Home > Uncategorized > Legislation or Salvation: do we have to choose?

Legislation or Salvation: do we have to choose?

What follows flows out of a conversation about the recent California Supreme Court overturning the voter’s referendum on same sex marriage.  When the discussion took the inevitable turn toward the legislation of morality, my friend, the eloquent Robert, had a very thought provoking response…

We will do more for the kingdom of God by witnessing to the unwed mother/thieves/drug dealers, etc. than we will standing on the steps of the Supreme Court with a sign or throwing red paint on a girl going in an abortion clinic. If you are trying to decide how your congregation is going to spend a Saturday, I would opt with witnessing in love to a gay person over writing a Senator or attending a rally.

If you can do both well, then go for it. (though I think that a LOT of political groups love decisions like those in California for the fund-raising opportunities…) I’m all for laws against vices, but let me ask you:

Have drug laws eliminated drug use in your community?

Do you think making abortion illegal would eliminate abortion or make unwanted pregnancies any less common?

Would laws against homosexuality make it less common (in many places there were laws against homosexuality until recently [well, against sodomy, but that was only targeted at homosexuals, few married couples were ever arrested for violating such laws.])?

In other words, or what I’m getting at is that while laws against non-Christian behaviors make us feel good and are not a bad thing to have, they do very little to change behavior.

Let me use an example. There is a road here called Dry Ridge Road, but everyone calls it “Roller Coaster Road”. It has a lot of curves and really steep hills and dips. The speed limit is 45 but most people speed on it to get the thrill of going over the hills (you can get air, trust me). The law does not keep people from speeding on it, unless someone is there with a radar gun. The other day 2 kids were killed joyriding on the road. I’m going to bet that people will slow down now (for a while). I know I will. The law didn’t change, people’s hearts did. The law could now make the speed limit 100 and people will still go 35 since they’ve seen what speeding on that road can do.

The point: we won’t change hearts with laws. Sure, I would be in favor of a law that required tithing, church attendance, loving your children and volunteering for VBS. More seriously, I’m all for laws legislating morality… so long as it’s my morals. But I don’t think that anything will change until we lead people to Christ.

So, I’m not too worried about gay marriage. It’s a travesty, but it’s not like gay people are not living together, having sex, raising families, etc. That won’t change until God changes their heart, unless you want to arrest people and throw them in jail for living with a member of the same sex.

Now, when you ask if we can oppose something legislatively while still witnessing, then I would agree that we can do both. I will vote against unbiblical legislation and ungodly candidates every chance I get (heck, that’s the sole reason I can never vote for a Democratic candidate on the national level so long as their platform endorses abortion, though I think we will soon see a lot more pro-abortion Republicans).

So, I don’t think it’s either/or, but I find that most Christians in America will go to an anti-gay-marriage rally any day of the week, but won’t walk across the street to share Christ’s love with their gay neighbor.

Look at what Jesus did. I don’t see him working to change the political structure of his day– which is astounding when you consider the oppression of his time. He didn’t rail against the cruel Romans or the inequities shown to women and Gentiles in Jewish culture. He didn’t march to make Roman orgies illegal or to shut down brothels. He didn’t oppose paying taxes which went to the Roman government nor did he spend any time getting involved in politics– if you want proof of his attitude, consider that he had a both a tax collector and a zealot in his band of disciples; talk about irony…

Instead, he changed one life at a time. Jesus didn’t legislate to make adultery laws tougher, instead he took one fallen woman and told her to go and sin no more.

I think that Jesus finds our obsession with political solutions to moral problems to be a horrible waste of our time and an abandonment of our commission, both for the left and the right. It’s easy to wear a ribbon, write a senator, or stand outside an abortion clinic. It’s hard to share the love of Jesus with someone so that God can change their lives.

Robert and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, but he’s given me a lot to think about.  I have a limited amount of time and energy… Should I use it to push for laws to limit people from doing things I think are wrong, or to share and show the love of Jesus in ways that bring people who are far from God closer to Him?  Can I do both?  Should I?

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  1. sprocket23
    May 20, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    I totally disagree with that guy that you quoted, he sounds like a jerk. 😎
    Thanks for the good word, and thus another seal has been broken: we agree on something. Good blog, I actually do lurk and read you all the time, and even agree on occasion!

  2. Saung Lady
    May 23, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I totally agree-not that laws are unimportant, but that the lives around us that we are able to actually touch and change hearts are so much more worthy of our time! And whose time isn’t limited?? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop writing letters and signing petitions!! Lord, help me not to miss the oppotunities that come my way to REALLY touch lives!

  3. spadinofamily
    June 16, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    I think we see the world through the same glasses man. If your in the cities lets do lunch. If your here on the weekend (or Thursday night) your welcome to our Church.

    Jon

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