Monday, June 6, 2011

Let's Fornicate, but Not Adulterate?

A poll shows that most Americans view homosexuality, fornication, and having a baby outside of marriage as morally acceptable, but they see abortion, pornography, and adultery as wrong. I could have told them that without doing a poll. The poll simply confirms what most of us already knew. But why the split?

My hypothesis is that Americans draw a line between what we do to ourselves and what we do to others. Abortion is wrong because it kills a baby. Adultery is wrong because it unfaithful to the spouse. Pornography is wrong because it often includes images of children who have no control over what is being done to them, not to mention the fact that many people waste their employer’s money looking at it. But when people look at homosexuality, and fornication, I suspect that they think that what two consenting adults do in their spare time is up to them as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone who didn’t consent to it. Something that supports that idea is that I’ve had people tell me that they believe the government should not be involved in people’s lives other than to protect people from each other. Their idea is that secondhand smoke should be a crime, but if people want to kill themselves with cigarettes, that is up to them.

We might ask whether that view is correct. Is it the proper role of government to protect people from themselves or not? An what limits do we place on that protection? But put that aside and consider whether homosexuality and fornication are truly things that don’t hurt anyone other than the people involved. What we might fail to see if we look at the made for TV version of the sins is that they typically involve a sexual predator. (I don’t mean that in the legal sense) Fornication, as well as homosexuality, often starts with someone saying, “I you love me, you’ll sleep with me.” Obviously, the other people involved have the choice to say no, but they may not feel like they do. Also, it steals from future relationships. Someday, they people may meet someone they want to marry. Unfortunately, they’ve already given away something that should belong to their spouse. And the most important reason fornication and homosexuality are wrong is because God says they are wrong. We don’t lack reasons why that is the case, but it ought to be good enough that he said it is wrong.

As Christians, it appears that we have a major hill to climb in the teaching of morality.