Yes! Another SSM post!
So I think virtually everyone reading this is in agreement that homosexual sexual activity is a sin. But I know that there is less agreement regarding whether SSM should be legal and even less agreement as to whether the Church should be involved in making it illegal. (My thoughts on that issue are here.) So the real issue here is how, when, whether, and where our personal theological beliefs should be translated into beliefs about what should (not) be legal. Adam Greenwood and I got into this discussion a little on another thread and he offered up this list of situations where one might choose not to push for the imposition of one’s theological beliefs on the public. It is a good and thoughtful list, but it doesn’t give us any guidance in determining when we should choose one rationale from that list as opposed to attempting to apply our theology to a political issue.
I’m not sure what the answer is to that question and so I’m experimenting with the following approach:
(1) The only two issues for which the church has taken a major role in attempting to influence legislation are the ERA and SSM. (Did I miss anything? I’m not talking about isolated comments from GAs, but rather full-fledged attempts to get the Saints to support or oppose specific legislation.)
(2) Now think about all of the issues that the Church has a firm stance on but for which it has not attempted a major effort to influence legislation: this category includes everything from making iced tea to abortion illegal. It includes (not) protesting wars or repeal of sodomy laws or laws allowing homosexuals to adopt or liberalization of divorce laws or . . . well, it is a long list.
(3) What might we conclude about the issue of where the theological meets the political (or: about times when we should attempt to shape laws based on our theological beliefs versus times when we shouldn’t) based on the fact that the ERA and SSM are the two cases that were ‘yeas’ and everything else I mentioned were ‘nays’?
Your thoughts? First of all, is my approach (of putting the ERA and SSM in one column and everything else in another) a good one for determining the criteria by which we determine when we should attempt to legislate our beliefs? And if it is, what do you conclude: What makes the ERA and SSM different from everything else?