Question: What is a good response to someone who says, you are violating my civil rights? (on the marriage issue)I know Catholics view it as a Holy Sacrament. But what do you say when you are talking to someone who is not Catholic, or not religious?
Answer: The person who makes this assertion is playing you for a fool.
A civil right is a right or power which can be exercised under civil law, a right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship.
If there is a God, then civil rights flow from the fact that the person is made in the image and likeness of God. That is, civil law is required to recognize the divine origin of the person. Refusal to do so is a violation of the person by the civil law, because the civil law is refusing to recognize the nature of both God and man.
In this scheme of things, which you and I accept, the divine law exists first, civil law imitates the divine law, and our rights are reflections of the divine law.
BUT, if there is no God, then civil rights flow from whatever society deems is right. There is no divine law, so civil rights are whatever the strongest group of people say they are.
According to this scheme of things, since California has said marriage is between one man and one woman, the person who tries to impose a different (homosexual) definition on the people of California is violating the civil rights of everyone in California.
The Trick: You and I understand the connection between civil law and divine law because we believe in God - we insist that civil law reflect divine law. But the people who are demanding the right to marry their horse DO NOT believe in God. What they are doing is using a phrase, "civil rights" and implying that we should grant them something that is antithetical to what civil rights are.
Everyone who is of appropriate age and sound in mind has the right to enter into marriage with a member of the opposite sex.
No one has a right to contract marriage with an animal, a corpse, an underage person, a person of the same sex or an inanimate object.
Thus, it is absurd for someone to claim that we are violating their civil rights when we forbid them from marrying and/or consummating marriage with a child, a corpse, an animal, an inanimate object or a member of the same sex. No one has a divine right to do these things, so no one can have a civil right to do these things.
And if they don't believe in God, then they have no reason to complain either, since the law is whatever the majority says it is. In this scheme, human beings have no rights simply because they are human beings - they only have rights if they can wrest those rights away and only for so long as they can keep them wrested away.
No matter how they structure the argument, they cannot claim that anyone is violating their civil rights. The only persons who can make this claim are the atheists in Massachusetts, where homosexual marriage is legal. They can accurately claim that anyone who tries to change the current law there is trying to violate their civil rights.
Yes, that's true.
But that doesn't mean it's a bad thing.
After all, the homosexual atheists who got the law passed violated all of OUR civil rights when they militated for their point of view. Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
They had no compunctions about violating civil rights, so according to their lights, they would be hypocrites to chastise us for doing the same.