Why Now?
Saturday, April 16, 2005
  Some Background
By now you have seen the poster put out by the Family Research Council with the kid in the golf shirt and both hands palms up onto which someone has photoshopped an old book and a gavel that are both too small and out of proportion.

If you have missed it you can drop by Rugo's, Echidne's, or Pandagon to see the poster and join in the commentary. I would address another facet of this foolishness.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, only the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, are considered the "Word of G-d", the Torah. Everything else is the writing of men, which is compiled in another book, the Talmud, the Law.

If your claim is that the laws of the US should be based on the Judeo-Christian tradition, then you are saying that the Talmud is the basis for US courts, and nothing contained in the New Testament is applicable. The only Christian version of laws is the canon law of the Church, and that is hardly applicable to interstate commerce.

If you judge the Schiavo case on Biblical standards, then the court has judged in accordance with Biblical tradition of the wife "belonging" to the husband. The wife's family has no standing under Biblical tradition. You are admonished to honor your parents, not your in-laws.

Perhaps a learned rabbi could find a case within the Talmud, which would bear directly on this matter, but another rabbi would find a different ruling that went the other way, and, in accordance with the tradition of such things, others would join in with their own precedents.

The Bible is a guide for the individual. To be effective a religion must be believed, not forced. As Pope Gelasius I made clear in his writings in last half of the fifth century, Church and state are separate institutions with separate responsibilities. The Church is responsible for souls, while the state is responsible for bodies.

The later conflicts between the Church and the state generally arose from the state intruding on the traditional rights and prerogatives of the Church.

That some are still trying to argue this point more than 15 centuries later demonstrates how difficult it is to teach people who will not learn.


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