The almighty. Alpha and Omega. Creator of all things on earth and beyond. Somehow the all-powerful, if you believe conservative religious leaders, is going to get His feelings hurt by humans not showing the proper level of respect. Why do so many seem to think they need to right the presumed wrongs against God? In our country, in the president day, it’s pretty tame.
We (and I’ll stress that I’m not actually included in that ‘we’) argue against gay marriage and shun those who don’t believe or violate religious law (at least the laws on which we choose to focus). But we don’t kill people. That’s something the Muslims do. The uneducated barbarians fighting one another in the desert. No Christian would ever do that. Unless they’re from some nation whose education level is equivalent to that in ISIS controlled territory. Then it’s no holds barred and the movements behind those killings (and even laws attempting to assign the death penalty for violation of religious law) are largely funded by American Christians.
So, we’re not that far removed from the savagery we saw recently in Paris. You might point to that particular event and say, “You see? They were Muslims living in a first world nation. Christians aren’t like that.” In return, I’d simply point you in the direction of Anders Breivik.
As I look over all the teachings of Jesus, I see a lot of things about peace, and forgiveness, and rendering unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar. I would say that the domain of civil and criminal law is definitely something which belongs to Caesar (or the latest stand in, our respective governments, though this is primarily directed at the religious right movement in the US). I don’t see anything about enforcing the laws of the Old Testament on those who should not be considered to be bound to them. That seems to be a later creation, specifically brought up to allow religious authority (which is after all, the dominant authority a man will generally be willing submit himself to) to hold sway over all the land. In essence, it is a more efficient way for the successors of Caesar to have more.
So why do we have this need to insure that others are paying our God the proper level of respect? Sure, if I happen to be walking past an Asatruar and he randomly says to me, “You’re God is a bitch.” I might take issue with that. He doesn’t know my God, so he should shut his mouth. Conversely, if I’m walking past an Asatruar and he’s eating pork or working on the Sabbath (those rules we don’t actually pay attention to) it’s none of my business. That’s his life. If, when it’s over, he stands before the God of Abraham and is judged to be lacking, I’m not affected. Similarly, if he is judged a good and noble warrior by Odin, I’m still not affected. The details of appropriate religious life for others are not our concern.
What I’m getting at is that if your interpretation (or your preacher’s if you feel a need to have an intermediary between you and God) of the bible includes rules against abortion, or homosexuality, or eating shellfish, don’t do those things. I certainly have no intention of doing them, though the shellfish part I’ve tried and simply didn’t like. The laws of government should be limited to those things which carry a measurable harm. You’ll notice that we have no laws concerning six of the Ten Commandments and two out of the four we observe in a legal capacity are pretty much gray areas. That’s the big ten and we only really care about two. Homosexuality didn’t even make that list. And abortion? Well I’ll leave you to your own bible study to figure out how that should be dealt with, but I’ll remind you that it applies to those who adhere to your religion, not society at large.
Just as we should not be assigning the punishment prescribed in Leviticus (I would not be willing to remain in any society that did) we shouldn’t be writing laws that mirror those of Leviticus. You live your life in accordance with the way you believe God wants you to, and let others do the same. God can make the judgments on who’s lived righteously or wickedly.