Abominations: Why shouldn't gay marriage be treated like idolatry?

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Over in this post, I argue that gay marriage should be legal even though it is immoral. In making my argument, I point out that worshipping other gods is immoral, yet perfectly legal. In fact, it is one of our most cherished freedoms here in America.

In the comments of that post, William claims that homosexuality, being called an abomination in the Bible, is a special case even though he agrees with my argument in general. The reasoning is that abominations are so much more immoral than your standard sins that they require legislation to restrict them even if you think that morality should not be legislated.

Then of course Rocky brings up shrimp and then to keep the discussion about abominations from hijacking the entire thread, Jeremy writes an intriguing and surprising post about abominations (which I largely agree with but require further study before I can support it wholeheartedly).

However...there is still one main point about Abominations as they relate to Legislating Morality that still hasn't been brought up, thus necessitating yet another post. Here goes:

Regardless of what you think about shrimp's current status as an abomination or what you think about abominations being limited in time; regardless of the fact that it is homosexual sex, not homosexual marriage is what is called an abomination, which would then require William to outlaw homosexual activity; regardless of all of that, homosexual sex is called an abomination (Lev 18:22, 20:13).

And so is idolatry and worshipping other gods (Deut 7:25, 13:13-14).

Homosexuality has the same standing as abomination as worshipping other gods. The freedom to do the latter is a first amendment right. Immoral but legal. An abomination but legal. Not only legal, but that legality (more commonly referred to as a Freedom or Right) is Highly Cherished. By Christians. Frequently the same Christians who oppose the legality of gay marriage. Which is an abomination. Just like worshipping other gods.

Do I need to go on?

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In a post at Parableman, it is put forward that although homosexuality is clearly not approved in the bible there is a first amendement right for it's legalisation. The argument, in essence, is that: "Homosexuality has the same standing as abomin... Read More

The topic is not something I would normally choose. I don't like to go bulldozing in where the emotional payload is so high that little of worth gets said. but...here I am... thanks to Parableman. I just can't let it... Read More


So, Wink, your argument, then, is that everything that is referred to as an abomination in Scripture should be legal, since it is legal in our country to worship other gods? It seems to me that this is VERY far from what God wants us to conclude when he tells us these things are abominations.
At the very least your argument seems to be that homosexuality should be legal, since it is referred to as an abomination, as is worshipping false gods, which we allow. But it seems to me if you argue that, you can apply the same argument to anything else which is referred to in Scripture as an abomination. Presumably you are still drawing the line at "civil" laws, but I'd like to hear what your definition of civil laws is, and how you can back up drawing such a line from Scripture.

David - I'm sorry. You misunderstand the point of this post, probably because I did not make it clear enough. In this post, I am not trying to argue that all abominations should be legal. You have to take this post in the context of the links included in the post.

In particular, I am responding to William's notion that my basic political system is correct, but that Homosexual Marriage should be an exception to it because it holds the status of abomination.

William, as far as I can tell, at the same time thinks that it should be legal (though immoral) to worship other gods.

I was trying to point out that worshipping other gods is also called an abomination, and thus his rationale for why homosexual marriage should be an exception to my system is flawed or inconsistent.

I was in no way trying to assert that all abominations should be legal. The whole point of this series of posts is to assert that the morality of certain behaviors should at most play a secondary role in determining if there should be laws restricting it. Thus, if there is sufficient civil value in restricting one abomination but not another, then one should be legal and the other not. But the focus is here on the civil value, not the status as abomination.

Ok. I suppose that makes sense.
I still would like to know what exactly your definition of "civil value" is. How do you assess whether something is valuable or not if you have no moral basis for that assessment? That is, the Bible tells us what is good and bad. We can use that to tell us not only if our laws themselves are good or bad, but if the consequences they lead to are good or bad (which is one way of assessing whether we should have a certain law). But if you refuse to use the Bible as your standard, it's not clear to me what standard you're left with.
And I still would like to see what Biblical basis you have for arguing that "civil value" rather than the Biblical notion of right and wrong should be the basis for laws.

As I define it in this post (read the whole thing, plus the other links in this post--it'll be fun!), civil values are "values which either ensure the safety/order of society (think traffic laws and zoning laws) or the more important values of freedom, democracy, life, liberty, etc. which are laid out in our Founding Documents (Constitution and Dec of Ind). Note: this latter category trumps the safety/order laws."

You ask what the basis is for assesing civil value? The Constitution and other founding documents. In essence, what I am saying is that Legal documents should be the basis for our laws. And that the Bible should be the basis for our morality. They should not be confused.

Morality is much bigger than legality, and quite different as well. They certainly overlap, but one does not encompass the other.

You and some others have said that the Bible is your ultimate authority. It is for me too. But I do not confuse it with the law of our land. My political philosophy is based on our circumstances as they now stand;

Should the Bible be the basis for our laws? That is a different question. As it stands right now, the Bible isn't the basis for our laws. The Constitution and other legal documents are. And my argument about legislating morality is meant to be consistent with our current political reality.

Now if the Bible should be the basis for our laws, then we would need to radically change our legal system to make that happen. Basically, we would need to become a theocracy along the lines of ancient Israel or the coming eschatalogical Kingdom of Heaven. I look forward to the day when morality and legality are one and the same. But for now they aren't and--because I think that Separation of Chruch and State is the healthiest situation for the church in our current circumstances--they shouldn't be.

So as for the "Biblical basis [I] have for arguing that "civil value" rather than the Biblical notion of right and wrong should be the basis for laws", well, I don't have one except to say that nowhere can I find an expectation by God that nations besides Israel should use Scripture as the basis for their laws. When Christ said to "render unto Caesar", there was no expectation that the taxes were based on Scriptures. Christ was legitimizing the Roman government despite the fact that it was very clearly non-Scriptural in basis. So while I cannot point to a biblical basis for "civil value", I can point out that God does not demand nor expect pagan governments to use Scripture as the basis for its laws.

I apologize for asking you to define something you'd already defined. I had already read that post, plus all the related posts on here and all the comments, but the definition didn't stick with me for some reason. Thanks for clarifying. I understand what you mean now.

So let me ask this question: How do we decide if something is ensuring "safety", in your scheme? That is, is incest "safe"? What about kids -- is it safe for homosexual "parents" to adopt or have children (not speaking abuse -- but about the fact that it's quite clear, both from the Bible and otherwise, that the thing that's best for kids is to have a mom and a dad)? And illegal drug use -- some argue that illegal drugs only harm the individual, but abuse of them has societal costs as well. Even smoking has societal costs, although it is still legal. I'm interested in your answers to some of these specifics -- does it promote freedom and safety to allow illegal drug use? What if the two are in opposition?

I think in every case, you ultimately must make a moral decision: For example, is it morally better to prevent people from harming themselves and hurting society (even if just by the medical costs) by abusing illegal drugs, or to allow them to do whatever they want?

What I'm saying is that at some point, you have to make a moral judgment about what is better and what is worse; I'm curious to see how you propose to do this without reference to Biblical morality.

Also, back to your argument about the Constitution as the basis... There are certain things it doesn't speak to. For example, whether incest should be allowed, etc. I suppose you could argue that since people are entitled to the "pursuit of happiness" it should be legal -- but the laws put in place during the time of the founders (which, presumably, they were involved in) certainly didn't seem to look at it that way.

Keep in mind that Wink is using 'moral' in a way unlike what seems to me to be the normal use. He means something more like 'merely religious'. The reasons to avoid some of those things are not moral in his sense but civic. Preventing people from harming society certainly is civic, and it's an open question whether preventing people from harming themselves is.

By the way, I don't know anyone who wants to take children from a male-female couple and give them to a gay couple. I know lots of people who think it would be better to have two parents of the same sex than to have no parents, and I tend to agree with them. That's why gay people should be able to adopt.

David - I think that we are making real headway in understanding each other. Most of your questions about specifics are answered in my newly posted FAQ. See my answers to question #3.

at some point, you have to make a moral judgment about what is better and what is worse; I'm curious to see how you propose to do this without reference to Biblical morality.

I think that my answer to question #1 and its important caveat should satisfy you. If not, let me know.

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