Wednesday, July 13, 2005

God's Law & Man's Law

With the coming revision of the Supreme Court and perhaps as many as three new justices to be nomnated by President Bush, the nature of law in America could take a significant change towards a more Christian Fundamentalist interpretation and legislation. Some would say it is expected to do so. Count me in that crowd.

The Fundamentalist Right has so well phrased their repetitious commentary about the state of their “values” in America that they have swayed the public perception of where the middle is. The very judges that the conservative Republicans nominated to the Supreme Court: Sandra Day O’Conner (Reagan), John Paul Stevens (Ford) and David Souter (G.H.W. Bush) among them, are now seen as too liberal, decried by those on the Fundamentalist Right as too permissive and not toeing the line of their interpretation of God’s law as they think it should apply to all people. The intent of the Fundamentalist machine is to create the perception that moderate conservatives are liberal, entirely so the Fundamentalist Far Right seems more acceptable. You know where that puts the left.

I don’t know the nature of man’s law prior to Moses bringing the tablets down from the mountain but I am certain that man had laws, or rules for dealing with each other, that were upheld by the people of the area for the common good. Moses bringing God’s law to the Jews in the form of ten commandments on two tablets, along with the 603 other laws of the Old Testament, created a basis for living that was understood by them to be pleasing to God.

But what of people that don’t have that God in their hearts and mind? What of the Gentiles of 20AD and the non-Christians of 2005?

Reading the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans can be a fantastic insight into God’s law and how it applies to Jew and Gentile alike. We realize that the law (God's law) is dissolved, that it was both too much and too little, no person could be perfect by the law, and even if they were, they would still fall short of God’s hopes in other areas. Of those that didn’t have God’s law Paul wrote, the “Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirement of the law are written on their hearts…”

God’s law is for all people, whether they have Christ as their Savior or not. God’s law, the literal 613 laws of the Old Testament, simply didn’t work. That’s why God came up with a New Covenant in Jesus Christ. God's new law is more expansive than the old law and less specific. The briefest summary may be "Love thy neighbor as thyself," which is, interestingly, God's law from Leviticus as well as confirmed by Jesus in Luke 10:27-28.

Most importantly, God’s law is only to be judged by God. On this small planet we are all neighbors. Love your neighbor.

Man’s law is the essence of our getting along on this planet and in America. It is the middle ground where people of all faiths and people of no faith can come together, either agreeing or agreeing to disagree, accepting that this is what the majority believes is proper (and sometimes minimally proper) conduct for all. Along the lines of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” but with a twist that if your personal ideals are of a higher standard, then don’t do all that they may do. As Christians, our faith drives us to not participate in many activities that we consider wrong, some of which are seen as entirely acceptable to others. As Christians, it is not our place to attempt to instill God’s law on others without first instilling an understanding of God in them. Without an understanding of God, there is no faith. Without faith, God’s law has no meaning to them. That is why there is man’s law.

Man's law in America may well be overwritten with the Fundamentalist Right's current interpretation of God's law by the simple reason that a huge number of people don’t vote, and those that want to push God’s law (and corporate beneficial law to whatever degree they can fit that into their theology) are very well orchestrated in their takeover of the legislature and the courts.

Those on the left need to get out the vote in the coming elections. Those on the right are a decade ahead in working the machine to their advantage. True freedom in America may already be set up to pay a high price in the coming decades due to the expected confirmation of Supreme Court justices by the government currently in place, far beyond the losses incurred by the Patriot Act.

Christian Fundamentalists want to control our government. They are creating a public perception that the old conservative right is now the middle so that their Fundamentalist Right’s Biblical interpretation becomes the new right. Moderate Christians, progressive Christians, and any Christian that doesn’t think stoning of adulterers a good thing need to be especially active in spreading the word both for the sake of the perception of our faith as well as for the freedoms that America was founded to secure for all citizens.

Seek out people that don’t vote. Let them know the losses they are incurring and that their vote DOES make a difference. It is a matter of small numbers deciding which candidates win. Each vote counts more now than ever. There is little advantage to discussing this situation with folks that already vote for Democratic Party candidates; we need to get new voters to the polls, with their minds thinking clearly, to bring a change of balance in ’06 and again in ’08.


Blogger Democracy said...

I'm glad to find this site.

7/16/2005 1:44 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Thanks Democracy -

Please join in the conversation. I realize that I fairly make statements rather than create open ended topics, but there is much to be added, confirmed or denied. Tell me please, what do you think of any particular aspect of this site?

7/18/2005 4:14 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Thank you SO much for your insight. I would have considered myself a Republican up until a few years ago. I just started rethinking my stance on things. I love Jesus and am doing my best to follow Him, and organize my mind into a coherent worldview that best emulates Him. I find the current Republican leadership reprehensible, and the antithesis of godly leaders. I have been a democrat/independent for a few years now, and I really appreciate your insights and sincere desire to find and live out truth. Sometimes it's hard for me, because a lot of my friends are Republicans, and sometimes I get frustrated that they don't see some of the things that are going on with the President and such. But life is a journey I suppose. Thank you for your thoughts and dedication to growth.

9/13/2005 8:36 AM  
Blogger Christian Democrat said...

Thanks Wendy!

9/16/2005 10:39 AM  
Blogger TAXIN GOD said...

The Catholic Church must pay !

After this past Sundays' (Oct. 2, 2005) event by the Catholic Church collecting signatures inside the building, regarding the initiative petition to end same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. This IRS regulation, continues on with regards to the 501 status, therefore, its time the tax paying Americans takes action to ensure that the Catholic Church loses it 501 status.

The tax exemption status of religious organizations (501(c)(3) status ). It is very obvious that the Catholic Church does not qualify for this status any more. The church is actively attempting to influence legislation.

In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying). A 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status.

Legislation includes action by Congress, any state legislature, any local council, or similar governing body, with respect to acts, bills, resolutions, or similar items (such as legislative confirmation of appointive office), or by the public in referendum, ballot initiative, constitutional amendment, or similar procedure. It does not include actions by executive, judicial, or administrative bodies.

An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.

Organizations may, however, involve themselves in issues of public policy without the activity being considered as lobbying. For example, organizations may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Whether an organization’s attempts to influence legislation constitute a substantial part of its overall activities is determined on the basis of all the pertinent facts and circumstances in each case. The IRS considers a variety of factors, including the time devoted (by both compensated and volunteer workers) and the expenditures devoted by the organization to the activity, when determining whether the lobbying activity is substantial.

Under the substantial part test, an organization that conducts excessive lobbying activity in any taxable year may lose its tax-exempt status, resulting in all of its income being subject to tax. In addition, a religious organization is subject to an excise tax equal to five percent of its lobbying expenditures for the year in which it ceases to qualify for exemption.

Further, a tax equal to five percent of the lobbying expenditures for the year may be imposed against organization managers, jointly and severally, who agree to the making of such expenditures knowing that the expenditures would likely result in the loss of tax-exempt status.

Organizations undertake voter education activities by distributing voter guides. Voter guides, generally, are distributed during an election campaign and provide information on how all candidates stand on various issues. These guides may be distributed with the purpose of educating voters; however, they may not be used to attempt to favor or oppose candidates for public elected office.

10/08/2005 12:26 PM  

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