"Libertarian?" my friend asked, incredulous. "You want to legalize drugs? Do you know what that does to a society? Our national fabric will unravel."
I don't think so. Our pagan national fabric has never been raveled. And what is not raveled cannot come unraveled.
"Libertarian?" another friend challenged. "You don't want marriage licenses?"
Correct. Since when should government be in the business of regulating covenants?
In previous posts on the government, I have argued that we are not and have never been a Christian nation. And the evidence is on my side. What we are is a pagan nation because we have never acknowledged that God is the Lord.
I'm going to shift terms, though, and call us a pluralistic society because we Christian Americans also make up a portion of our society. The question at stake is what we Christians, who find ourselves citizens of a constitutional republic in a pluralistic society, should expect from our government.
Romans 1:18-20 reminds us that everyone has a conscience, a sense of right and wrong:
"The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Romans 13:8-10 says:
"The commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (emphasis mine)
Let's call the things that everyone believes to be wrong "natural law," for lack of a better term. Combine natural law with not doing any harm to our neighbor, and I think we have a recipe for a sufficient government in our pluralistic constitutional republic.
Richard Maybury, in his books Whatever Happened to Justice? and Liberal? Conservative? or Confused?, says that a good government of many peoples will have just two requirements for any law:
1. Do all you have agreed to do.
2. Do not encroach upon any person or his property.
Sounds an awful lot like Romans 13...
These two requirements will promote justice and domestic tranquility in this country. Ah, but that means...
...while we should have laws against abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research, we should not have laws against fornication. And while we should have laws prosecuting to the fullest extent anyone involved in NAMBLA, we should not have any more proposition 8's. We should protect signed contracts, our property rights, and those too young to speak for themselves, but we should not regulate the private behavior of consenting adults.
Let me clarify here that homosexuality is a sin. Abusing our bodies with drugs is a sin. Pornography, fornication, and prostitution are all sins--because God said so. Period.
But I would suggest that the difference between "crime" and "sin" is that crime is an encroachment against some other person or his rights, while sin is anything that offends God. Crime is merely the subset of all sin which falls under a government's jurisdiction. As for the rest of sinful behavior, the Church should discipline sin in the believer; God will punish sin in the unbeliever.
(Can I just pause here and say that there are believers out there--post-millenialists, they call themselves--who think we are IN the millennium, that things are getting better? Kind of makes me think they got some bad weed. Oh wait. Pot hasn't been legalized yet. Personally, I'm more inclined to agree with Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation: "Take a look around you, Marilyn. We're standing on the threshold of Hell." Preach it, Clark.)
And why is it important to get this right? Because while good government is a noble aim, it is not the end game. God's glory is the end game. And the Cross is the greatest symbol of God's glory. And the purpose of the Cross was to redeem the lost. Christians in politics forcing our values into law will not win the lost. It will not change their hearts. Scripture tells us that already. It will only serve to make them hate us even more. The Gospel already makes them hate us. How dare we add any other fuel to that holy fire?! That is not a fire for us to build. That is God's fire.
I'll close with God's words rather than mine.
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the Church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside." I Corinthians 5:12