I would like to thank those six Upstate Republican House members who recently introduced a bizarre bill opposing gay marriage, while recognizing that the state is “prohibited from favoring or endorsing religion over non-religion.” The bill refers to secular humanism and atheism as a “religion” that is privileged and discriminates against Christians who oppose gay marriage. This gives me an opportunity to clear up misconceptions about secular humanism and atheism.
I belong to several humanist and atheist organizations, and not one person in these communities thinks they are part of a religion. If atheism is a religion, then baldness is a hair color and not collecting stamps is a hobby. Religions and non-religions are free to promote their principles privately and endorse public policy that does not privilege religion over non-religion. Secular humanists generally support marriage equality not because of any religious motivation, but because we think it is a human right. For the same reason, several decades ago secular humanists supported marriage between blacks and whites when religious conservatives in South Carolina were giving biblical arguments for why the mixing of races was against God’s will.
Some conservative Christians today are claiming religious discrimination because public schools teach evidence-based evolution, which these Christians refer to as “the religion of secular humanism.” You may call evidence-based science a religion, but that does not make it so.
Finally, I give credit to Chris Sevier, a co-writer of this bill called the “Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act,” for his perhaps unintended insight into what makes a successful marriage. Sevier once filed a lawsuit to recognize his marriage to a computer, claiming that such a union is no more unnatural than gay marriage.
Here’s my marital advice to Sevier and all others: Marriages, whether gay or straight, are happier when spouses spend more time with each other than with their laptops.