring,,, We've all probably been "victimized" one way or
another--or eventually will be--by a denial of what most folks expect as a
natural right. (Try turning 65 if you doubt that.)"

I think these are reasonable question, John. I don't pretend to know answers to
all of them.

John continues, "The key question isn't whether society is denying anyone some
rights, but how are those folks reacting. They can become activitists and raise
a hue and cry hoping the rest of society hears, agrees, and can afford to take
legislative action. Or they can take control of their own lives and work
around the artificial impediments in the way of their goals."

I'll agree this is a "question," but it's hardly the "key" one. Without
activists, some folks in the
country would still be sitting in the back of the bus! (Yea to Rosa Parks,
certainly an activist, though she did not start out to be one!) Of course, many
activists are crude, vulgar, obnoxious. Too bad. That's how my wife & I were
characterized, back in 1964, when we were threatened with harm to our 5 year old
boy, walking to school, if we did not "immediately stop" having folks of a
different skin color in our home for dinner! (a Cleveland, Ohio, suburb, BTW).
When we went so far, ten years later, to ADOPT children of a different skin
color, well, that's another story; I won't bore you.

But the world need activists. You write, "The former course of action (activsim)
inevitably leads to increased cost of government and more intrustion into human
affairs. The latter course leads to stronger, more self-reliant people who, in
the course of managing their own affairs, often bring about gradual changes in
society outside of the legislative process."

Sorry. Increased cost of government. Sure. More intrusion (by the government).
Agreed. But the latter
course does not do much without the former. Your point is valid, however; both
are needed.

You write: "This is not to deny the benefits of legislation. To me, legislation
happens to be the last resort for major issues that just cannot be ethically or
morally tolerated. Legislation should not be the first appeal
for every injustice, which after all, exists first in the eye of the beholder."


Finally, you write: "These are more political than theological issues and I
question whether
such "rights" issues are appropriate for this reflector. On the other hand, I
agree that our Christianity should indeed be coupled to what is going on in
society. But how does this relate to science and Christianity?
Maybe there's another forum where this thread could be more at home."

1. I think the ASA reflector IS an appropriate place for this discussion, for it
brings together people with a common committment to Jesus Christ and also a
sense of how logic & data might be used in the discussion. Absent those two
characteristics, discussions like this degenerate.

2. On Compuserve, where I serve as a SYSOP (unpaid volunteer) in the Religious
Issues forum, issues like this are debated continuously. Unfortunately, point #1
(above) applies; 70% of the discussions (my estimate) don't appear to advance
any understanding on the part of any participant. There are exceptions to this,
one of the reasons I stick around!

Appreciate your comments, John. BTW, I "turn 65" in just three weeks. Waht
do I have to look forward to?