Monday, January 30, 2006

A hypothetical

In reply to this post about the gay man who lost the ranch he shared with his partner for twenty-two years after his partner died, Unintentional Blogger (who just happens to be my brother) replied that the fact that the will was not done legally has some bearing on the issue. Okay, this is true, but is it what really matters?

This got me to thinking, so I hope you'll forgive me, bro, but I'm going to propose a hypothetical situation for us.

Let's say that I had issues with your wife, that I had deeply held spiritual beliefs that her beliefs and lifestyle conflict with. As your sister, I'm pretty unhappy that you married someone who not only lives a life I find sinful, but has you living your life that way, too. I am absolutely convicted on this: she is leading you down a path to doom.

Your reaction, I'm guessing, would be at the friendliest, "Thanks for your concern, but that's not what we believe and I love my wife and my family." "Piss off" or some variation thereof would probably be more appropriate if I kept insisting you shouldn't be with her.

Let's further say your children are not biologically yours. They're hers from a previous marriage, but they live in your home, you help raise them, and they call you Daddy. You love them and they love you.

You are a family, right? My opinion on the matter, however fervently held, is irrelevant, wouldn't you agree?

Now suppose you die in a tragic accident. And as a good, loving Christian with fervently held beliefs that your relationship was wrong to begin with, I sue your wife. And lo and behold, the courts find that not only was your will improperly notarized, but your marriage license is invalid because, oh, I don't know, pick a sitcom plot device. The minister who married you wasn't a real minister. You lied about your age. Whatever. So you and your wife were never legally married and your will is invalid. Your kids have no legal relationship to you, either. That makes me next of kin. I get your house and your estate and I kick your wife--oops, she's not really your wife in the eyes of the law, so lets call her your "roommate"--I kick her out with her kids and sell your house.

This is good and right and moral, right? YOUR opinion that you were a family, YOUR relationship to her and love for her, YOUR spiritual convictions don't matter. Only MINE. And I say your relationship was sinful and the law says it's invalid, so I win.

Does this sound right? That I should be allowed to force my spiritual beliefs on you and your family and punish you for not conforming to them?

What do you suppose Jesus would say to me even if I'm 100% right about the spiritual issue at question? "Well done good and faithful servant for following the letter of the law"? "Good on you for throwing a family out onto the street because they didn't fit YOUR spiritual definition of a good Christian family"?

I'm guessing it would be more along the lines of Matthew 23:23-28

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness."


At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done. thanks.


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