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A Waco Farmer and Tocqueville have been going at it hammer-and-tongs over the issue of same-sex marriage: in part their disagreement involves the issue of the proper relationship between religion and public policy. Read here. In an attempt to be helpful ( or perhaps to commit an act of hubris), and to help me clarify my own thoughts, I am attempting to suggest some points I think are valid regarding the use of religious rhetoric and reasoning in the public square. Since the topic is huge, I am breaking it down into various angles of approach. My first posting looked at the issue historically. Read here.

This post looks at the issue from the angle of philosophy and oberservation. (Read below)

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Should U.S. public policy reflect viewpoints arrived at because of religious beliefs? In a previous post I argued that from an engagement with Scripture, Christians should reject same-sex practice, while welcoming into our congregations those who struggled with same-sex desires. Here. A Waco Farmer then commented "On the other hand, and although I don't think this is your point in this particular post--but it is relevant to past discussions, this excellent essay in no way changes my view that our scripturally based morality in re same-sex relationships should not dictate public policy. For example: of the Ten Commandments, only three are regularly codified as public policy. Same goes for the instructions of Christ: the word of God doesn't always translate into human law. I maintain, and I think you agree, questions of public policy require an almost completely different set of assumptions and perspectives." His comment brought a response from Tocqueville. (see post below)

I now begin an answer to Farmer; since the issue is so large and complex I will give a short answer, then over the course of several posts with give-and-take, give my longer answer. Short answer: sort of. (cont. below)

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Photognome draws our attention to this recent court ruling. (pdf file 140 pages)

Prison Fellowship summarizes and responds to the ruling in the following:
"Judge Strikes Down Faith-Based Prison Program, While Public Backs Helping Prisoners
June 21, 2006 | Vol. 5, No. 6
A federal judge in Iowa recently issued a stunning decision declaring that Prison Fellowship?s InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) was unconstitutional. In his 140-page decision, Judge Robert Pratt made sweeping findings that are as troubling as they are erroneous. He found that Prison Fellowship is ?Evangelical Christian in nature? and then went on to describe evangelical beliefs as not being in common with other Christian beliefs. His mischaracterization of Prison Fellowship and his misunderstanding of what Christians believe are apparent throughout his opinion. To cite just a few examples:
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