Updates for Sunday, April 17th [2005]

A Dinner with Natalie & the Parents


Dear Friends,

I am a great defaulter, my friends, in our correspondence, but much keeps my hand away from the computer keyboard and to task. I have spent regular days, almost each day I have available to me, with Ludwig at the downtown library in research of the potential time crisis. We have found little about Phi Beta Kappa, there seem to be few books to find at the library of relevance, and even less about St. George Tucker.

While I pass the time, I spend whatever other free time available with Natalie Cato. It was not last night that I had the most unpleasurable experience of once again meeting her parents, this occassion one of dinner, however, I will share with you some of the disconcerting topics raised.

Me: This is fine roast Mrs. Cato.

Natalie's Mom: Well thank you dear boy.

Natalie's Dad: Natalie, why are you still dating this punk?

Natalie: Dad, be nice. We aren't here for dinner so you can bicker with Thomas again.

Mom: So, uhm, Thomas. Have you heard that we successfully passed the Defense of Marriage Act in Oregon? Natalie's father was one of the top men over at DOMA organizers for Multnomah County.

Dad: Yep, them damn faggots are taking everything over, it was nice to know that the people of Oregon just won't have it.

Me: What is the "Defense of Marriage Act"?

Natalie: Here we go...

Dad: Well son, it prevents fags and queers from getting marriage licenses.

Natalie: Aren't "fag" and "queer" redundant and somewhat insulting terms?

Mom: Don't correct your father, dear.

Me: What is a "marriage license"?

Dad: What? I've never heard such a stupid question.

Me: So the churches make you get a license now?

Mom: The churches? Dear no, the government. After all, you want the marriage to be legal.

Me: I don't understand... when was marriage ever not legal?

Dad: Well, when fags try to get married now, that's not legal. They can get them "civil unions" still. And so be it, just so long as they aren't corrupting the institution of proper marriage.

Natalie: I think what Thomas is asking is about the history of the marriage license, back when racists used them to prevent interracial couples from getting married...

Me: I still don't quite understand... you are supposed to file papers with the government... to get married? Why? That's ridiculous.

Mom: Well hon, you wouldn't want just anyone getting married. Government should have some say after all.

Me: No it shouldn't! Tell me this, what can you do with a "marriage license" that you didn't already have the natural, god-given right to do in the first place?

Dad: Get married, of course.

Me: So would you file papers with the government for permission to go to church, to read your newspapers, to watch your televisions or to speak your mind? The business of marriage is a business between the husband, the wife and god. The state has no part to play. Such "licenses" invite danger. If a politician can convince you to get a license before you can get married, then can't a politician convince you that you need a license for anything? What would you say if there were licenses for you to drive a carriage or one of those automatic carriages, the automobile... how about a license for you to own a gun, or a license for you to fish or hunt?

Dad: Well, they already make you get licenses to do those things.

Mom: Yep, they do.

Natalie: Thomas doesn't know, he comes from outside the U.S. after all.

Dad: Damn immigration.

Me: ...

Natalie: I think you do have a good point though, Thomas.

Dad: A license to do a few things is a good idea.

Me: I could understand a license for port of harbor, or anything to do with crossing the border to do trade, or even a license to use a certain public service. But being married is a holy sacrament that only the church can ordain. Imagine what would happen if a judge had the power to make the choices only god and your heart were meant to make.

Dad: Well that's the purpose of the DOMA son, we got tired of judges handing out marriage licenses to gays. Activist judges ruling like kings on the issue of marriage.

Me: Let me get this straight. You wanted judges to stop making choices for you, so you let legislators make those choices instead? Isn't that contradicting your original principle that the government shouldn't be making these kind of choices for anyone?

Natalie: Okay, well, that's enough of that. Let's try some of this desert here. We got some apple pie, nice pie mom.

Mom: Thank you dear. I think you mean well Thomas but my husband is right about those judges. There are some good people in the courtroom but the other judges bully them around. Take Roy Moore for example.

Dad: Yes, Chief Justice Moore is the only one in the entire judicial system to defend our right to have God by our sides. Judge Moore is a good man.

Me: How so?

Dad: Well, in Alabama they tried to have the ten commandments thrown out of the courtroom.

Me: Makes sense.

Dad: What do you mean "makes sense"? The ten commandments is the foundation of all modern law.

Me: The old laws to come out of Saxony came from pagans, and then English law to develop henceforth has no true origin in Christianity. If we make this claim we might as well say that the Newtonian system of philosophy is a part of the common law, as that the Christian religion is. The truth is that Christianity and Newtonianism being reason and verity itself, in the opinion of all but infidels and Cartesians, they are protected under the wings of the common law from the dominion of other sects, but not erected into dominion over them.

Natalie: Well, I never knew Newton had a thing to do with this, but okay.

Dad: Your idiot boyfriend just lost me completely.

Me: My point being is that it never was nor never would be a crime to write against Christianity, to oppose it, and that it was never the origin of common law the basic precepts of Christianity. The Saxon kings who created such laws would've had to have a time machine to find the days of Christ and take that knowledge back to the world of Pagans, from where our common law was created, for this to be truthful. Too often I have heard judges lay it down in these words, "Christianity is parcel of the common law." But these men quote no authority, resting it on their own, which was good in all cases in which their minds received no bias from their bigotry, superstitions, visions above sorceries, demons, &c. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law - the source of all common law, of England and of then to the United States - because those Saxons were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the modern common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm, though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth, that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law. Take from the silence of those who argue the point, and their only vague understanding of the Christian faith, & it's commandments... equivocations between laws against murder and theft to God's law, as if no other law before it understood the principles of an eye for an eye or tooth for a tooth. The most fundamental of all Christian laws, that no other god may be worshipped before the Christian god, and that no idols may be worshipped in stead of him, are no-where to be found in the common law, and no-where to be found in the courts of any nation but the most obscure. Definitely not this nation. That these most fundamental principles are not a part of the common law, I fail to see why the ten commandments sit in the courtroom over any manifesto or doctrine of any other faith... which we promptly expel for the state should recognize no such faiths, and keep matters of religion distinctly separate.

Dad: Well, then everyone will contradict you then. Even if the ten commandments weren't a part of common law, they should be in the courtroom, freedom of religion after all.

Me: Religion has no freedom to occupy the seat of law, for God's laws and man's laws cannot be equivocated without blasphemy laid before both. Such an establishment of religion has no purpose in the state, and would an activist judge rule from the 14th chapter of Psalms sooner than the 14th Amendment? It has no proper place there.

Natalie: Well, this is fascinating. But I'm done eating and me and Thomas must go.

Mom: Well dear, I hope you and your boyfriend have a safe ride home.

Dad: Good riddance. All that talking about paganry makes me wonder just where Thomas does come from.

Insults aside, the discourse was enlightening. I managed to jostle down a few notes for the future on my way back home. I pray you to accept assurances of my high veneration and esteem for your persons and character.

- TH. Jefferson

Editor's Notes:

Many of the ideas Jefferson had regarding the ten commandments and Christianity's role in government tends towards a general belief that the government itself was not founded on Christianity. Many revisionists like to paint Jefferson as a pro-Christian because of select Christian beliefs and because of the mention of a "creator" in the Declaration, but Jefferson's philosophy is unique and clear, and he has explained it in great detail in years worth of letters and works: he believes that religion is a worthy philosophical inquiry but orthodox religion is not a good basis for society. This should make perfect sense to anyone who believes that a relationship with God should always be a personal one focusing on the truth and personal discovery, as it provides for a government that in no way infringes upon or institutes religious ideas on people. One that doesn't take your tax money to support religious ideas that may not necessarily be yours.

Of course this becomes a greater conflict when government takes on obligations that it shouldn't properly have (for instance, schools). People of great religious devotion feel like they're constricted because they can't exploit positions of power to promote their religion. The issue of the ten commandments in the courtroom is a good one, and anyone who has actually studied Jefferson's beliefs could only come to one conclusion: he would be against the placement of the ten commandments in a government building. Many of the arguments (as usual) in this piece are direct citations from Jefferson's letters, particularly one he wrote to Thomas Cooper in 1814, and then another to Major John Cartwrigt in 1824 help clarify his position with some material backing his view of the history of common law. Jefferson was particularly disgruntled with activist judges promoting the idea of Christianity being the basis of American government, as he believed that idea was flatly incorrect.

This has nothing to do with Christianity itself as a religion, anyone who is religious can keep their religious beliefs and freedom to believe and practice those beliefs intact without a public-paid and sponsored monument to the ten commandments... worship of such monuments amounts to nothing more than idolatry anyways, which itself is a Christian sin the ten commandments outright rejects. A modern secular government should have absolutely no impact on the truly religiously devout. After all, not going to jail or going to jail should have no impact on your status in heaven or hell. A government with few functions (a classically liberal one, like the one Jefferson and select few today promote) would put few government officials in a position of real religious indecision. Nothing that couldn't easily be forgiven in a religion that values itself on forgiveness. Of course, contradictions arise when government starts taking over the business of private citizens. In education, we'd have plenty of school prayer, if the schools were private. Hospitals would have more levity in making decisions based on a patient's religious beliefs if they weren't all government-run and subject to regulation. Freedom of belief is proliferated most when all freedoms are - in a free market setting with a government that does little more than it's official, and in our case, Constitutional obligations.

As for gay marriage, objecting to DOMA laws that "ban" gay marriage is beyond the fundamental point... who says that you need to file a form with the government for your marriage to be legal and proper? The state has no authority to make these decisions for you. I submit that anyone who signs such a paper should be sold into slavery, for they have already forgone their most fundamental freedoms. I do not recognize the validity of the state in anyone's decision on marriage. The state cannot preserve the sanctity of marriage, only churches can. Churches and private citizens would be the best authors of their own marital contracts, and they each can decide on their own what marriage is or isn't, and pass those beliefs on to their children. The more we invite the government to make these decisions for us, the less we even deserve to make these decisions at all.

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