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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Construct of marriage and religion?!

10 replies

Jazzicatz · 11/03/2012 12:35

I have been thinking about this this morning and would be interested to discuss with MNetters who are more knowledgeable than me.
How has marriage become a religious issue? If you look at the socially constructed nature of marriage, a way of supporting capitalism and the wealth of landowners, how/why has it been co-opted by religious groups as something fundamental to it? Sorry, not making much sense, but hopefully you get the gist.
Anyone got any thoughts?

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AliceHurled · 11/03/2012 13:31

There was something on the radio about this this morning. R4 prob on the religious programme that's on 7-8. It talked about how marriage was to do with property and then why the church got in on it. Had I paid attention I could have told you, but it sadly fell out of my brain. Twas interesting though.

KatAndKit · 11/03/2012 13:43

Because the church has spend hundreds of years interfering and meddling in how people live their lives and trying to control them.

InmaculadaConcepcion · 11/03/2012 14:08

Yes, it's easy to forget nowadays just how the powerful and influential the church used to be - and still is in some areas.

Having God on your side is always useful to the ruling class, so it's not surprising the status quo-upholding established churches have always been so keen on legitimising male ownership of women (as it was until very recently).

Jazzicatz · 11/03/2012 14:13

So the reason it wasn't so relevant before was down to the lack of support by the ruling classes?

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InmaculadaConcepcion · 11/03/2012 14:32

Sorry Jazz, can you expand on your question a bit?

Jazzicatz · 11/03/2012 14:39

Well before the 1753 Marriage Act, marriage was informal, but due to the concerns of the male, ruling elite, legislation was put in place to protect the rights of the landowner, this has very little to do with the religious focus of marriage, so was this because the ruling elite actually have far more influence on the church, and if so why?

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InmaculadaConcepcion · 11/03/2012 14:55

I rather suspect it was a lot of quid pro quo when it came to the church and the ruling elite, Jazz. As soon as churches became a power to be reckoned with, they tended to be co-opted into the establishment (I'm not only referring to the Christian churches, here) and the two tended to operate hand in glove (although not without conflict).

But there are probably posters on here who are better versed in history than me and could give you better theories!

CogitoErgoSometimes · 11/03/2012 15:14

I think the heart of the matter is that lives, up until relatively recently were intrinsically bound up with religion. Religion was not something done separately, it was the way of life that must be obeyed. Religion set the moral standard for everything, personal relationships included. All stages of life/death and all public offices required religious endorsement for moral legitimacy. Ill-fated 12th Century Archbishop Thomas Becket met his end because he would not endorse the actions of Henry II.

Acts of Parliament settle the legal nitty gritty of inheritance within the moral framework decided by the church. The Marriage Act may not have been until 1753 but the institution itself has been going on considerably longer. Chaucer's 14th Century Canterbury Tales testify to that.

Himalaya · 11/03/2012 15:50

The church (or whatever dominant religion) has = the ruling elite since for ever.

I suspect the regularising/officialising of marriage had more to do with the general offialising of many things (...births, deaths and marriages...) as the administrative capacity of the church and state strengthened with more general writing and record keeping.

CogitoErgoSometimes · 11/03/2012 16:08

Agree about record-keeping. Having researched a family tree not so long ago, there is a point at which the normal births, marriages, deaths certification is unavailable and if you want to know more, you have to refer to parish records of baptisms etc.

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