Friday, May 25, 2012

Political Thoughts for May 25

So, I should be doing an entry in the completely through the Bible series, but I'm not. Instead, I'd like to make a few random observations about life, especially politics, for now.

#1: Except for those of you in runoff elections, get your signs and put them away. You can put them back up in October. September if you're going to be nice.

#2: All of this discussion of allowing "gay marriage" and I haven't told you directly what I think. I think that Biblical morality would call living that lifestyle sin. In the same way that about a zillion other things that we already allow in America are also a sin. What should we do about it?

My opinion is this: we should get the government completely out of the marriage business. Completely. Marriage has been around for a long, long time—there do not seem to be historical records of a time when there was not a family/social institution called "marriage." It has been defined by religion, by culture, and by government. We are reaching a point where the government definition and the religious definition of practically every major religion are at odds with one another.

So, here is the solution I would propose: do away with laws governing marriage. Create a legal category using the term "domestic partnership" or whatever you like, and make it a legally-binding, legally-defined contract between two people on whatever grounds and basis the state determines it should be done on. Leave the definition of "marriage" to individual religions or not-religions. Take me as a minister out of the business of signing off on a legal agreement and leave me only addressing the spiritual/religious nature.

Leave in place laws regarding having to be an adult to enter in to either agreement. We don't need any nonsense of spiritually marrying minors and then forcing them into that life as adults. But require that any of the legal benefits, including joint tax filing, come from the civil contract and not the religious one. Grandfather in all of us old married people but make that change. As such, every one has equal rights under the law and every religion remains free to hold its own teachings.

#3: For my fellow Christians who think that this will make it impossible to teach our children to follow a Bible-centered course of morality: Really? Seeing same-sex couples will make it harder than our kids seeing celebrities that are only married for 72 days? Or the serial divorces and remarriages that we have been allowing in our churches for decades? We are either going to teach our children that following God will make them be/look/act different than the society around them or we won't.

And that can be done without teaching them to disdain the people around them. Of all the things the Romans persecuted Christians for, nowhere have I seen anything that says the Romans felt like the Christians "hated" them. The Christians were kind, gracious, loving, but just lived differently. It appears more likely that this led to the people wondering why the government hated the Christians.

#4: Still on the marriage issue, a shocking statement I hear in the debate is that married couples get something like 1500 more benefits from the government than single people.

Folks, a government that can give 1500 benefits to one class of people is a government that gives way, way too many benefits. Seriously. That's not just bad, that's truly hideous. Why? Because that means the married people are plundering the single people pretty ferociously. It also means that the government has 1500 ways to manipulate the behavior of people, at least, because those benefits can be taken or removed.

The benefits of marriage, from a government perspective, should be limited to allowing two people to share the resources of a household and reduce paperwork. For example, joint tax filing is a legitimate benefit, especially in a home with one primary wage-earner.

#5: Sports trivia of the week: we waste too much time and money on sports. Oh, wait, that's not trivia, is it?

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