Your letter in Tuesday’s paper made me think deeply about my own faith, the Bible, ethics and law. I thank you and Thomas Wynne for sparking a debate.
It was my son who first showed me that the Bible we had used, in part, to teach him right from wrong, had many passages that could be considered inconsistencies and contradictions based on interpretation.
It was difficult for me at first, as the word of God had been my guide for nearly 40 years. After much deliberation and thought, I found that my son was not trying to harm our family’s faith, but rather help direct it in a more truthful and ethical direction. Years have passed since my son and I had that first difficult discussion and the Bible has since become clearer to me than ever.
Using misinterpretations, varying interpretations and even literal interpretations of scripture, the Bible can be and is used to push discriminatory and sometimes evil agendas.
As an example of a discriminatory agenda, you identify yourself as a pastor, so as I’m sure you know, Timothy 2:11-12 states: “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.”
This quote has been used for centuries to keep women out of the Church. Today it is still a debated topic that both sides argue the Bible is clear about. Unfortunately, like many other verses contained within it, the Bible isn’t clear. If the Bible was clear in this situation, there would never have been a debate.
In your letter, you mentioned that there isn’t a submission to remove laws against child abuse, violence or theft, but there is a submission to remove laws banning homosexual behaviour. For someone as deeply immersed in the Church as yourself, it may be hard to view these topics through the eyes of ethics rather than those of the Bible, but it needs to be pointed out that these laws are very different and in fact, incomparable.
Victims of child abuse, violence and theft are truly victims. What two consenting adults do in their own private bedroom does not harm you or anyone else, yet the Church chooses to make these private acts its business. Current legislation makes homosexual sex a crime. But this crime is truly victimless, currently a crime because of religious views, and as such, the law must be repealed.
Years ago I would have told you that basing laws on God’s word was necessary for morality, but through my education and travels I’ve found that ethics and God’s word are separable and should be kept that way.
Laws based on religious views discriminate against those with varying religious faiths and even those with varying interpretations of identical scripture. Laws should be made while holding human ethics as of paramount importance.
I choose to keep the Bible in my bedroom, but absolutely disagree with the Church’s forcing of the Bible into bedrooms of others through government intervention.
Keep religion and government separate.