With Maggots Under Their Tongues

My friend Peter Leithart thinks the “most promising, and most peaceable” way out of our current marriage law impasse is a bill currently making its way through the Alabama legislature.

“SB377 would remove the duty of confirming marriages from county probate judges and allow marriages to be recorded by the state after filing a simple contract between two people eligible to be married that is solemnized by a pastor, attorney, or other authorized witness.

“This means that should the bill pass, only heterosexual couples will be eligible, but if gay marriage is legalized across the country by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, that eligibility would be expanded to homosexual couples.”

And that last phrase shows why this proposal presents no way out at all. If the Supreme Court decides in favor of traditional marriage, then Alabama doesn’t need to change anything. And if they decide against, then the change will have been worthless. It will have been worthless because states which are in agreement with the biblical definition of marriage will then be required to deny righteousness and affirm unrighteousness, and we will continue to have all the same “celebration” battles over registered couples.

This battle is over social and cultural approval. The battle is happening because a particular class of persons wants their sexual perversion to be their ticket into the high nobility of the civil rights movement — what they want is for the march to be from Selma to Sodom, not realizing it then proceeds from Sodom to the Sea of Fire. As long as Christians have the legally protected right to withhold their approval of sodomy in public, this battle will continue. The battle isn’t going anywhere. Neither am I, incidentally.

On top of all that, back in the day when your great grandparents simply showed up to register their marriage (and I would rejoice to see a return to that day), this practice occurred in a society that knew what Christian marriage was, and which drove the Mormons out to Utah for not knowing what Christian marriage was.

And furthermore, this proposed action would not get the state out of the marriage business — so long as we have custody battles, adoptions, divorce settlements, foster children, and so on, the state will be called upon to be active in this institution, and the approval (or not) of society will always be at stake. So will incestuous couples be allowed to register? What guidance will the hapless marriage registrar have when three sex weirdos show up instead of the allotted two? Why? By what standard?

The questions that were asked by Supreme Court justices when this current case came before them show that the sex radicals can’t have it both ways. Male/female marriage is not sacred, but the number two is! We reject centuries of tradition when it comes to heterosexual marriage, but we affirm the necessity of tradition when it comes to limiting the carrying capacity of marriage to two and only two persons. There are attorneys arguing before the Supreme Court that we must burn down the tradition for the sake of the homo-units, and we must stand for the tradition for the sake of the mono-bigots. Suit yourself, champ.

And more to the point, will sermon series through Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Leviticus 18-20 still be protected speech? For those who rush to assure us that of course it will still be protected speech, I have two responses. First, who believes you anymore? When the homosexual activists of old gathered on Lot’s front porch, they were nothing if not persistent. “And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door” (Gen. 19:11). In order to be persistent in this kind of cause, it is necessary to break your promises constantly. Your contempt for the seventh commandment is constantly mirrored in your contempt for the ninth. All your activity is centered on finding the door, and you will weary yourself doing it. And if you ever find the door, you will do what it takes to beat it down. There are angelic visitors in there who have to be dragged out into the streets of San Francisco and shown the sights.

Second, if is established by the Supremes that homosexual mirage is a constitutionally protected activity, please outline for me what legal argument/s you will use to defend my constitutional right publicly to argue from the pulpit that their constitutional right must be taken away. And will those arguments still be functional if I move from being an outlying and lonely voice that everyone ignores to a voice that might actually persuade a bunch of people? In other words, will there be any constitutional authority to crack down on agitators who might succeed in taking away the “constitutional rights” of others?

So that means, in my view, this proposed measure from Alabama is not really part of a thought-through tactical retreat. Rather it is just one more small part of the general rout, and whatever we do, we must not throw down our weapons and join the general rout.

Do you want to hear a real solution? A real solution will only be found in simple defiance and refusal. We are past the point of nuance. A true solution will be for faithful lesser magistrates to just say no, and for ordinary citizens to just say no. If the Supreme Court decides righteously, we will all rejoice and thank God. If the Supreme Court pulls an Is. 5:20 on us, then we will refuse to comply in any way that touches us. We will not do it, we will not help them do it, and we will not say that what they are doing is fine with the God of Heaven — because, I would remind you, it isn’t.

During the heyday of persecution against the French Huguenots, a decree went out that Protestant preaching was to be a capital offense. If you were caught preaching, it was death for you. In the month following that decree, there were something like three thousand ordinations. That’s how you do it. Not surprisingly, many of the established conference circuit preachers in France didn’t like this aggressive approach to the problem and had fled, needing to get to a country where they could write thoughtful articles on post-Christian France for theological journals. Meanwhile, back in France, Antoine Court remained, laboring faithfully, in order to train and ordain bakers, photographers, and wedding planners.

And Sam Gamgee knew what to do when he returned and found the Shire overrun by the Tolerance Brigade.

“‘All right, all right!’ said Sam. “That’s quite enough. I don’t want to hear no more. No welcome, no beer, no smoke, and a lot of rules and orc-talk instead. I hoped to have a rest, but I can see there’s work and trouble ahead.”

I have not yet read it, but Charles Murray’s latest book is now on its way to my door, and I ordered it on the strength of the subtitle alone — “Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission.”

In the meantime, in the midst of days that are admittedly very dark, let me pull out my postmillennialism for a moment and have a brief, encouraging look at it.

In the long run, moral stupidity is never workable. The rebellion against limits is to create for yourself the ultimate authority of the utter frozen limit. Hatred of creational limits is to embrace the final limits imposed by the outer darkness. The process ends hellishly, and it is recognizable early on. Chesterton put it well in Orthodoxy.

“Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe, you must draw him with a long neck. If in your bold creative way you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck, you will really find that you are not free to draw a giraffe.”

You want a marriage with two dudes? Why stop there? We clearly need water that flows uphill so we no longer have to spend our money on pumps. We need four-sided triangles so that kids who are “different” in geometry, and who are consequently bullied by the other kids, can feel affirmed in how these triangular quadrilaterals make them feel. You go, girl. We need short-necked giraffes so that the picture will fit in the only frame we were willing to buy. In this grand societal bed and breakfast of ours, we insist on universal hospitality, hospitality for all, no exceptions, and so it is that every bed in every licensed bed and breakfast must necessarily be a Procrustean bed. What are a few severed feet and stretched guests in the pursuit of Equality?

Why is this encouraging? It is encouraging because thrones are established by righteousness (Prov. 16:12; 25:5). Such righteousness is defined by God alone, and our central obligation is to define as God defines. Those who would rule us according to their renegade lusts are corrupt teachers with maggots under their tongues. They are more interested in sniffing thrones than in establishing them, and that never ends well for them.

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Xon
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Xon

(LONG thing follows, apologies in advance. Read second paragraph for basic thesis) It *is completely fair* to hold people to account for unintended or down-the-line consequences within their own doctrine. But it’s not really fair to accuse someone of really wanting to impose something completely out of bounds with the doctrine they are currently propounding. Therefore, quick thesis: there are significant differences between requiring states to recognize same sex marriage and requiring states to recognize “plural” marriages. There is not a slippery slope based on the doctrine that is actually being used in the current state of things. Of course… Read more »

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

Re your concerns about whether it will still be protected speech to preach on Sodom and Gomorrah, only a couple of terms ago the US Supreme Court held that it was protected speech for Westboro Baptist to picket the funerals of soldiers, hold up banners that say things like “God hates fags” and “God hates dead soldiers.” My recollection is the decision was unanimous, meaning court liberals and conservatives alike voted in favor of free speech. If a unanimous Supreme Court is telling us the Westboro antics are protected speech, I have trouble believing that a sermon on Romans 1… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Wilson wrote: For those who rush to assure us that of course it will still be protected speech, I have two responses. First, who believes you anymore? Indeed. The Supreme Court has shown itself to be political and untrustworthy. If Eric the Red is referring to Snyder vs Phelps, he’s wrong. That decision wasn’t unanimous. The Supreme Court has a history of reversing itself. For example: Lawrence v. Texas (2003) The Supreme Court, 6–3, overruled a Texas sodomy law and voted 5–4 to overturn 1986’s Bowers v. Hardwick decision. “The state cannot demean their [gays’] existence or control their destiny… Read more »

Jill Smith
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Jill Smith

Snyder v. Phelps was an eight to one decision for the WBC. Not quite unanimous but close. Justice Alito dissented.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

OK, it wasn’t unanimous; it was 8-1, which is nearly unanimous. At my age I’m entitled to an occasional memory lapse. The point is, though, that the court’s liberals and the court’s conservatives are all on the same page on free speech issues. And just a casual look at the Supreme Court’s free speech jurisprudence indicates there is no real support on the court for abridging speech. Burning the flag is protected speech. Waving a banner that says “Thank God for dead soldiers” at a soldier’s funeral — along with another banner that says “God hates fags” — is protected.… Read more »

Xon
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Xon

What’s the alternative to “the Supreme Court has a history of reversing itself?” Something much worse, I’d venture.

Tom
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Tom

Indeed. Had the Supreme Court reversed itself on the Slaughterhouse Cases in the 1950s and 1960s, a lot of the constitutional chicanery that got us to this point could have been avoided.

Xon
Guest
Xon

(LONG thing follows, apologies in advance. Read second paragraph for basic thesis) It *is completely fair* to hold people to account for unintended or down-the-line consequences within their own doctrine. But it’s not really fair to accuse someone of really wanting to impose something completely out of bounds with the doctrine they are currently propounding. Therefore, quick thesis: there are significant differences between requiring states to recognize same sex marriage and requiring states to recognize “plural” marriages. There is not a slippery slope based on the doctrine that is actually being used in the current state of things. Of course… Read more »

Xon
Guest
Xon

It *is completely fair* to hold people to account for unintended or down-the-line consequences within their own doctrine. But it’s not really fair to accuse someone of really wanting to impose something completely out of bounds with the doctrine they are currently propounding. Therefore, quick thesis: there are significant differences between requiring states to recognize same sex marriage and requiring states to recognize “plural” marriages. There is no slippery slope based on the doctrine that is actually being used in the current state of things. Of course we can worry that the doctrine could change but that’s always the case.… Read more »

Xon
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Xon

It *is completely fair* to hold people to account for unintended or down-the-line consequences within their own doctrine. But it’s not really fair to accuse someone of really wanting to impose something completely out of bounds with the doctrine they are currently propounding. Therefore, quick thesis: there are significant differences between requiring states to recognize same sex marriage and requiring states to recognize “plural” marriages. There is no slippery slope based on the doctrine that is actually being used in the current state of things. Of course we can worry that the doctrine could change but that’s always the case.… Read more »

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

OK, so I was off by one; it was 8-1 rather than unanimous. At my age I have occasional memory lapses. The thing is, though, that the Supreme Court’s free speech jurisprudence has, if anything, gotten stronger and stronger in favor of free speech, with both liberal justices and conservative ones on board. Waving a sign at a soldier’s funeral that says “Thank God for dead soldiers” is protected. Burning the flag is protected. Advocating for the assassination of the President is protected. And while katecho is right that the Supreme Court does reverse itself, there’s a clear trend there… Read more »

christian
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christian

Eric, actually Employment Div v Smith opened the door for state’s laws to trump first amendment speech/religious expression with “neutral” laws of general applicability. That is why a baker’s religious rights are trumped by the critical societal need to have a gay cake these days. The U.S. Act has declined to touch these laws so far as in the case of the New Mexico photographer. Pastor Wilson is correct.

christian
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christian

Should read US Sct not US Act

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

State laws trumping religious expression pre-date Smith by over a century. The Mormons were told they couldn’t have multiple wives. Jewish merchants were told they couldn’t open on Sunday because of local blue laws. Smith didn’t really add anything that wasn’t already the law. But at any rate, religious expression and speech are analyzed slightly differently. Someone whose religion tells him he’s supposed to have sex with children is free, under the free speech clause, to advocate for sex with children. He can even publish a how-to manual on having sex with children. All of that is protected speech. But… Read more »

Eric the Red
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Eric the Red

Christian, state laws trumping religious expression pre-date Smith by over a century. The Mormons were told they couldn’t have multiple wives. Jewish merchants were told they couldn’t open on Sunday because of local blue laws. Smith didn’t really add anything that wasn’t already the law. But at any rate, religious expression and speech are analyzed slightly differently. Someone whose religion tells him he’s supposed to have sex with children is free, under the free speech clause, to advocate for sex with children. He can even publish a how-to manual on having sex with children. All of that is protected speech.… Read more »

Malachi
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Malachi

Is ‘mirage’ in the 1st sentence of the 10th paragraph a typo or a pun?

Jim-N-NC
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Jim-N-NC

Long running pun. You must be new here…welcome!! :)

Jack Bradley
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Jack Bradley

“A real solution will only be found in simple defiance and refusal. We are past the point of nuance.” Right on, Douglas. Alexander Hamilton (The Farmer Refuted) agrees wholeheartedly: “When the first principles of civil society are violated, and the rights of a whole people are invaded, the common forms of municipal law are not to be regarded. Men may then betake themselves to the law of nature; and, if they but conform their actions, to that standard, all cavils against them, betray either ignorance or dishonesty. There are some events in society to which human laws cannot extend; but… Read more »

Jon Swerens
Member

I understand what Eric the Red is saying, and I believe he thinks he’s correct. But we can’t help thinking that it’s just another instance of Rod Dreher’s Law of Merited Impossibility:

“This will never happen, but when it does, you people will deserve it.”

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Jon, here’s what I think: There would have to be an incredible legal sea change for the Supreme Court to so radically alter its free speech jurisprudence that a sermon on Romans 1 could be punished or suppressed. If anything, the Court is moving in favor of expanding free speech. I also think that even with the occasional baker or florist notwithstanding, Christians will be treated far better by a pro-gay government than gays were when Christians had political power. I’m old enough to remember when being gay could get you sent to prison or a mental ward. I’m old… Read more »

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Eric, there are certainly voices out there suggesting that Christians should not be employable in politics or academia. Is it widespread and does it extend to employment in general, at this time? No. But if you hadn’t used words like “nobody,” “remotely suggesting,” or “even comparable,” I wouldn’t have said anything. Dial back the rhetoric, and you might be convincing. Keep insisting that Christians publicly suffering to any significant degree at any time for our public positions is inconceivable and even absent from the mind of absolutely everyone, and it really will sound like you’re trying to cover for something… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Jane, let us compare and contrast the “voices” who think Christians don’t belong in politics or academia to the condition of gay people when Christians had political power. Naturally, people who are pro-choice and pro-gay are going to want to keep people with opposing viewpoints out of politics; that’s the way politics works. Everyone tries to minimize the influence of people who disagree with them. Liberal Christians who support abortion and gay rights — and there are lots of them — do not get flack from the voices you reference. By the same token, academia is firmly convinced that evolution… Read more »

Jane Dunsworth
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Jane Dunsworth

I must confess, I stopped reading at the third word of your comment. You said, “Let us compare….” after claiming the situations were not comparable. Again, my point was your rhetoric — claiming that something is impossible, unthinkable, and inconceivable to anyone is not the same thing as explaining why it’s not as bad as what happened to the other guy.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Okay, I confess, I skimmed it a bit. How is refusing to hire, or threatening to fire, a “creationist” professor outside a science-based department justifiable or describable as anything but unwarranted hostility to a class of people? And yes, this kind of thing has definitely been advocated.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

It may have been advocated — probably nothing is so ridiculous that somebody somewhere hasn’t advocated for it — but has it actually happened? If so, I would agree with you that it was wrong.

timothy
Guest
timothy

As a reminder, a ‘voice’ from this Blog in a post entitled “Evolution and Age” wrote the following to a lead biology researcher named David:

And
I’ll take your word for it that if you came out of the closet as a
disbeliever in evolution it might cost you your job. But so would an
earth science professor who came out as a disbeliever in plate
tectonics, and so would a biology professor who disbelieves cell theory.
And yes, the evidence for one really is just as clear as for the
other.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Well, Timothy, people who either don’t believe or don’t understand science shouldn’t be teaching science. That’s really not that complicated a concept. Should someone who doesn’t accept Biblical inerrancy be teaching at Reformed Theological Seminary? Same principle.

timothy
Guest
timothy

You where responding to the lead biology researcher at a publicly funded university. A ‘research lead’ is, by definition, a qualified scientist.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Who apparently has a blind spot on this particular issue. You think I couldn’t find professors at reformed seminaries who aren’t off the reservation on one or another doctrinal issue?

The question then becomes, do you fire them, or not hire them if you knew their views in advance.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Eric, It is hilarious watching you comment on science when your arguments on that thread barely rose to the level of cut-n-paste google smart. David wrote: I cannot tell if you are unclear of the point the people on Doug’s blog are making, or if there is some deeper confusion that is effecting your thinking, but if the argument you are making is that cross hybridization as speciation is an argument for the diversity of species across phyla, then no, that is a fallacious argument. What we do not see, anywhere, for example are single celled organisms becoming multicellular organisms.… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

And had you read carefully, you would have seen that my point wasn’t that what is happening to Christians is not as bad as what happened to the other guy.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

If it wasn’t your point, then I don’t know what the point of “comparing” is.

I also don’t know why whether it’s actually happened is relevant to my taking issue with this sentence:

“Nobody is even remotely suggesting anything even
comparable be done to Christians.”

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

In order to analyze whether “anything even comparable” it is necessary to do a bit of comparing, but that wasn’t my point.

My original comment was that Christians would likely be treated better living under a pro-gay government than gays were under a Christian government. And that is a separate issue. A related issue, yes, but a separate issue nonetheless.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Then why did you make the extreme statement you made? If you’ve been reading MY comments closely, you’d notice that I never challenged the idea that Christians don’t appear to be in immediate danger of reliving the Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde stories en masse; I was just pointing out that making patently false statements about what “nobody” has ever “remotely suggested” as “even comparable” doesn’t make your argument more credible. And I find it hard to believe that if the people who bullied Brandon Eich out of Mozilla had more power than they do, he’d be able to find… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

This is what seems so wrong. A person who has publicly stated opinions that others find deplorable should face social disapproval, perhaps, but not usually unemployment. Ditto the person with sexual proclivities which might frighten the horses but which are not discussed or indulged in at work. I was once made by my very right wing employer to attend a political rally for a party I don’t support. That was an abuse of power, and it is equally hateful on the left.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Can we not deduce from the behavior of the anti-Eich crowd that at least one person (not even specifically a Christian) would not be able to find anything but menial work if they had their way, due to his beliefs and private actions concerning homosexuality? Yes we can deduce that. The policing of beliefs and private actions goes beyond the issue of homosexuality and will not stop until every belief and action is brought into compliance*. ‘Every’ is not too strong a word given the near history of progressive/marxist democide last century and the raging hatred of its wannabe practitioners… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Jane, if I say, “I’m going to run a quick errand and be back in five minutes,” everyone understands, without having to be told, that I mean I’ll be back in five minutes if I don’t get hit by a truck, mugged, or have a heart attack en route. And everyone also understands that five minutes may really be four or six minutes depending on if I hit all the red lights. Likewise, it is understood (or should be) that when I say “nobody is seriously suggesting that . . .” what I really mean is that nobody whose opinion… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

Eric,

What you support is irrelevant as you are not the driver of this train; your assurances mean nothing.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

I understand the concept of imprecise rhetoric. But apparently, in order to properly interpret your statement, I need to have a concept of who you might consider “worth listening to.” And that when you say “remotely” you actually mean “seriously,” which is not very synonymous. And there are probably a few other things about what you intend when you write, that I need to assume, know, or guess at. How likely do you think it is that we have a common understanding of those things, particularly who is “worth listening to?” Since we have few shared values, I’m either left… Read more »

timothy
Guest
timothy

Hi Jane.

Google “NYT christians must change”, read the NYT op-ed by Frank Bruni entitled “Bigotry, the Bible and the Lessons of Indiana” and then weigh Eric’s platitudes in light of that relatively moderate viewpoint.

timothy
Guest
timothy

I’m old enough to remember when being openly gay rendered you pretty much unemployable at anything except the most menial of jobs.

Well Eric.

A righteous people do not enjoy being around sinful men. We also see that the damned do not want to be around people like Brandon Eich*. There is something deeper at work than the meanderings of 9 fools on a court.

*Brandon Eich was forced out at Mozilla when it was discovered he donated money to proposition 8. Brandon Eich invented the programming language, javascript, that is fundamental to much of today’s world wide web.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Timothy, in a pluralistic society, it really doesn’t matter who the self-righteous think they are better than. And Mozilla made a business decision that keeping Eich would be bad for business. You have a problem with that?

SamChevre
Guest
SamChevre

I’m not Timothy, but I have no problem with it: all I insist on is that companies should be able make the business decision that hiring homosexuals (or women, or non-Christians) is bad for business without facing government pressure to change that business decision.

Arwen B
Guest
Arwen B

Last I heard, firing him has been even worse for business.

Has anyone heard Mozilla’s stance on that?

timothy
Guest
timothy

No, I do not; left to the civil sphere (which is quite religious in Christendom) these things work themselves out over time in peaceful ways (in Christendom). In light of Eich’s banishment to ‘menial jobs’ your statement “I’m old enough to remember when being openly gay rendered you pretty much unemployable at anything except the most menial of jobs” means what exactly ? You employ that rhetorical device to “urge”(?) me towards feelings of shame over the poor men and women and cis-widgets. Yet you feel no shame in Eich’s case. Fascinating. Now, I am not suggesting that you do… Read more »

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

Actually, you don’t know how I feel about Eich’s firing because I didn’t say. I gave the rationale Mozilla gve for firing him and asked if you had a problem with it. If you want to know what I actually do think, as opposed to your projections about what I must think, feel free to ask.

Eric the Red
Guest
Eric the Red

And no, I’m not urging you toward feelings of shame toward formerly unemployable gay people. Merely pointing out the irony of complaints about unfair treatment from those whose group acted abominably toward gay people when they had the ability to do so. P.S. I seriously doubt that Eich has been banished to a menial job; I suspect that he’s doing just fine. But if anyone knows for sure, feel free to let us know.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Timothy, I completely oppose what happened to Brandon Eich based on the media reports I’ve read. I would not like to lose my (non-existent) job because someone found out I give all my charitable donations to the Feral Cat Repopulation Project. But unless you are talking about a mom and pop operation with one or two employees who are almost like family, I can’t see how you can demand sexual morality in a secular workplace. Would a righteous people be equally unhappy working around adulterers or people who are shacked up without being married?

timothy
Guest
timothy

Would a righteous people be equally unhappy working around adulterers or people who are shacked up without being married? yes. I can’t see how you can demand sexual morality in a secular workplace. Why not? You are seeing the demand for sexual immorality in the secular workplace (and other places). Not very long ago, a commissioned officer would lose his job over adultery. Today, still, the demand that an NFL wannabe not kiss his lover-dude in the locker-room on draft day is enough to make ESPN back down (I don’t own a t.v., so my experience with this is by… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It has been a long time since I’ve been in the workplace but my career included working in schools, finance, public health, and defense contracting. I know I don’t get out much, but I can’t remember any of my many work places allowing discussions of sex at work. If you wanted to flirt with the guy from the mailroom (who always seemed to be the one with grass to sell), you needed to be very careful not to get a reputation as a non-serious employee. I knew only one person who was grossly sexually inappropriate, and he was terminated for… Read more »