“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Jesus spoke thusly to the people after the Pharisees accused Him of “breaking the traditions of the elders” by not washing their hands when they ate. Their accusation implied that Jesus couldn’t be righteous because this act would make him “unclean” or “defiled”. His renunciation claimed that it isn’t that which goes into a man that makes him defiled, but that which is within; that is to say, in his heart.
Israel was a people of laws from the time they were delivered from the Egyptians and received the “Law of Moses” at Mount Sinai. The Hebrew Bible (Torah) is often referred to as “the Law” and there have been countless laws added (Talmudic) to the already well established Law of Moses in order to protect those laws from being broken. Washing of the hands was one of those added laws – not a law of God, but a law of man, made to protect the holy laws of cleanliness.
History (both Biblical and non-Biblical) is clear in regard to Israel – the people constantly failed or “did evil in the site of the Lord”. That is because “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery…”. This is why Paul writes in Romans, “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.”
This isn’t an attempt at a Bible study, but a study at the nature of man and law. Today many, to include a large portion of Christians (of whom I am a part of) are attempting to make a mistake that has been proven ineffective for centuries; that is, to legislate morality. Well intentioned individuals who are quick to throw off the yoke of the Law and cling to grace in their own lives are too quick to throw a yoke on someone else. Currently, that group is the homosexual community.
I am not trying to say that homosexuality isn’t a sin, nor am I condoning the practice, but I am standing against the Constitutional Amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman. Personally, I agree with this definition as it is defined in the Scripture – but God’s Law trumps man’s law (as Jesus made clear to the Pharisees). This is why I am concerned with the Church. It has found it necessary to put the power of defining marriage in the hands of the government rather than in the hands of God. If we pass such an Amendment, will it not eventually become as corrupt as the men in government?
Our Bill of Rights was written not a list of rules for us to follow, but a list of rules for government to follow that disallowed intrusions on our liberties. The Marriage Amendment would be a direct attack on the liberties of homosexuals, not the government. We tried to legislate morality once during prohibition – and it failed miserably. Now we have two obsolete Amendments that are permanent scars that act as reminders of this empty endeavor to legislate morality. Shall we add another?
My stance is this. Government had no part in my marriage. Sure, it may try to infiltrate the union between me and my wife through various mechanisms, but in reality, they are a non-factor. If the government were to come forward tomorrow and tell me that my marriage certificate wasn’t properly signed or documented, or that they didn’t recognize my marriage for some reason, would that make me any less married these past years? Of course not! That is because my marriage is between me, my wife, and my God. It is a social and spiritual contract written on our hearts, not on parchment.
The same will be true of those who are gay if a Marriage Amendment were to pass (which it won’t). Those individuals will still consider themselves married and go on doing all of the things that married people do. Thus, the law will have failed in intent, even if it succeeded in letter. That is an empty victory that the Church will have paid a heavy price for; recognizing government as the definer of marriage rather than God.
The laws in this nation are put in place to protect innocent individuals from harm or abuse. Passing this Amendment will not put a stop to the actions of gay individuals. Their moral inclination will not dwindle because of this law. It may, in fact, be emboldened. If the Church truly wants to amend the morality of homosexuality, then do it from a moral base in the churches and communities across the nation, not in the halls of Washington. Don’t sell out on trying to keep them from doing an action, but sell out on doing the job of the Church – preaching the gospel and witnessing to their hearts. After all, it is the heart that makes us unclean, not the action.
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