Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And why shouldn't we ligislate morality?

In recent political history there has been several battles over morality. Notably are those that seem to divide the Christian world from the Secular world. And of these, the most volatile and precarious, include Homosexual Marriage and Abortion.

Now before you dismiss this entry, I believe that no matter your stance on either current issue, this blog will likely not be what you expect.

Here is the back-drop: Homosexuality and Abortion are two of the most private personal struggles, and at the same time are two of the most publicly hated. For the most part the Christian Camp identifies both as sin and therefore should be outlawed, end of story. For the most part the opposing Secular Camp do not identify sins in general, which makes the Christian Camp's argument seem insane. Interestingly, there has been some inclusion of science (a traditionally secular field usually seen as antagonistic to the Christian Camp's world view) by the Christian Camp to try and prove that homosexuality is un-natural (both in nature and in reproductive sense) and that abortion is murder (by pin-pointing the exact moment when the embryo becomes a life). Both of these issues have been topic for discussion in the legislative function of the U.S. Government. To this I ask, what is the goal? What is the reason for addressing these topics as potential decisions to be made by legal mandate, rather than individuals?

And now I take a step back.

Back in 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter as a response to address the concerns of the Danbury Baptist Association regarding the potential persecution of the Church by the State. In this letter the following was written by President Jefferson (emphasis added):
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

This letter has been adopted as a staple and placed as the standard for the different roles and responsibilities of the Church versus the State. Supported and emphasized by the first amendment, religious and personal freedoms have been protected in the United States since 1802 (barring some significant historical lapses in better judgement which I will not address here).

Additionally the Word of God helps us all understand this separation. There are rules and laws that govern the Kingdom of God, these can be found in the Bible. There are also laws and regulations that govern the secular world. Referred to as laws of the wicked, laws of the Romans, laws of the Gentiles (depending on what version of the Bible you read). These are also alluded to in Romans 2:12 "All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law." THE LAW here is God's law, "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, ... they are a law for themselves" (Romans 2:14). Thus humans are not lawless, but instead without God's Law, unless there has been a personal acceptance of God's Laws to govern the person, individually.

So, with the established separation of Church and State, the expressed difference between the laws that govern the citizens of a state and the laws that govern the hearts of individuals in the Kingdom of God, what's happening in politics? The Christian Camp is essentially trying to legislate in secular law the laws of the Kingdom of God, which have been distinctly separate. There is a relationship between the God of God's Laws and the individual who accepts that law upon themselves. The personal conviction that is experienced by the individual wrought by the Holy Spirit is what prompts the individual to abide by these laws. How then does anyone expect those not under God's Law to abide by those laws? Even in Psalm 50:16 says "But God says to the wicked: 'What right do you have to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?'" God Himself states that there is no sense, and even a bit of disgrace that comes with adopting the Laws of God when there is no conviction, and no relationship between HIM and those outside of His Laws.

Indeed there is a separation/difference between Church and State... and it goes both ways. The public does not govern the Church, reasonably the Church should not govern the public.

Our role as Christians is to love, unconditionally, to be an image of Christ to those who are lost and hurting. There are sadly far too many churches and Christians that become the reason conflicted and hurting individuals do not turn to the Church. Our role is to provide a place of healing, not judgement. Love your neighbor, and your enemy as yourself. Leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit, He's better at it, and more effective.

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