Imposing Morality

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“Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.”

Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.

Dear visionaries,

Linda writes that she remembers a public debate some years ago, during the fight over Proposition One [a referendum in Idaho that sought to restrict special rights for homosexuals]. In that fracas, an attorney who is a frequent contributor to Credenda Agenda, advocated stoning as an appropriate (and biblically sanctioned) punishment for gays and lesbians. She went on to ask whether execution was the ultimate goal for those of them who didn’t accept my exhortation to “abandon fruitlessness?”

As it happens I was one of the panelists that very same night, and I remember the debate well. At the conclusion of the evening one gentleman to my left in the audience, hoicked up a sign that said “No hate here.” With his free hand he was flipping me off with twenty percent of a wave. He was apparently unburdened by any sense of irony.

And what my co-panelist actually did was refuse to apologize for any portion of the Bible when he was presented with a loaded question. Presented with the same loaded question, I am not about to shuffle my feet with embarrassment. I am a Christian who believes the Bible, and it says what it does about homosexual and heterosexual sins alike. But the agitprop out-of-state crowd that night (signs on virtually every lap) was in no mood for any careful exegetical answers. I actually had a note prepared for the moderator asking him to call the cops in case it became necessary. One of the homosexual participants on the panel that night later wrote me a note of apology for the behavior of the crowd. So I wouldn’t bring up that night as a shining example of what you all mean by tolerance and diversity. If anyone felt threatened that night, it wasn’t the gays.

As for the question whether execution of homosexuals is our ultimate goal, the answer is that the Christian faith is not established by the sword, but rather through preaching the gospel and living the gospel persuasively in our lives. But at the same time, note that if (centuries down the road) a Christian legal order does develop, it will reflect a Christian ethic — just as the Enlightenment legal order currently reflects an Enlightenment ethic. We happen to believe a Christian community would be far more genuinely tolerant than the one we live in now. So the question is not whether certain behaviors will be outlawed, but which and how many behaviors will be outlawed and on what basis. By what standard? as I am fond of asking.

Linda also argues that Moscow, Latah County, and the state of Idaho offer little protection for those citizens who are gay or lesbian. She says there are no laws or policies protecting our employment, our housing, or our families. She claims that gays and lesbians can be fired or evicted without any other cause than their sexual orientation.

But let us make this particular. Notice that she is actually calling for laws that would force the elderly Lutheran widow Schwartz to rent out her apartment to a homosexual couple. I understand why you would want to do this (imposing morality is inescapable). All law is imposed morality. The only question is which morality shall be imposed. You are currently imposing your morality on us. What I don’t understand is why you all refuse to see that this is what you are doing.

So things may change sometime centuries down the road. But when this happens, you need to know that both believers and non-believers would have a great deal more actual freedom in their lives than they currently do.

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