Monday, April 01, 2013

Lets Really Give Legislating Morality a Try

This is the second in a series of posts exploring the current debate about the Church and marriage law.
In my previous post Civil Law & The Church I argued that historically the Church only causes damage when we attempt to impose "Christian" moral laws on our society.

**First the ground rules**
I hate being defined by theological litmus tests because I think they miss the mark in so many ways. That does not mean we can’t or shouldn't engage in theological discussions on matters that we feel strongly about. It is just that we should be a little more humble and gracious in how we describe people who differ from our understanding of God and his grace.
In that vein, this series of blog posts will not even attempt to address or debate the theological issues swirling around marriage rights. We will not be considering whether the fact that Jesus spoke against divorce but was silent on homosexuality is important or not, or what it means that so many in the church are willing to overlook Paul’s teachings on  gender roles and on celibacy but not his teachings on homosexuality. There are a great many other forums offering space to debate these issues so please feel free to use them.Our purpose here then is to look at marriage, equality, and civil rights vs religious rights.
**Now the second discussion**

I'd like for us to consider what it would mean if we really attempted to impose such laws in a balanced manner, since it must be observed that all sin, any sin, is a serious matter, because “sin” is “lawlessness” 1 John 3:4

If our goal as Christians is to legislate morality, we should go all the way and really legislate against sin. I know there have been humorous attempts at this before that take scriptures from old testament law and attempt to apply them in todays world.

I stand with many in the Christian tradition that believe many of these texts are cultural and do not apply. Therefore since we have selected certain texts as legitimate for use in this arena let’s just use the scriptures currently sited for keeping gay marriage illegal as a guide for our new laws.

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the gays right? 
"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Eze 15:60

First let’s pass a law keeping all stockbrokers, payday loan providers, and pawn shop owners from receiving tax breaks, getting government backed loans (including student loans for their children), and from any type of court protection (sue them all you want since they don't have any standing in court). Ezekiel does say the sin of Sodom was they were greedy and over fed and unconcerned for the poor, and Paul does say the greedy will not inherit the kingdom of God so we are just being helpful and keeping them from an unbiblical lifestyle. If they truly repent and change their lifestyle, sell all their positions and give the money to the poor, then we can consider allowing them to hold "respectable jobs."
While we are at it we should also pass laws to keep anyone who is overweight from eating unhealthy food, after all overfed people need to be protected from a lifestyle of gluttony. Let us make sure they can only eat salad when in public.

Paul clearly gives his protegee Timothy direction on what kind of people merit exclusion from the Kingdom.
We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. 1 Tim 1:9-10

Let’s make sure we honor the whole passage here and pass laws making sure anyone found guilty of being deceitful or committing perjury loses their civil rights that are associated with those sins. Paul does tell Timothy they are the same category as murders and  sexually immoral people. Deceitful people will ruin the sanctity of voting and of our court system. We should keep them from participating in polls or from actually voting and certainly from testifying in court.When Paul wrote the epistle to the Romans he laid out sound doctrine against all sorts of perversions. Lets make sure to not ignore any of this passage.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts … They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Rom 1:24-31 NIV

We need to pass a law to make sure gossips, slanderers, and boastful people are dealt with. Let’s make sure they have no access to newspapers, TV, or any type of social media what so ever since granting them access to these things would only show we are condoning their lifestyle.

This kind of sin runs deep so lets make sure we are clear on whether this includes celebrity gossip magazines, websites, and TV shows or not.

It seems like I read about a society like this before… Oh yes it was the Pharisees and Sadducees and Jesus had some really harsh things to say to them about this kind of behavior.   

You see Jesus really hit the nail on the head when he talked about specks and planks.  The religious leaders of Jesus day were incensed that he accepted people into his circle even though they were sinners. At nearly every interaction Jesus left their heads spinning as He showed them they were just as dirty as those they condemned.

So whether you believe homosexuality is a sin or not, I’m not sure how you can advocate against granting or denying civil rights for a person based on their sinfulness. Since doing so would logically invite legislation against all us for all kinds of sins. 

Let us instead deal with sin on a spiritual level and with civil law on a civil level. 

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