by M. Randolph Hamilton
March 9th, 2005
People of faith in God believe certain acts are sins. Some of these people think their beliefs should be carried out through force of government.
How many of you have heard about, seen in the news or participated in a protest that took place outside an abortion clinic. During these protests, it is not uncommon for those protesting to shout hateful comments at those entering and leaving the clinic. They will shout things like, "You're going to burn in hell, murderer." These are people who claim to be Christians.
As a Christian, I know that to be a Christian means to try to live a life as Christ would. Christ did not and does not force people to live as He would have us live. Consider how many different Christian religions there are, let alone religions in general. Why are there different Christian religions? If Christians disagree enough about Christianity to form a multitude of different Christian religions, how can Christians begin to believe they will succeed in forcing others to live as they would? We cannot force people not to sin, nor can we force people into heaven.
Where some people have difficulty with their religion is permitting others to decide for themselves whether to sin or not to sin. If prostitution were legalized, many people believe they are condoning the behavior. This could not be further from the truth. In all actuality, to not have behaviors like prostitution, drug use (including alcohol) or gambling made illegal is to live life as Christ would. The only time that Christ became violent was when He threw the people out of the Temple when it was being disrespected. He did not attempt to force people not to sin.
The fact is, Christ gives all of us, now and then, the opportunity to choose to sin or not to sin. He knows, as some of you do, that when people are pushed to change their behavior, they inherently will push back. This is the biggest problem with passing laws or permitting politicians to pass laws to "protect" people from their own sinful behavior.
The government and those who use government are attempting to force people to start doing or stop doing an act they either want performed or don't want performed. This ends with exactly the opposite results than those desired. The best way to not only succeed in changing sinful behavior and not have others force their beliefs on us, is to permit others to decide for themselves how they should live their lives. Your job is to persuade, not to force.
A good example of this is the "gay marriage" issue. Let us take a look at that issue and how it relates specifically to what I am saying here. We have permitted government to give a recognized status to a state that came about, in most cases, through a religious rite; the rite of marriage. Having permitted our government to define and give status to marriage, we have now opened the door to the gay movement to desire and fight for the same recognition. Marriage is not and should not be the business of government, whether you believe gay marriage is a sin or not makes no difference. If we had not permitted government to define and give recognition to the state of marriage, there would not be this battle being waged now.
One would also have to consider the primary purpose that our government today recognizes the state of marriage. The most important reason is for filing a tax return. Since by now you should have learned that sovereign Citizens of the several states do not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, then you now know that this is no longer a reason for having the government recognize the state of marriage.
What Can I Do?
The fact is, recognition of the state of marriage is a free market issue to be settled in the open market. In a free market, if a company wants to recognize a couple, for insurance purposes for example, that should only be between the couple and the company. If you as a consumer do not like the idea that a given company recognizes or does not recognize a certain couple, then you have a choice to STOP permitting the company from profiting at your expense. In a free market, there will be companies from which all of us may choose when we do not have government forcing companies to conform. This is also the only way that the working class man or woman will stand a chance of competing with big business.
The most important thing that you can do is to make sure your elected officials know that you do not support government intervention into moral issues. Elected officials usually only hear from people who want them to pass a law, not repeal one. The next time someone is collecting signatures to "legalize" drug use or prostitution, sign and then vote in favor of it. Wouldn't you rather have this stuff in a place of business than on the street?
Tell others in your faith about this and how it will help. Inform those in your congregation and your minister. A minister who supports forcing his beliefs on others is not a very good minister and is definitely not living his life "as Christ would".
Finally, live your life as the example. We have all heard of married ministers caught having an affair with another. Do not falter and keep your faith.
How will this help?
When we stop forcing others to do as we would have them do, two things will happen. The first is, people almost immediately become more receptive to what you might have to say. God gave us the task of witnessing. Go out and witness. Your job is to persuade others to see things as you do. No, of course you will not convert everybody. That was not the task assigned you by God. The task was to witness. Just do your part, and the rest is between the others and God. Remember, you cannot force someone into heaven.
The second thing that will happen is people will stop trying to force their beliefs on you. Isn't that worth it?