Saturday, June 27, 2009

Changing the law, Doesnt change the heart

As many of you know, Iowa (the state in which I live) made gay marriage legal fairly recently. Many (particularly Christians) have been outraged and furious, holding up signs and protesting. Many commenting to me jokingly about it, expecting me to be on their side I suppose, and then are infuriated to find that I really am not.

First off, I dont personally condone homosexuality, nor do I think that the Bible does. Yet on the same note, I dont elevate it to this terrible atrocity that most Christians seem to do. I dont see it as any greater a "sin", than premarital sex, lust, lying, or gossip (None of which, by the way, do many Christians hold signs up about or try to make laws banning them). If it is truly not Gods will to practice homosexuality, than I dont think God loves the person in that any less, than He loves the one who has premarital sex, lusts, lies, gossips or all the above.The same can be said about abortion, which I most definitely do not agree with.

So we try and implicate these laws, and protest, assuming that by doing so...we will create a safe, "Christianese" country for us and our families. And thats understandable, I think it is important to vote and stand up for the things we believe especially as Christians.

But I cant help but ask, what changing the laws of our country will do to change the hearts of those I disagree with? We can bar people from doing all sorts of things, and we do on many occasions. Our laws try to prevent us from things like murder, stealing, cheating, and running red lights. Yet even when the threat of punishment is successful in preventing an individual from doing such things (or more likely, from getting caught), is that person really any different? Do their views on right and wrong, good and bad, necessarily change at all?

Even if gay marriage were to have been kept illegal in Iowa, it wouldnt stop anyone from practicing homosexuality or still feeling that gay marriage was their right. The same with abortion, if it were illegal, nothing would stop anyone from feeling it was okay or worse yet, find ways to abort babies outside of medical direction. Just because something is illegal, doesnt make someone think that it is wrong. Just because someone is prevented from doing something bad does not automatically turn the person's intentions good. This is common sense.

Beyond all that, Im not sure it is my right to try and make other people live by my moral convictions. Part of the reason the United States was founded was to break from the oppression of religion, and worship, believe and live as one chooses. It doesnt mean I have to personally agree, or support someones life choices...but it doesnt matter if I agree. I hope people will make Godly choices, but they have to find the motivation to do that themselves (which ultimately comes from the conviction God gives us). I or no one else can force that on them...

I guess I just find it hard to believe that God is as concerned with the laws of America, as most fundamentalist Christians seem to be. This is maybe why politics fail to interest me more often than not. Afterall, Jesus was certainly not a political activist, and no where in the gospels do we see Jesus rallying any political overthrows of Caesar. In fact he said "render to Caesar, what is Caesar's". Jesus was however, all about changing the hearts around him, helping people reunite in relationship with the Father and His will. Jesus knew that the religious and political laws could never change anyone, yet he loved us, died for us and gave us his spirit to live within our hearts.

I truly believe we as Christians, should be more concerned about loving people and showing them the God we serve, rather than trying to impart laws for our own self-centered, self-concerned motives...and then claim that "its what God wants". I think what God wants is people to turn to him in his appointed times, not for America to have the most Bible based laws. Therefore, I think our part as followers of Christ should be to be a light to our fellow humanity and country men. In which they can see the life and love of God emitting from us and will too want to be apart of what God has for them.


  1. This is a wonderful blog to follow. I always want to comment but you say it so well, I don't have much to say but that I agree!

  2. well hey, thanks. Feel free to comment no matter what, I like feedback, even negitave :)

  3. This is certainly a topic I feel very strongly about. I completely agree with your comment "I don't see it as any greater a 'sin', than premarital sex, lust, lying, or gossip." I'm not exactly sure how homosexuality was taken to this invisible sin platform that makes it so much greater in society's eyes than any other. Isn't it ultimately God who will judge the lives we've lived and the decisions we've made? With that said, who are we to decide what rights someone should be given? While a certain lifestyle may or may not be right for you, one has to agree that a person is no less a person merely because they are homosexual. It's quite sad actually that this group of society is discriminated upon just as many other ethnic and socio-economic classes have been.

  4. "As long as someone elses choices do not infringe on the way others live, I pretty much think people should be allowed to do it."

    Has to be balanced with:

    "I truly believe we as Christians, should be more concerned about loving people and showing them the God we serve, rather than trying to impart laws for our own self-centered, self-concerned motives...and then claim that "its what God wants"."

    It's discerning when one overpowers the other that political disagreement occurs. You used the examples of abortion and gay marriage as issues that we Christians ought not confront in the political arena. I assume this is because you are claiming they fall under the category of "choices [that] do not infringe on the way others live". I guess I just can't agree with your classification. Abortion obviously infringes on one party's life. Gay marriage certainly infringes directly on any children raised in such a home, and indirectly in perverting our society's sense of normalcy.

    There is a big difference between the message the lack of law concerning homosexuality communicates, (We should not persecute others even if we find them gross) and the message a law that actually endorses, legitimizes, and cultivates a particular lifestyle, such as a gay marriage law does.

    Consider this applied to another issue such as drugs. It would be one thing to legalize drugs. (which I support) It would communicate that there is a segment of our population that is going to damage themselves regardless of any laws, and there is nothing we can do about it. It would be another thing to create a cultural acceptance of drug use through some kind of civic ceremony or institution... say the government opened up official crack houses and opium dens, provided the drugs, and taught in schools that being a drug addict was a perfectly normal, healthy choice. I am not saying a homosexual is "as bad as" a drug addict, my point is about government adjusting cultural norms though laws. This would communicate something else entirely than simply letting drugs be legal.

    So to say something like gay marriage "doesn't hurt anyone" is to make implicit claims about what "hurt" and who "anyone" counts as. Does a general decline in moral sensitivity count as "hurt"? Does the affect of our cultural norms on almost every person in that culture count as "anyone"?

    I agree that no Christian should be getting angry or vitriolic about these issues, but I disagree that they are strictly interior "heart issues".

  5. Joshua is right in that it affects the whole society detrimentally. People like to argue that homosexuality doesn't hurt anyone but it does. I also keep hearing the argument that it's not against nature because you see it at times in animals as well - animals eat their own excrement and eat each other raw too, so that doesn't really help the argument.

    However, it's also true that making laws doesn't help much. I'm undecided about the whole business of law because it does help in some ways, lets people know what's acceptable in a society but it doesn't keep them from breaking the laws as well as we might like. Laws based on peoples' preferences may be the only fair way on earth but it doesn't mean it's the best.

  6. but what Im saying is we should attack the heart, not the law. Im aware of the effects, and yes in the case of abortion I would definitly say it infringes upon anothers life(a babys).

    but society is going to do those things anyway, whether there is a law about it or not

    I guess the whole point of the blog wasnt to argue whether it hurts anyone. It was really just to say I feel we should help hearts change rather than laws. Im not worried about the laws, and if you change them you still have another issue...the heart of those people that WANT to do it. they dont come to God by you implicating a law that says "you have to do it this way"

    if you affect a persons heart an show them the right way in love...the need for such a law becomes irrelevent. thats my point

  7. I've been wondering if meeting someone who exuded the presence of the Almighty would have made a difference to me. Does that actually 'change anyone's heart'? I think not unless it's someone who I had regular contact with. What's the point of walking around overflowing with the spirit? Does it help anyone but ourselves?

    I do remember for a while not paying any attention to anything about myself, all my focus was on I AM and 'his' love for everyone. It DID make a lot of difference, I saw lots of people affected and changing their lives. I wonder why I don't care to always be like that?

  8. Again, I agree with Josh in that the goverment shouldnt persay "cultivate" for changing social norms, and that yes in a way it DOES effect other people negatively. But I just dont think changing the law one way or the other deals with the "heart" of the matter which the heart of the people that would endorse abortion or gay marriage regardless of its legal.

    Id rather try and show those people love and the God I serve and let true social transformation change through that, while in the process help bring someone to Christ.