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Legislating morality – how far is too far?6 min read

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With all of the gay marriage news and the NC anti-cohabitation statute and subsequent lawsuit, the idea of legislating morality is coming to the forefront of the public debate.

Is is both constitutional and morally right to “legislate morality” and if so how much is too much?

It is ridiculous to take the position that it is either unconstitutional or wrong to legislate some type of morality on to the populace of America. Every law, every statute, every decision made by lawmakers has to do with some person’s or some group of people’s version of morality. You cannot escape legislating morality. The only question is whose morality do we legislate and how much of it do we establish in our law.

I believe the North Carolina law outlawing cohabitation to be silly and outdated. I do not think the morality of cohabitating has changed, but I do think the culture has changed. I believe morality based laws can and should be changed as the morality of the culture changes, but that process is not through the judiciary. The correct and constitutional way to change laws is and always has been through the legislature. This column by a local radio talk show host sums up this position well.

The gay marriage is a tricky issue, even though some may not see it that way. I am leaning more and more to the creation of some type of “civil union” recognition for several reasons.

I do not think gay marriage is possible. Just as dry water and hot cold is an impossibility, so gay marriage is to me. Marriage is defined as a relationship between one man and one woman. Any other combination outside of those perameters would cease to be marriage. So it is not possible for any government to create gay marriage because the definition of marriage excludes any and all other relationships except for the current situation.

I do feel that those who give constitutional arguments in favor of allowing gay marriage or civil unions have a point. I do not believe that gay marriage is a guaranteed right directly from the Constitution. I’m sure if you wanted to find the right there you could, just like in Roe v. Wade. But by simply reading the Constitution one does find a right to marriage for any person. It is common sense that marriage is something a soceity would want to have to help in stabalizing the populace, but it is not a right afforded to US citizens from the Constitution. The point that those arguing for civil unions or gay marriage have is based on the current interpretation of the Constitution. The way the Constitution has been viewed in the past 50 years or so would in fact deem some type of recognition for gay couples as neccessary.

Finally, the biggest reason I see to allow some type of recogntion is the damage this is causing the Church of Jesus Christ, especially in America. “Gay bashing” is used as a club to continually pound any and all Christians who dare to oppose anything put forth by the liberal gays. The reason the club is there for the taking is because so many Christians fashion it lovingly with their own hands. It is almost as if we enjoy fashioning the crucifixion nails.

Dozens of Christian leaders rail and scream of the dangers of the “homosexual agenda,” but far fewer spend the same amount of energy decrying the present evil of divorce that is ruining marriage currently. We don’t have to wait for some far off gay danger to the sanctity of marriage, Southern Baptist Brittney Spears (ugh I hate to even say that) is doing more harm to marriage than dozens of committed gay couples could ever dream of doing.

Josh at the Conjecturer has made many nice points on this issue. While he may be a farther along the line toward gay marriage than I am, his comments as it pertains to Christians relationships with gay people are often dead on. Here is one of his more potent quotes:

Too many Christians are content to write off gays as evil, as worthless, as abominations, that often I lose hope that the original message of Christ, His grace and the redemption from sin, has been totally lost. Certain kinds of sin, like lying, are fine to talk about and confess, but something “serious,” like being gay, is this Huge Deal. That’s just wrong, it’s a total denial of Christ’s ministry on Earth. Jesus spent his time among the outcasts of society, among the ones deemed irredeemable or untouchable by the religious elites.

Could the Christian community not reach countless more gay people with the message of Christ if they saw us not as their enemies, but people who are only trying to do what they think is best in the long run? If we could explain our actions a little more clearly and a lot more lovingly, how much of a difference would that make?

The catch (as always) is to speak the truth in love. Neither can be sacrificed in favor of the other. The truth of God as given to us in the Bible cannot be trampled over in order to have people like us more. But we also cannot use the truth as a weapon to crush our “enemies.”

Our battle is not against gay people or even the homosexual agenda. Our battle is and has always been a spiritual war. Is it possible the best strategic move in this spritual war is to sacrifice this skirmish in order to let the grace of Christ regin in our lives. Often I wonder if the social or cultural conservative Christian is more interested in winning this political battle than we are with winning souls.

I don’t know the right answer, but I do know that our current strategy is not effective in reaching souls for Christ. Sure we may win a cultural battle here or there, but for all this truth we are speaking where are the fruits, not the political scalps, but the spiritual fruits of lives being won to Christ and changed for His glory?