Monday, November 13, 2006

WOW!! I Asked You What You Thought!

These are some of the comments I have recieved concerning the article posted last Thursday.

Ed Rangel's comment:
It seems like some Christians think that the government should outlaw all kinds of immoral things and to some extent I agree with that ideology. However, a people that is forced to be moral will not have a change of heart, the law will be obeyed because of the fear of retribution. King Hezekiah failed miserably when he forced the people to do away with idolatry. He left us the lesson that a people as a whole can only be changed one person at a time and not by force. Although, a preemptive attack on moral issues might not be such a bad idea, but what would it accomplish? Several years ago a Texas law on sodomy was challenged yet sodomy still takes place in that very place wherein it is outlawed. Obviously, as you can perceive, my feelings are mixed towards this ideology.

This type of thinking might also bleed into the church, as you already pointed out. Nonetheless, in this holy realm we cannot legislate only abide and comply.

Tracy's comment:
My fiancée and I have debated this very issue a few times. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Should government legislate morality? I agree with Ed Rangel when he says that this can have disastrous consequences, not only because one cannot force a change of heart on someone, but also because I believe it is the Church who should primarily be doing this work. Often, we as Christians hide behind government, asking it to witness for us, instead of doing it ourselves.

2. There are two types of marriage: I see a distinction between marriage by law and marriage by the church. The first we do to follow governmental protocol (giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s), whereas the second is a union before God, designed by Him, one which no man is to break (Matt 19:6). If these are two separate things, then should we dictate what secular marriage is to be?

3. What is government’s purpose in defining marriage? Since the government is secular and for the people, there must be a secular, beneficial purpose to marriage. If there is such a reason for not allowing non-heterosexual marriage, then this amendment is valid. By faith I know that God does not make mistakes; He designed marriage to be between a man and a woman because He knew it was best. Hence, I can trust that marriage between a man and a woman is beneficial to society, whereas homosexual marriage is not.

4. Would legalizing homosexual marriage make homosexuality more commonplace and give people the impression that it is not displeasing to God? If God hates homosexual relations, then would it be wrong for me to “encourage” it by not voting against it? Is voting for this amendment a way that I can do God’s work, influencing society by the laws I choose to support? On the other hand, a key part of the gospel is our freedom to choose who or what to follow, a principle we can reflect by the form of government we support.

5. What are we withholding from couples by not allowing them to get married? I don’t know the answer to this question, but there are privileges marriage confers in the world, such as the right to know medical information about your spouse when he/she has been in an accident, inheritance, tax cuts, etc., that seem wrong to withhold from a couple who want to be married but legally can’t. I can go on and on in circles about this issue, but the bottom line is that I am quite confused about it and I would really like to understand what God’s will is in all of this.

Ed's comment:
I have been studying Ezekiel 22-23 and the prophet paints a frightening picture of the morality in his society. The priests were a joke and themselves liars and thieves. The political leaders were no better and thus created a corrupt citizenship. Having thought more about Dana's post I feel even stronger that the judicial system is not the place to legislate morality. What propels this thought process is the fact that most of our leaders have a warped sense of what morality really is; what they think instead of what God says. No doubt that many politicians prey on our fears and offer us what we want to hear in order to elect them (hopefully I'm just cynical). Someone once said in reference to the immoral lifestyle of Ezekiel's time: "Ezekiel 23 is a mirror reflecting what current society, including national and state leaders, does behind closed doors. A steady lifestyle of this no longer bars the path to the White House. Such men and women as these are not answers to our moral and spiritual problems; they are part of the problems themselves!"

ukce1861's comment: (These are comments posted in answer to the original blog which my daughter sent me thus explaining this first paragraph. Dana)
I have a few comments on your post and some of the responses. Quite a few actually… I’d be happy to discuss things further or leave it altogether. I would have posted on your blog, but I’m not “Gold” and didn’t feel like paying the $5 a month to do that…

1. “Anybody but a Republican”, huh? So you voted FOR the party that advocates abortion and advancing the gay agenda? You voted FOR the party that advocates for a pull-out from Iraq leading to the further destabilization of an already destabilized and dangerous region? That’s interesting. Why? I can’t believe no one has asked that question in the comments yet, so I’ll be the first. To a point, I understand your frustration with the Republican Party. I too am frustrated. On many issues, they have sold out. Immigration and Prescription Drugs come to mind. However, the Democratic Party is as bad and worse on most issues. I can’t think of an issue where my stance is closer to that of the Democrats than the Republicans. And I’ll be honest with you; this election, I was pretty close to a one-issue voter. We must “stay the course” in Iraq. Osama bin Laden and President Ahmadinejad (of Iran) have made it very clear that Iraq is central to their plan for the worldwide Islamic Caliphate. May I remind you this is the guy who prayed for Armageddon on the floor of the UN? These people are actively working to bring about the “end of the world” as they understand it. They are preparing facilities right now for the return of the Mahdi (their version of the Messiah). It doesn’t matter whether you believe in this stuff or not; they do. We ARE involved in a Holy War, even if it’s not one of our choosing. For that reason, I can’t support the Democrats.

2. Item by item on your gay marriage points.
“Government should not legislate morality.”
So you support giving children access to pornography at any age?
So you support allowing abortions at any time for any reason?
So you support allowing polygamy, marriage to the household pet, etc?
And of course you support the legalization of prostitution and “recreational” drugs, right?

Of course the government legislates morality. I don’t see how the passage from Romans that was posted previously couldn’t apply here. If God appoints government as his minister, you don’t think he’d want them to minister with morality?

“Knee-jerk constitutional amendments are a very bad idea, and are very seldom beneficial.”
Isn’t this a knee-jerk reaction to a knee-jerk amendment? Just because something is “bad” some or even most of the time, doesn’t not mean it is always bad. I don’t know about you, but if there were a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, I don’t care if it was “knee-jerk” or not, I’d vote for it in a heart beat. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

“’Same sex marriage’ is not legal in TN now. We don't need language added to the constitution that is already handled by other legislation.”The judiciary has demonstrated numerous times that it WILL legislate from the bench. The only way to keep existing laws from being struck down as unconstitutional is to add them to the constitution. It will be interesting to see how these [State Constitutional Amendments] stand up when they are appealed to the Supreme Court for conformance to the US Constitution, but it is at least an additional layer of protection. Especially with controversial and “hip” issues like gay marriage, the only protection we have is constitutional amendments. Existing laws have been demonstrated repeatedly to be inadequate.

“The amendment does nothing to "protect" existing marriage. Even if gay people were allowed to marry, it won't affect a straight marriage one bit. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce now already; its a misnomer to cast this initiative as ‘protecting families and marriage.’”
While it might be a BIT of a misnomer, I don’t really see it as inaccurate. Currently, marriage is basically defined by most common sense people as 1 man, 1 woman. There are those who would like to change that to 2 men; 2 women; 1 man, multiple women; 1 man, 1 dog; ad infinitum. So formally and legally defining the institution of marriage as 1 man, 1 woman, will protect marriage. How could it not? Do we need to strengthen marriage between 1 man and 1 woman? Yes. Does that mean we should allow further dilution in the process? Absurd. As for families, it does strengthen them. God has defined a family as 1 father, 1 mother and children. Legal marriage entitles a couple to a whole host of rights. Among those is the right to adopt children much easier. I realize this happens now, but it will become much more widespread if gay marriage is legalized. Not to mention, if you think the gay agenda in education is bad now, just wait till gay marriage is legalized and that becomes even more of an accepted lifestyle. Oh, and if you want to laugh at me for saying gay marriage opens the door for polygamy and other forms of marriage, don’t. What stops those people? Why don’t they have the same right to define marriage as they see fit? What legal standing do you have to deny them? None. The battle for cultural acceptance of polygamy has already started and will intensify in the near future. HBO started a series ( featuring a polygamous family and I would say within 5 years there will be at least one network show featuring such a relationship. The gay agenda was advanced in the same way. Remember all the controversy about Candice Bergen being an unwed mother on Murphy Brown? That was 1992, folks, 1992! Less than 15 years ago. Look how far we’ve come now. Gays were introduced into television shows and shown to be an “acceptable lifestyle choice”. If we cave on gay marriage now, we will have NO STANDING WHATSOEVER when polygamy and marrying nonhuman or inanimate objects comes up, and trust me, it will.

“Its restrictive legislation, and does not promote ‘life, liberty, and happiness’ for all citizens.”
I really think this is just a subset of #1. We have all kinds of “restrictive legislation” and I’m not in favor of getting rid of much of it.

Just a couple of other comments I wanted to respond to.

“I think it is equally sinful of government to deprive someone of medical benefits because they are a homosexual... or worse, because their parents are homosexuals.”
What exactly does this mean? I’m totally lost on this one. How is the government depriving someone of medical benefits? Help me understand this, please. If you’re saying it’s a right to have medical insurance and somehow that’s a function of the government, I couldn’t disagree more…

“It is not the job of government to save souls.”
I don’t see how this law has anything to do with saving souls. I see it as protecting families and our society.

“And we will not save souls by alienating them and depriving them of their needs.”
How are we alienating them? Don’t you think we should tell them that their lifestyle is wrong?

“I don't think Christ would have denied someone of health insurance”Is that really what this is all about? Wow… I always thought Christ had bigger fish to fry than health insurance…

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