Click to Convict

A few weeks ago, Rod Dreher posted a clip of Thomas More being willing to give the devil “the benefit of law.” This was offered in the context of the Kim Davis uproar, about which a great deal of unhelpful nonsense continues to be thought and written. Pope Francis recently weighed in with his view that liberty of conscience is a human right, which of course, it is. But that remains entirely beside the point.

Our task is not to figure out an arrangement whereby righteous persons can work in wicked public offices without getting sullied. The task is to prevent our public offices from becoming wicked. Should those offices, which represent us all, operate in defiance of the holy law of God?

Private persons should not be coerced into approval of what they know to be sin — that is where liberty of conscience applies. Assuming that something can be sinful without being criminal, a free citizen should have the right to disassociate himself from it, to not approve of it. But the public magistrate does not have liberty of conscience in this same way. The magistrate is God’s deacon, God’s servant, and is solemnly charged by God to reward the righteous and punish the wrong-doer (Rom. 13:1-4). This cannot be confounded with rewarding the wicked and punishing the righteous. That would be to frame mischief with a law (Ps. 94:20). And when the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do (Ps. 11:3)?

But with all that said, I agree with More’s point profoundly. You do not waive the law in order to get at the devil, for when you have done so, you find that you have no way to stand when he turns on you. More is talking about the importance of the rule of law, even when you desire to prosecute the devil.

But this is quite different than standing by silently as you give the devil leave to write the laws, and to amend the laws as he pleases. I am with More if we are talking about honoring man-made laws, even if the defendant is the devil himself. But suppose the devil is the prosecutor. Now what?

Thomas More was talking about men who wanted to dispense with the rules of justice in order to achieve their idea of a “higher justice.” If the culprit is known by us to be guilty, then why bother with trials and evidence? Why bother with hearing from both sides? We already are convinced in our own minds of the answer, and so let us proceed directly to the sentencing. This is the demented logic of lynch mobs, a subject I flatter myself as knowing something about.

There I was, I will tell my great-grandchildren, sitting on skittish horse, hands behind my back, rope around my neck, and a learned academic voice called out from the crowd, “Ya! What does someone like you know about Girard?”

If there is one thing that Christians need to learn more about in this “click to convict” era, it is the importance of due process, presumption of innocence, hearing both sides argued, and so on. Those interested can learn more about it in A Justice Primer, a book I wrote together with Randy Booth.

Here is Andrew Sandlin’s blurb for the book, on our understanding of justice:

“Liberals love to prattle about “social justice” while conservatives often marginalize “justice” and prioritize love. Both are wrong. Liberal justice is usually injustice, parading as sentimental moralism, and contrary to much conservative belief, justice is an exhibition of love. In this book, two seasoned, Bible-believing pastors delineate the Bible’s frequent and wide-ranging teaching on justice and show how it is to be achieved in both church and culture, from blogs to juries. It is a welcome antidote to the pervasively sentimentalist — and unjust — moralisms of our time.”

And, with More, I would want to follow all these principles though the indicted man were the devil himself. But if the devil is the prosecutor, and has swathed himself in a multitude of wicked laws, you can be assured that none of them will protect anyone’s rights. The devil is an accuser, and he detests anything that might slow his accusations down.

So what I outlined above — presumption of innocence, due process, and others like them, like the right to face your accuser — are what More would call man-made laws. But they are man-made methods for implementing biblical principles. They are instituted in a fallen world, which means that they might have the result of allowing a very guilty person to get off. But better that, More argues, than to insist on hanging a guilty man, but at the expense of mowing down all the laws which protect a hundred innocent men.

So we must never mow down the law to get at the devil. But not everything that is called a law is in fact a law in this older sense. Our current “law” allows for the dismemberment of little children, and that by the million. Our law does prohibit selling the pieces of these children, requiring instead that the children be thrown in a dumpster. Let us call it a dignity dumpster. That kind of law is protecting no one. That kind of law is what 50 million of our people needed protection from. Moreover, when the law prohibiting the sale of baby parts is openly violated, our lawless rulers not only refuse to prosecute, they openly refuse to cease subsidizing the practice. So our laws on this subject are not laws which, if removed, would allow the devil to turn on us. These laws are the devil turning on us.

And the laws of matrimony are not currently being upheld by our rulers, and merely extended to people who happen to be a little more creative with their sex organs. No, the goal is the abolition of marriage. These laws are not mildly adjusted marriage laws. They are laws which will have the effect, in the very near future, of nullifying and/or outlawing marriage. These current laws are not standing between us and the devil. These laws are the devil.

So then, in answer to an inaccurate application of More’s principles to the resistance of lesser magistrates, we are not trying to mow down the law to get at the devil. The devil is mowing down the laws of many centuries in order to get at us.

And still the majority of Christians believe that they have a duty to stand by and watch it happen.

149
Leave a Reply

avatar
 
11 Comment threads
138 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
27 Comment authors
Kelly M. HaggarKrychek_2timothyLauraJohn Angelico Recent comment authors

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
jigawatt
Guest
jigawatt

Kim Davis was, until very recently, a Democrat. Maybe all she did was just take that whole “Question Authority” thing to heart.

insanitybytes22
Member

That’s a good point. Maybe she was just “questioning authority” and “fighting the man.” Those things are perceived as positives on one side of the aisle, they believe in civil disobedience. You only become a lawbreaker when you go rogue and off script. If she had gotten arrested fighting for Planned Parenthood or against global warming, she’d be a hero and a celebrity.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

You kidding? To many people, she’s a hero and a celebrity now. Not the same group of people among whom she’d be a hero if she were fighting for Planned Parenthood, but at this point she could probably retire and write her memoirs and be set for life.

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

When Paul said the magistrate is God’s deacon/servant and given the task of rewarding righteousness and punishing evil-doers, he had Roman magistrates in view. He was telling Christians in Rome that, generally, they’re required to submit to them. But Roman magistrates weren’t doing too much to enforce anything that’s distinctive to the holy law of God. If Roman magistrates were nonetheless doing enough in their divinely appointed task for Paul to readily identify them as God’s servants, then it looks like the kind of righteousness and evil-doing they’re given to reward and restrain is something significantly less comprehensive than the… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Which is saying what, exactly? Pardon my obliqueness…

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

Just that I doubt Paul is saying that God’s mandate to the civil magistrate is to enforce the entirety of the holy law of God. A better candidate for what he’s talking about is a set of rules that promote social peace and provide protection from certain kinds of harms and intrusions.

AMA
Guest
AMA

You’re running and no one’s chasing, Kyle. I don’t think Pastor Wilson is saying the civil magistrate should enforce the entirety of the holy law of God. For instance, the law of God condemns lust and hateful thoughts, but the civil magistrate has no right to criminalize these things unless they are made manifest through the acts of adultery or murder.

drewnchick
Member

Then is it not most loathsome that the civ gov has concentrated on punishing our thoughts and speech while neglecting to punish actual adultery and murder?

Note: I DO think our civil magistrates should enforce the holy Law of God. How can they do any better?? What that looks like would 1) make for interesting and perhaps never-ending conversation, and 2) shock our Western, modern senses. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing…

Xon
Guest
Xon

So ISIS isn’t wrong in principle with their western, modern-sensibility-shocking legal system. They’re just wrong in which shocking system they happen to be putting in place, and in whose name.

ashv
Guest
ashv

They’re exactly as wrong as the moderns: they are self-declared enemies of God.

Katecho
Member

I think AM (and perhaps Kyle Swan) is just pointing out that the civic magistrate is not charged with enforcing God’s law outside of their particular jurisdiction. For example, children should not talk back disrespectfully to their mother, but that doesn’t mean we need to appoint a federal prosecutor for such cases. Unrepentant blasphemers should be excommunicated from the Church, but that doesn’t mean we need a civic statute covering the issue. The proper realm of civic jurisdiction is actually quite limited in scope, and the basics are something most magistrates are familiar with, even in the U.S. There are… Read more »

AMA
Guest
AMA

That is just one interpretation, Kyle. Isn’t it also quite possible that Paul was speaking of magistrates as they should be? The fact that he does not actually mention Rome actually supports the idea that he was speaking generally on the God-ordained functions of government (i.e., promote righteousness/justice and punish evil). Understanding Romans 13 as a prescription for true governance rather than a justification for the lawlessness of Rome further supports the idea that Christianity is counter-cultural. Paul, as a citizen of Rome, could not explicitly condemn the Empire for its godless governance, but he certainly wrote Romans 13 in… Read more »

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer. I meant to be saying that Paul *is* talking about magistrates as they should be. What I said is compatible with that. It’s also compatible with thinking that Bonhoeffer was right to resist and rebel against the Nazis (which I do think).

Steve Perry
Guest
Steve Perry

How then shall we live? By the King Swan standard, or the King James standard? Where should the civil magistrates derive their standards from? Rome was a mustard seed.

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

If you read carefully, Steve, you should see that I think that civil magistrates should govern within the limits that God has mandated and ordained for that office.

Steve Perryy
Guest
Steve Perryy

What in the law of God do you think should not be applied by the civil magistrates? And as far as Bonhoeffer and his resistance, can you distinguish between his and the pastor who would take the life of an abortionist? Sounds like you are saying both are ok.

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

Yikes, Steve. The list of things that God requires, but doesn’t require that civil magistrates enforce, is long. I’ll just say again that I think Paul has in mind a set of rules that promote social peace and provide protection from certain kinds of harms and intrusions. The civil magistrate who does that, and just that, fulfills the divine mandate for the office.

I can’t imagine anything I’ve said sounding like it’s ok to murder anyone.

Steve Perry
Guest
Steve Perry

You are avoiding the question. You know that the question is dealing with the laws of the magistrate. And for your quote, “It’s also compatible with thinking that Bonhoeffer was right to resist and rebel against the Nazis (which I do think).” So you disagree with Bonhoeffer that Hitler should have been assonated.

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

I didn’t give you a list, Steve, but I did give you a test. Here it is again: If a magistrate imposes a coercive law that attempts to do more than merely promote the social peace or protect people from certain kinds of harms, then they exceed their divine mandate. About Bonhoeffer: I suppose I agree with 99% of the population who thinks both that he was right to approve of the assassination of Hitler and that it’s wrong to murder abortion providers. We could talk about why these two things are compatible but it’s not really relevant. The only… Read more »

Steve Perry
Guest
Steve Perry

Kyle, please give me an example of your test? Can you be specific as to what holy law of God, the magistrate might impose that is coercive and attempts to do more than merely promote the social peace or protect the people? Is there any way that you, like David can say, “O how I love thy law, it is my meditation day and night”? Can you be specific as to loving justice and not mercy alone? And as to Bonhoeffer; well then you just decided with the entire 99% of the German population. Kill the Jews. Are you really… Read more »

K Swan
Guest
K Swan

Ok, Steve. I’ll answer the question you asked that’s closest to being coherent. Any of a variety of Sabbath laws, if enacted and coercively enforced, would be examples of magistrates overstepping their God-ordained functions. They aren’t necessary to promote the social peace or protect people from the relevant sort of harms. So, look, all of the following are true: (1) God wants people to observe the Sabbath; (2) God wants ministers of the gospel to enforce Sabbath-observing in the congregations they lead; (3) God does not want civil magistrates to legally enforce Sabbath-observing among the citizenry; oh and (4) Kyle… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Ah, it all seems so clear. Uphold God’s righteous Law with the laws of our land, imperfect though they may be at diverse times and in sundry places. Disobey the devil’s unholy laws when adapted by our land. The government, as God’s ordained servant, bears the sword–by God’s design–to decapitate duly convicted murderers and to defend the citizenry from attacking enemies, not to dismember unwanted infants or to force (with the pointy end) conscientious objectors into coughing up $135K for not making cakes. Why can’t we understand this? Why can’t we see that Kim Davis, regardless of her history, has… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Davis is not a good example to follow. On these facts, the judge was correct to jail her. Instead, my recommendation is to support the bakers in CO and OR.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Agree with Kelly on all counts. Bakers and florists should be left alone; people who work for the government, not so much.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Sorry for the confusion; I don’t agree w/me on all counts. Again, if Davis had only asked for an accommodation for HERSELF and then quit there, she would have been right and the judge wrong if he had still sent her to jail. Where she crossed the line, and belonged in jail, was when she ordered her deputies to also not issue any such license in defiance of a lawful* court order. (Her original order was that no one got a license, period, which is why some of the plaintiffs were straight couples.) So I think gummit employees can get… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Jail time for Davis might be the natural consequence for her actions under the current laws, but that in no way indicates that she acted wrongly or even poorly. The Apostles were regularly jailed for obeying God rather than men, and many of them were even executed under their current regimes. It’s been this way throughout history; Christians have always been commended–nay, required–to live by a higher standard than the evil machinations of unrighteous men who make for themselves ungodly laws. Davis only “belongs in jail” because we have unholy laws saying so. Why wouldn’t Davis wear this result as… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

What exactly were the Apostles jailed for?

drewnchick
Member

Disobeying the authorities, preaching Jesus, causing riots…why do you ask?

Laura
Guest
Laura

Because I am wondering if you really mean to equate preaching the Gospel with refusing to sign marriage certificates. To me, the Gospel is about a lot more than “gay people can’t marry”.

If your point is that she’s a witness b/c she is standing firm on her convictions, well, a lot of people stand firm on their convictions. The head of Planned Parenthood has been standing firm that they need to continue providing abortions and haven’t been doing anything wrong. That’s not a witness for the Gospel.

drewnchick
Member

Not sure of your angle or purpose here, Laura. The Gospel is the gloriously good news that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died as the atonement for the sins of His people, that we might not be condemned before a holy God but rather live with Him eternally as His beloved children. Now, knowing this, we are immediately confronted with the concept of sin, and the Law of God defines this for us, rightly condemning us and simultaneously pointing us through lovely symbolic example to our need of a Savior. Among the litany of sins for which we are… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

My question is:

For the unbeliever who has never been to church or exposed to the Gospel at all, what is Kim Davis’s stance, and going to jail for it, a witness to?

That person already knows that evangelical Christianity frowns on same-sex marriage.

That person already sees people all over the place stand on all kinds of principles.

drewnchick
Member

Well, in light of that specific question, Davis’ stance is a witness to “that person” who already knows and already sees…as well as the rest of the population who doesn’t quite get it.
Davis’s stance is courage, conviction, obeying a higher Authority, AND a proper understanding of her role as a lesser magistrate.

Maybe “that person” to whom you referred is not aware of the “lesser magistrate” doctrine, which is foundational to our Republic and supported in Scripture. And maybe that’s all the witness she need bear…

drewnchick
Member

But I think Davis IS a good example. I think she is upholding GOD’s righteous Law by refusing to enforce man’s unholy law–namely, the sanctioning of a sodomite covenant. I think if all God-honoring Christians in civil service today acted similarly–really, truly, and without any compromising of God’s righteous Law–we would see immediate upheaval in our nation, but it would be very much of the good and long-needed kind. It would be akin to flipping us back right-side up. My concern is that Kim Davis is going to be strung up by the ungodly media and courts, and any jury… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

“They will think jail is a fitting end for her, and the resolve among other Christians pondering the meaning of Scripture will take another step back into the dark recesses of their ghetto mentality.” Can’t think of a different way to say this . . . but my read of human law is that she is wrong, and my read of Scripture is that she should have either (a) stayed in jail or (b 1) stepped aside to let others sign or (b 2) resigned her position to let others sign and then (c) tried to change the human law,… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Perhaps “human law” says she did something illegal, but that is not the same thing as doing something wrong. I believe she was RIGHT, regardless of what our evil “human laws” have to say about it. I wonder what your counsel would have been to John Adams as he contemplated disobeying the Crown. Would you have advised George Washington to stand down? Do you think Rosa Parks was “wrong” for sitting wherever she pleased on that bus, in clear defiance of human law? My read of Scripture suggests that there definitely ARE times when it is appropriate to say to… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

You might not know this, but Plessy, the 1896 case which gave us “separate but equal” until Brown (1954), was cooked up by the street car line. They objected to buying and maintaining two half full cars just so some clowns could make the blacks ride in a different car. Griswold, the CT 1965 married birth control pill case which gave us the “right to privacy” lurking in emanations in a penumbra, which then led to Roe/abortion in 1973, was cooked up as a faculty stunt – – according to Robert Bork – – of the Yale law school. They… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

Yes, I do realize the truth of your last query, and it saddens me greatly that we all but completely lost any idea of Constitutionalism, States’ Rights, State citizenry, or any other founding principle of this Republic. It’s basically gone, which I would presume is exactly what the power-mongers in DC wanted all along. All the rest of it (Plessy, Brown, Giswold, Roe, Obergefell, and essentially every Bureau ever created) are merely the natural fruit of a wild vine that never got its annual trimming. Hacking that monstrosity back to size will be nigh impossible, for the vine is now… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Who writes the history books? If she’s mentioned at all, it will be with George Wallace standing in the school house door.

Sorry for the broken record, but instead of putting our saddles on Davis, we should instead be “riding to the sound of the guns” with the bakers in OR and CO.

Lance Roberts
Guest

No, she is no government employee, she is an elected official and is supposed to stand for what’s right. My only problem with her is that she compromised in the end.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Let’s skip all the legal analysis and go with solely Christianity. (May not help much; lots of disagreement here between literal/elect and those such as yours truly who hold neither belief.) 1. Elected officials are supposed to follow the law, not whatever they decide is “what’s right.” Otherwise we have chaos, not liberty. How often has mob rule done the “right” thing? 2. When she ordered her clerks to also not issue any licenses, she violated their religious freedom in the identical manner she claimed the feds were violating her freedom. She has no right to presume they hold her… Read more »

Lance Roberts
Guest

The Supreme Court is not allowed to make law, that is a legislative duty. They can only rule on a specific case, and then people usually go along because they don’t want to keep going to court and losing. Davis was following the Constitution of the State of Kentucky and therefore fulfilled her duties. Ultimately, she is also responsible to uphold God’s laws and fulfilled that duty. The clerks were her employees and were required to follow her instructions or quit. She is not required to quit since she was doing her duty, but the people could recall her and… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Perhaps before your time here, but we’ve flogged Art 6 Sec 2 (supremacy clause) a LOT in the last few weeks.

Lance Roberts
Guest

Yes, I’m pretty itinerant here, though I’ve been reading Wilson’s stuff for 30 years or so.

John Angelico
Guest
John Angelico

IIRC, her instruction to staff was to not issue licenses with her name on them. Is that a valid point of difference? As a foreigner here (I reside in Australia and our inherited legal system is different in some respects to yours), I am trying to sift out the actual facts of what Kim Davis actually did, and which law was in force. I see Lance Roberts below adding information to this discussion, too. Is marriage “licencing” a power reserved for States or is it a Federal power (which is the case in Australia’s Constitution)? IOW, was the case before… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Two issues, as plain vanilla as I know how to explain this to a non-US citizen layman: 1. Marriages are a state matter, not a federal one . . . or for almost 200 years they were. You still can’t declare bankruptcy in a state court; you still can’t get a divorce in a federal one. Our system was set up so the feds could only do what was expressly given to it while the states could do anything which had not been bargained away to the national government. That’s why a state can’t declare war or recognize another country.… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Excuse the “he said/she said” nature of these two Kim Davis stories; lots of articles about the current Pope’s comments encourage or anger both sides. Climate change is another obvious example where both sides can find a paragraph in support of their position. He’s a hero on gay rights one minute (“Who am I to judge?”) and a fool the next (for meeting her at all in any capacity for any reason; see http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-1001-popefranciskimdavis-20151001-story.html ). To the extent that human law has any effect on people’s view of what Kim Davis did, the Pope is on firm ground when he… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

A Justice Primer is a great book, by the way. And Randy Booth is a great pastor, too! He makes great hot sauce, peach wine, and conversation. He knows a little something about the “click-to-convict” culture as well. I have much enjoyed picking my teeth with him on his front porch after a wonderful meal…while he picked my brain. Apart. With love, of course, and much edification. I’ve seen him rejoice, and I’ve seen him weep. I’ve watched him build a church of both the human type and the structural type. He has a great laugh. Buy the book. It’s… Read more »

Benjamin Bowman
Guest

But even when the devil “wins” (as he did with Christ on the cross) he loses.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Suppose a Roman magistrate at the time of St. Paul had converted to Christianity, then come to Paul, and said, “My Christian conscience will not allow me to do my job as a Roman magistrate; what shall I do?” What do you think Paul would have told him?

Mark Hanson
Guest
Mark Hanson

The general reaction of the early church was to avoid public office and soldiering, in order to not be required to participate in the official idolatry required in Roman service. Right up until the time of Constantine, when Christians could serve without idolatrous worship.

Edit: Fixed it. So there.

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

“avoid public office and soldering”

Would that have been due to a misinterpretation of Leviticus 19:19?
(“You shall not mix together two kinds of metal..?) :)

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

I think part of the disconnect in this conversation is that some are under the impression that this is a Christian country, and that has not been true for a long time, except in name only. This is not Israel under King Ahab; this is Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar. So the analysis is not: How should a godly magistrate have conducted himself in Israel when a bad king passed a bad law, but nevertheless was still officially a godly state. Rather, the question is, how should a godly magistrate conduct himself in Babylon or Rome, which makes no claim to… Read more »

Katecho
Member

This may indeed be Babylon, but Krychek_2 seems to have forgotten Nebuchadnezzar’s concluding testimony on the subject: Nebuchadnezzar the king, to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: “May your peace abound! It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. “How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation. … “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

We have no intention of avoiding the issue; we will continue to press it. You will lose. repent.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Is that what you call striving to lead a quiet and peaceable life, as Paul recommended in I Timothy 2:2?

Bob French
Member

Mr. K_2 : I appreciate your occasional Scripture quotes. Someday you may believe the God who wrote them.

Mark Hanson
Guest
Mark Hanson

And I appreciate the more irenic tone K_2 has adopted since his early days as Eric the Red. Makes it easier to take him seriously.

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Sorry, didn’t mean to upvote my own post.

BooneCtyBeek
Guest
BooneCtyBeek

Even today I try to avoid soldering. I melt the jacket of the wire and make a big mess. ;-)

Yes, I know you meant soldiering. Couldn’t resist.

Katecho
Member

A variant of this question came up to John the Baptist. John didn’t instruct those soldiers to resign (Luke 3:14). Jesus also commended the faith of the Roman Centurion, without instructing him to resign either.

Monte Harmon
Guest
Monte Harmon

Unrelated and irrelevant. Kim Davis did not change her position, and the legal issues are not even resolved yet, leaving her in the strange position of being guilty of obeying the laws she is currently under. Meanwhile the Roman magistrate you posit has changed his entire world view and loyalty and has a different knot to untie. Whatever Paul would have said to the Roman magistrate who converted would not apply to Kim Davis.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Must disagree; K2 has framed the question perfectly. Davis’ problem was PRECISELY “My Christian conscience will not allow me to do my job as a Roman magistrate [county clerk]; what shall I do?” In her case, she was required to perform a duty – – issue a marriage license to two men – – which she did not believe she could faithfully discharge as a Christian. For that matter, the particular issue giving rise to the problem is irrelevant. The Jewish chaplain on active duty (USAF) felt he had to wear their skull cap even while in uniform. A gummit… Read more »

Monte Harmon
Guest
Monte Harmon

You seem to be unconcerned about the differences in the context and details. If Paul was also unconcerned about them then it could be argued that he would have responded similarly, but as detailed and logical as Paul was in everything he wrote I doubt that he would have considered the differences insignificant. The advice might have still been the same, but based on the Davis situation in total, not just the similarities with the proposed Roman magistrate situation. Additionally, I have not seen the quote you mention from Davis, can you give me a source? Wilson may be focused… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

“You seem to be unconcerned about the differences in the context and details.” First, if I’m properly understanding the situation (as well as Pastor Doug’s initial post here), there AREN’T any differences. The Roman and Davis are in identical postures as far as what those two individuals may/must do. That’s the issue I understood K2 to be posing and I still agree with him on that point. What American lawyers today would see as a Thomas (1981)/ Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993) problem is EXACTLY the same for both the Roman and for Davis. Second, again if the map in… Read more »

drewnchick
Member

The “is” vs. “ought” contrast you make here is particularly noteworthy. I find myself unnecessarily disagreeing with folks because I take the “ought” position while they argue from what “is.” Ships…night…passing… But this is not to say that the two concepts are mutually exclusive. In fact, I often make the point that one cannot know what to do or how to do it if one has not first contrasted the “is” with the “ought.” 1. What IS the situation, condition, circumstance, reality? 2. What OUGHT TO BE the case? 3. Therefore, what must be done to bridge the gap? In… Read more »

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

We’ve beaten the “Psalm 2/Letter from Birmingham Jail/Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg” horse quite a bit over the last few months; where do Christians fall on that spectrum? On issue X are we justified in firing on Ft Sumner? No? What about Issue Y? If PP retains its funding (which currently seems sure to happen), then are we justified in revolting? (When asked a few weeks back for my personal threshold for armed rebellion against the US, it was something like “loading Jews into boxcars.”) I’ve read enough about Luther to figure out that the whole “render unto Caesar” thing was… Read more »

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

Which legal issues do you think are still unresolved?

adad0
Member

‘cheki, The prophet John the baptist, when asked the same question by (Roman?) soldiers (some sort of magistrate) said: Luke 3: 14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” 15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize… Read more »

Xon
Guest
Xon

I think the argument loses its force (for honest inquirers) here: “And the laws of matrimony are not currently being upheld by our rulers, and merely extended to people who happen to be a little more creative with their sex organs. No, the goal is the abolition of marriage. These laws are not mildly adjusted marriage laws. They are laws which will have the effect, in the very near future, of nullifying and/or outlawing marriage. These current laws are not standing between us and the devil. These laws are the devil.” How do we determine when a law is merely… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

as a practical reality, honestly, what is to be won here?

Souls.

Laura
Guest
Laura

How?

timothy
Guest
timothy

By ignoring ‘practical reality’ and following Him.

The effect is a shattering of ‘practical reality’ and the establishment of Peace.

We are walking on the floor of the Red Sea and you keep looking at the walls of water on either side in fear wanting to go back to a ‘safety’ that cannot exist.

There is no compromise. He is driving that point home via circumstances, making each of us choose whom they will serve.

I don’t give a rat’s butt about ‘practical reality’ ; there is no salvation of souls in it. It is with Him.

cheers.

Laura
Guest
Laura

This is a nice mystical response here. I’m asking for a dotted line between not “allowing gays and lesbians to have tax breaks and presumptions of visitation rights and inheritance and the like” and saving souls. Are souls saved by rigid adherence to rules?

drewnchick
Member

The “dotted line” you ask for is really more of a solid line, but you have it backwards. You see, when souls are saved, they stop being sodomites.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Magical thinking.

And I’m not the one who has it backwards. Here’s what this is about:

timothy -> Xon • 18 hours ago

as a practical reality, honestly, what is to be won here?

Souls.

I’m asking Timothy how Davis’s going to jail is saving souls.

timothy
Guest
timothy

In the same way St. Peter’s crucifixion and St. Paul’s and other martyr’s testified to their faith. By example we see that it is either God or man and that we must choose. There is no escaping it. If Kim Davis reneges, God will raise another “foolish thing of this world” to do His work. Our job is to stand fast in our faith and to trust Him. There is nothing “practical” about that reality. My answer “Souls” highlights that our focus is not on ‘visitation rights” or “monies for mommies with fifty daddy babies” but on Christ crucified and… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

The very core of who and what we are can’t be “don’t sign onto same sex marriage”. That simply is not a hill worth dying on.

drewnchick
Member

If the prevalence of sodomy in our land–something God calls an abomination by the way–isn’t worth resisting, then I wonder what, for you, actually is.

Yes, Christians are tasked with caring for the poor. At the very same time, Christians are required to refuse food to those who won’t work. Christians are required to preach the Truth of Scripture, which among other things includes the fact that women–poor or not–should not be having extra-marital sex. Especially if the whole point is to leech money out of our un-Constitutional welfare program(s).

Laura
Guest
Laura

I see your religion. You’re making it very clear. It’s all about rules. Charity is a bad word to you.

timothy
Guest
timothy

You don’t distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor? The repentant and the defiant?

Laura
Guest
Laura

The undeserving poor. Can you offer some Bible verses about them? Preferably from the Gospels?

timothy
Guest
timothy

From Acts he who will not work does not eat. The same Acts that had a meeting to consider how to best care for widows.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Chapter and verse, please? I guess you can’t find anything in the Gospels, because Jesus (I see your eyes rolling) didn’t say anything about deserving?

Krychek_2
Guest
Krychek_2

That quotation is actually from 2 Thessalonians, not Acts.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Check out the institution of gleaning.

BTW, if it’s not obvious after your research, note that there is no “deserve/un-deserve” to it.

Laura
Guest
Laura

Right.
The strangers, the widows and orphans aren’t given a 20-page questionnaire to make sure they deserve those olives at the tips of the branches and the wheat left on the ground. They’re just given their daily bread.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

NO!!!! They aren’t GIVEN anything. It’s left there for THEM to go get it.

Off to hear about Paul. Who knows where that will lead?

;).

Laura
Guest
Laura

Does “give us this day our daily bread” not ring a bell with you at all?
I think the commenters here all had the first four books of their New Testaments ripped out.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Who is that request directed to ?

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Same thought as timothy; plus consider the Parable of the Workmen. The folks who show up at 2:59 pm get a whole day’s pay just like the day shift who clocked in at 7:00 am. Just like the people who showed up at 10:30 am or 1:00 pm. Obviously Jesus is not writing an HR Manual for a business. No company who tried such a policy would survive a second day. (Modern day example, while not Biblically driven, is the guy out in Seattle I think? who decided to pay the entire company the same $75K annual salary. How’d that… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I find your comment bizarre.
You think Jesus was just out of touch? His exhortations to us, to care for the poor, were quaint and unrealistic? Not following at all.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

OK, I’ll try again. Yes, He urged us to care for our neighbors. But it was a personal duty. Not something we could pass off on a gummit agency. Paying taxes did not discharge our duty. (Believe it or don’t, but Hoover had a nice veto message on that theme; so did Cleveland.) OTOH, the duty was reciprocal. The poor also duties. That’s why gleaning is only a two-party thing. No one collects the grain/grapes and delivers it to the poor. There is no crop allowance, no food stamps, no fines for growing too much wheat, etc, etc. There are… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I like your final paragraph.

I am in favor of private charity but not in disfavor of government programs to keep people from starving or being on the street. Welfare reform, which happened back during the Clinton administration, addressed the concerns you and Timothy have expressed.

I don’t like the judgmental tone I see here, about the poor. It is the antithesis of what we see from Jesus.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

My turn to be confused. Poor people – – whom we are told by no less an authority than Jesus will always be with us – – are neither the topic of this thread nor even a primary concern of this blog. To the extent there’s any hint of a “judgmental tone” to be seen here about the poor, my sense is that it’s from you, Laura, and it’s directed at those of us who are skeptical that any variant of a gummit dole is a net plus for poor people. One stop during my first trip thru grad school… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

Or don’t oppose a little bit of deference to the demi-urge Nero either. Yet, our bretheren in Rome did just that and did die for it. I guess they just didn’t care to respect how Nero felt.

Laura
Guest
Laura

As to your rude thing about single mothers, the very Christ you are talking about had a lot to say about the poor. Caring for others is huge. Making grand gestures, not at all; quite the reverse, actually. I wonder if maybe we don’t actually share a religion.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Do you know what a baby-daddy is? Do you know what babby-daddies are? Do you even care what it does to children to not have a father but a baby-daddie?

Oh my. Refugees from the world, apostles of it.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Are souls saved by tax-breaks and visitation rights?

Laura
Guest
Laura

You are the one talking about souls being saved here, Timothy.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Timothy –

Suggestions here for your answer; ignore or use as much/little as you see fit.

1. Ask Laura to explain the relationship between such things as “hospital visitation rights” and “marriage.” Why must first require the second?

2. Either expressly skip over the disconnect between Butler (1972) and Obergefell (2015) or else take on the federalism question head on. Since you’re a layman, I think you should expressly skip the disconnect. However, I do firmly believe you ought to at least note there is a problem there.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Hi Kelly

We have had this discussion before. I respectfully decline to take up your line of thinking for reasons I have given previously.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

No prob; still best wishes.

John Angelico
Guest
John Angelico

Xon, you said: ” It isn’t clear that you’re correct as to what the true end of gay marriage is; in fact you’re way out on a limb, in my estimation.” But I put it to you that the gay lobbyists who are so strongly pushing their case for “marriage equality” have published their agenda, which is to change marriage fundamentally and radically, not just at the edges. Their avowed purpose is to unravel the monogamy and till death us do part faithfulness, so that the eviscerated institution is then open to their brand of unrestrained licentiousness (previously ‘licence’ in… Read more »

adad0
Member

Speaking as one who a “ministry” tried to “mow down” via a fraudulent lawsuit, I know of what you speak. While it might seem to work against your point, I had THE ADVOCATE stand with me when this “ministry’s” fraudulent lawsuit was vacated. Daniel had a similar experience, Paul had multiple similar experiences. I am all for Christians stepping up to Word grounded civic duty and action, standing up instead of standing by. I can however testify to the truth of Mark 13:11, “And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Amen!

I really appreciated these words too, “justice is an exhibition of love.” Many people seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding that these days.

Jason Pearson
Guest
Jason Pearson

God help us if we are relying on Wilson, Booth and Sandlin to save us from destruction. Kind of like rotting floating holy cow corpses saving the Titanic from sinking.

timothy
Guest
timothy

You have grown dark, Jason. First your ‘box-cars’ comment and now this. What do you see?

John Angelico
Guest
John Angelico

You said “But this is quite different than standing by silently as you give the devil leave to write the laws, and to amend the laws as he pleases.”

which, I hope, you are also applying to the Supreme Court decision made by a 5-4 majority.

For Kim Davis, though, the Supreme Court decision did not instantly alter the law she was administering, effective the day after the justices published their opinion. There is also due process in framing changes to laws which the magistrate administers within his/her jurisdiction.

Kelly M. Haggar
Guest
Kelly M. Haggar

Ms Davis got all the process she was due. She lost an appeal at the 6th Cir and the Supremes declined to take her case.

But this isn’t a class in civil procedure.