“That ought to be illegal!”“There should be a law against ______!”
“Let’s create legislature that will keep ______ off of our streets!”
“If you want to change ______ for the better, write to your congressman!”
A quick disclaimer. I’m not a lawyer. I have no interest in delving into the legislature of our nation as a profession. All I am doing now is arguing the theory behind the laws in our nation, and the thought processes which drive them.
Laws were created to limit human behavior. They punished evildoers, created an incentive for avoiding a life of crime, and protected the innocent from harm.
Having said that, I remember reading that there were 613 laws in the Old Testament, and that seemed like an impossible amount to possibly keep. The burden of The Mosaic Law was a large reason why the Israelites called out for a Savior according to Christian doctrine. Quite simply, no one could keep the whole Law, and perfection was a pipe dream.
Compare those 600+ rules with the laws governing our way of life now. How many do we have? Do they change from state to state, or are they federal? I would wager we have over five times the rules of the Old Testament. Traffic laws didn’t even exist back then. There was no EPA of FDA rules for production of merchandise or energy. Tack on laws regarding blade lengths for knives, limited magazines in rifles, and rules in the workplace, and you have to wonder whether or not the Israelites had it easy.
Action – Someone is hurt/killed/offended.
Reaction – Law that bans an object/substance/action.
Citizens call lawmakers to get them to introduce a bill banning Object A. Congressman and lawmaker wants votes, so in order to appeal to their constituents, they create a bill which leads to a law banning Object A, and maybe B and C as well. Citizens feel safe and happy, satisfied that they’ve taken a stand against Object A and the evil it created. Other citizens are arrested for Objects A, B, or C, and are incarcerated.
What do we really accomplish with laws that ban things or actions? If you hate guns and support a law against it, you may feel a moral victory and think your work is done. Do you then enforce the law you so desperately wanted?
All you’ve done is outsource your problem to government officials, who now have to go door to door in your neighborhood collecting guns from citizens.
Think any of those government officials will be excited about that job? Would you feel any different if you were the one stacked up on a door, knowing that another armed man may wait on the other side for you? All we accomplish with these types of laws is a removal of personal responsibility.
If any of you know me, you know that I’m a huge fan of firearms and the 2nd Amendment. This could all be biased through my infamous redneck-colored lenses. Fine, let’s remove my personal favoritism for guns and introduce something of which I do not approve.
Let’s say that marijuana is legalized. Now that there is no threat of arrest for smoking it, the only negative aspects would be getting jail time for driving impaired, or getting fired from your workplace for showing up under the influence. Parents would cry out in despair that their children will now smoke the “Gateway Drug,” and those parents would rather have a police officer deal with the problem than talk to their own children, spend quality time with them, or know who their friends are. As long as there was the threat of arrest, those parents could rely on that to keep their kids from drugs.
If the FCC suddenly allows gratuitous violence, cursing, and hardcore sex on the TV, would those parents try to get it taken off? Would they instead turn off the TV (which is the real babysitter in many families) and play with their children? I would wager that most are so comfortable with the laws that prevent exposure of their children to those things, they would instead write congressmen and start a campaign of Facebook memes before they even consider disconnecting their cable or Netflix. Many parents have no issue with their young kids owning IPhones with an unfiltered access to the filth on the internet, but the idea of that stuff being on a device in their home which they can easily turn off bugs them.
The same can be said for the American Christian church. Why is the church so opposed to the legalization of gay marriage? There is little real question as to what the Bible says on the subject of homosexuality (hint; it’s a sin), but why does the church care about legislation regarding that action? Glancing through the New Testament, I doubt anyone could find commands for the ancient church body to affect the morality of those around them by introducing new laws. They knew that believers were to act a certain way, and the rest of the world (outsiders to the church) would act another way. It was just a given.
The church in America is easily one of the most, if not THE most protected churches in the world. Our nation has always had Judeo-Christian values, and we’ve grown comfortable in the knowledge that, if we show that something is a sin in the Bible, there’s a good chance it’s illegal in our state as well. Rather than foster and encourage Biblical doctrine and Christ-honoring behavior in our Christian brothers, we’ve let the laws act for us.
Suddenly, those in power speak of making sinful behavior legal. What do we do? We’re losing the grip we had on our nation! What if members of our church start smoking pot, or come out as homosexuals? Will we have to address those issues as a body of believers, or can we please just make it illegal again so we don’t have to deal with it?
The truth is that it is the church’s job to deal with the morality of the people, and discipleship toward Christ-like behavior, and we have failed. We failed, and the American population is slipping (or in some cases running) away from God. What if we held church services and no one came because they felt that those morals weren’t worth keeping? Well, in that case the church either failed to show the importance of acting like Christ, or those people just never felt that dedicated in the first place. Maybe both, and in my personal opinion, if the less-than-dedicated stop showing up to church, it’s not going to change much.
“But if we permit those things to take place, we’re saying that we accept it morally!
No we’re not. We’re simply having to deal with the fact that morality is not in the hands of our government anymore. We’re taking that morality out of government control, and placing it only with the church. Again, in my opinion, bring it on.
“But in the Old Testament the prophets spoke against kings who allowed sin to occur in the kingdom of Israel!”
Yes, but we are operating in the New Testament church, which does not require a central location or a supporting government (see John 4:21-24, or the entire book of Acts). The Old Testament body of believers was set up primarily as a theocratic nation to establish God’s people and Law. The New Testament church was much more decentralized, cellular, and not worried about the rules of the (usually pagan) nations in which they lived. But I digress.
In 1169, an Irish ruler wanted to defeat the High King of Ireland and rule the island. His name was Dermot MacMurragh, and his problem was that his forces just weren’t strong enough to accomplish his goal. He struck a deal with a group of Anglo-Norman mercenaries with the full backing of King Henry II of England. The mission was a success in that his short term goal of defeating the High King of Ireland took place, but his actions in allowing foreigners to invade his homeland set the stage for a ruthless conquest of Ireland by the English crown, and hundreds of years of getting told what to do by a bunch of Limeys.
Dermot MacMurragh wasn’t able to solve his own problems, so he went to a foreign government and allowed it to become their problem. Control and sovereignty were sacrificed in the name of expedience, and his name is still cursed in Ireland to this day. Isn’t that what happens when we promote or allow a continuous stream of laws to be passed, especially those banning things we consider to be sinful? Can we legislate morality, and if we do, does it accomplish the goals which Christ set out for us? Will future generations curse our names for not having the testicular fortitude to correctly raise our children and build a strong sense of morality? We have been giving our problems to people in higher power who often have no business dictating morals to citizens, while sacrificing our sense of responsibility.
I’m not over here waving a rainbow flag in a stupid parade, and I could probably care less about the plight of those poor, suffering potheads. What I do care about is our notion that the government is the end all, be all of right and wrong. If the government declares something as legal, that doesn’t take away your ability to make up your own mind on whether or not it’s right. Learn the Bible for yourself.