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Assumptions on the Marriage Amendment: A Reasoning Forum

Join 1st Universalists, MN Atheists, Secular Bible Study, and the local and international branches of the Harvard Pluralism Project-recognized society for "pluralistic rationalism," The Circle of Reason, in a unique audience-panelist dialogue to replace rhetoric with reasoning dialogue concerning what some are calling the greatest civil rights struggle of our generation: The Right of Same-Sex Marriage.

Assumptions on the Marriage


A Reasoning Forum

ONE-TIME MEETUP: Thursday, September 20

7:00-9:00 PM

First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave S, Minneapolis, MN

If you find it difficult to understand why others think and feel differently from you about the Minnesota GOP-proposed "Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman" Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage, this forum will give you greater insight -- by focusing not on debating, but uncovering the different assumptions that underlie our beliefs and actions.

In a Moderated Discussion and Q&A between audience and panelists representing the Evangelical, Progressive, Political, Black Protestant, Catholic, Atheist-Humanist and LGBTQ-Family communities, we'll attempt to set aside emotive language to delve into the different religious, ethical, biological and political assumptions that underlie our political stances for or against the Marriage Amendment.

Our Forum Speaker-Panelists are in the news -- each having been professionally or personally on the receiving end of opposed religious doctrine. Each will initially tell us what they've heard, seen and felt from these communities, as well as what they themselves once thought and now believe; then the audience and moderator will delve with the panelists into what assumptions underlie these beliefs, attitudes, and acts, considering assumptions like these:

* If marriage is claimed by some to be a "sacred biblical institution for only one man and one woman," might then others ask, "If a sacred biblical institution, why not for one man and many women as in biblical polygamy? If a sacred biblical institution, why not outlaw 'non-biblical' divorce instead of fidelity in same-sex marriages? If a sacred biblical institution, why not outlaw non-religious, civil marriage? If civil marriage is allowed for non-theists, why then must it remain civil marriage only for a man and woman?"

* Does the issue of whether same-sex attraction is biological or a choice even matter, to the legal right to marry whom one chooses? Does it even matter, to the biblical stance that seeks its prohibition?

* Is the Marriage Amendment based on not only religious but political assumptions?

Our Five Speaker-Panelists will be:

1. Broc Dobervich, Board Member of the Minnesota Log Cabin Republicans, to present the GOP/Tea Party's and the Log Cabin Republicans' differential assumptions underlying their opposed stances on the Marriage Amendment. Broc in the News: KFAI, "Fresh Fruit."

2. The Reverend Oliver White, Pastor of Grace Community United Church of Christ, who lost one-third of his congregation, and their church home, after voting to support gay marriage, to present the black religious community's assumptions underlying concern about the Marriage Amendment and its being considered a civil rights struggle. Oliver in the News: Star Tribune, CBS, DailyKos, Fox9, Star Tribune 2, UK DailyMail.

3. The Reverend Kathy Itzin, Pastor of Parkway United Church of Christ, and former religious education coordinator of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church whose religious education award was rescinded by the Archdiocese due to her being a parent with a committed lesbian partner, to present doctrinal priests' and progressive parishioners' differential assumptions underlying their opposed stances on the Marriage Amendment. Kathy in the News: Star Tribune, WeNews.

4. Professor John Gustav-Wrathall, Adjunct Professor of United Theological Seminary, and religiously progressive, excommunicated gay Mormon and same-sex married parent, to present the LDS Church's and the progressive Mormon & LGBTQ communities' differential assumptions underlying their opposed stances on the Marriage Amendment. John in the News: Religion Dispatches, MN Daily.

5. August Berkshire, President of Minnesota Atheists, to present the secular non-religious and humanist communities' assumptions and scientific data underlying their rejection of the Marriage Amendment. August in the News: Star Tribune, Star Tribune 2.

Our Moderator for Audience-Panelist Dialogue (in the second hour, after opening statements by each Speaker-Panelist) will be:

Dr. Frank H. Burton, Executive Director of The Circle of Reason (the international society for "Pluralistic Rationalism"), local co-organizer of the Twin Cities' two "transbelief reasoning dialogue" groups, Secular Bible Study and First Minneapolis Circle of Reason, and U of M professor & scientist. Frank in the News: MN Independent, Star Tribune, Harvard Pluralism Project 1 & 2.

Our Forum Host will be:

The Reverend Jen Crow, Minister of Program Life at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis.

Join us -- and invite your pro- & anti- amendment, GOP & Independent & DFL, conservative & progressive, religious & non-religious neighbors & colleagues -- for this unique reasoning "Dialogium," to illuminate and discuss the assumptions our different communities have brought to the roundtable of debate on the GOP-sponsored MN Constitutional Amendment to ban Same-Sex Marriage.

RSVP "YES" today!

Join or login to comment.

  • Frank B.

    The panel offered very unique insights from their diverse political, social, ethical, religious and ethnic communities; and having the audience come up to sit at a table & ask/discuss their questions was a great way to involve the audience. Too bad we couldn't go longer than 2hr.

    September 20, 2012

  • Frank B.

    Howdy all FMCORites -- Here's the number of affiliations cited by our RSVPing Meetup attendees to date (not counting the invited public): 10 SBS, 9 MNA, 7 FMCOR, 7 guests, 5 1stU. 7 FMCORites isn't bad, but let's try to be the highest represented group at this forum for reasoning dialogue -- y'all are the only folks, based on our earlier walk-n-talks, who've already practiced the habit of doing it! :)

    September 17, 2012

  • Frank B.

    Hi Rianu (Michael), thanks for RSVPing. Although none of the 6 conservative-evangelical pastors or pro-amendment lobbyists we invited to be on the panel accepted, we hope to have a diverse audience, from which we'll solicit discussion during the audience Q&A-dialogue (2nd hour of the forum). So, if we can get attendance up to 50+ (we're at 22+ now, not including the host church's potential attendees), I hope a significant number will be from the groups you, Kristin and I would like to see included in our forum. You can help, by downloading the pdf file in the above More > Files menu tabs and printing out some copies to leave at your local churches and coffee shops. Also, if you have any local evangelical and/or pro-amendment Facebook (FB) friends, go to FB and look me up (Frank H. Burton), then share the posted jpg image of the Thursday forum, which is free and open to the public, with your FB friends. (This request also is for FMCOR members who can't attend but would like to help.)

    September 14, 2012

  • Kristin

    I agree with you Michael. It'd be nice to have some persons who still belong to their respective religions but have a variety of views regarding homosexuality. Within my own spiritual community there are a variety of views on this topic! I imagine it's the same way for all groups, whether cultural, political, theist or non-theist. Having said that, I support the discussion and think the speakers will all make interesting contributions.

    September 14, 2012

    • Kristin

      Pardon, I should have said same-sex marriage and not just homosexuality, as these are different topics!

      September 14, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    This promises to be an enlightened if not significantly well attended and evenly represented discussion of this proposed amendment that Minnesotans not attending this forum will still be voting on Nov. 6. But other than possibly Mr. Dobervich bravely representing the Republican T-party anti-homosexual views...can even scholarly objective academic but pro-homosexual other panel speakers truly represent their respective orthodox Catholic, Black Protestant, and Mormon church stands given their own antagonist relationships to these church's that rejected them? What do others think?

    September 14, 2012

  • Frank B.

    We're announcing this Meetup late (only 9 days away), due to getting the speaker-panelists together, but we've already got 16+ coming from outside the 1st Church membership (i.e., SBS and MNA Meetup folks). Let's see if we can also get good FMCOR representation there, too (they'll need our reasoning and listening skills, eh?) Please RSVP yes or no, so we can know if we'll need a main assembly room for 50+ or more peeps. This is the only reasoning forum of its kind that you'll see before your November "yay or nay" vote to institutionally disallow our Minnesotan gay and lesbian co-workers, neighbors, friends, or family from ever being able to marry the one they love. If you've never thought about this issue -- or assume the "others" aren't capable of thinking about it at all -- this forum's for you! RSVP "YES" today! -- Frank

    September 11, 2012

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