What a week in politics (both US and Australian)! What was very evident to all was the passionate actions and reactions of individuals and groups within our communities on a range of topics including marriage of homosexuals and abortion. Rather than focus on the political, let me unfold a fascinating accusation that caught my attention during the war of words.
One pro-abortion politician (names omitted), accused an anti-abortion politician of “using this issue to boost their own political aspirations, and their own political ambitions … while putting women in harm’s way, in order for them to step up on the political ladder.” This led me to ask two questions. What makes one person’s opinion in politics more important that another persons? When a consensus cannot be reached, who is right and who is wrong?
What makes one person’s opinion in politics more important that another persons? This question is one that has been around as long as government. Is it the one who argues the loudest, the longest, or the most charismatic? None of these superficial skills should make a difference when we are talking of legislation. Legislation is a matter of truth, not preference. The government is a place where elected representatives come together to represent their communities in a fair and indiscriminate setting. An indiscriminate setting does not imply that everything is accepted and legislated because this is clearly impossible. The answer to this question is that while each individual’s opinion is important, it is no more important than that of the collective government in forming legislation. The danger for any person is that we arrogantly hold to our position without the ability to listen to and respect the opinions of others.
Before moving to the second question, it would be beneficial to mention the argument of Church and State at this point. Often Christian politicians are enthusiastically engaged on the need to leave their faith and worldview at the door when they enter government. Without going into too much detail in this article, the original conception of the argument of Church and State was that the State should never be allowed to establish a State church to whom all people must adhere. All people should have the ability and freedom to participate in whatever religion they choose, this despite the fact that some religions must be false because all cannot logically co-exist in truth. There was never any intention to keep all influence of Christians from impacting the State. The world would be a much different place if this was the intention.
When a consensus cannot be reached, who is right and who is wrong? This question cuts a little deeper than the first. Hopefully a consensus can be reached on common standards, usually found in a community despite gender, race or religion. This is becoming more and more infrequent in our western countries as our common community standards become less aligned. Because legislation is a matter of truth and not preference, the intention must be to seek that truth as both an individual and a collective for the legal sake of the community. What makes this difficult is the infiltration of relative truth that is self-defeating in nature and therefore makes for ineffective legislation. In addition, just because someone says something with passion and sacrifice, it does not insinuate truth (fallacy of Argumentum ad Miserecordiam). The answer to this question, I believe, does not lie in legislating the Scriptures, but morality. Rather than having individuals arguing from differing personal worldviews (Christian or otherwise) that they’re emotionally invested in, morality gives us a common ground from which to legislate. Legislating morality by Frank Turek and Dr. Norman Geisler helps to expand this idea further and provides a helpful, practical application.
The answer to my title question is of course in the negative because the State is not the living Body of Christ and it was never intended to be. The State is a governmental institution that, despite gender, race or sexual preference of individuals, protects the community and gives us freedoms and liberty through law based on absolute morality, not the Bible. This does not excuse us as individuals impacted by Christ from living with purpose and intentionality in our communities. We need to be discovering and implementing morality while seeking Truth with humility.