A March 4 e-mail from the Houston Area Pastor Council demonstrates the religious right’s insistence that our nation’s laws be based on narrow religious beliefs. The e-mail features an essay by a pastor who argues that President Obama is guilty of pitting “the Constitution against the bible on a matter of fundamental human morality.”
Specifically, Pastor John Crimmins of Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Houston criticizes the Obama administration for asserting last month that part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The administration will not defend in court the part of DOMA that bars federal marriage benefits even for same-sex couples legally married in states that now recognize such unions. The administration will continue to enforce the full law unless federal courts strike it down.
Crimmins essentially argues that the administration is doing something that simply shouldn’t be permitted: opposing a law that, he says, only God can change. Says Crimmins:
“God, not the Constitution, instituted and defined marriage. . . . Marriage is a creation ordinance. It cannot be modified by the laws of man. It comes to us from Nature’s God. As such the definition of marriage must be affirmed by any Constitution and any people seeking to be governed by the Law of Nature and its God.”
Truth is, the person pitting the Constitution against the Bible here is Crimmins. The Constitution absolutely protects the right to live his life according to his own religious beliefs. But it also protects the fundamental right of others not to share Crimmins’ particular religious beliefs nor to be bound by them. If Crimmins is looking for a constitutional conflict, he need only read his own words.
4 thoughts on “The Constitution vs. the Bible?”
The criticism launched by Pastor Crimmins, and others who oppose the Constitution as written and as validated by the Supreme Court can only be made the law of the land by amending the Constitition by ratification by three quarters of the state legislatures to establish some aspect of religion as law. That is unlikely to happen as it only takes thirteen state legislatures to defeat any such amendment.
Until that time, any laws passed by state legislatures or by the Congress that call for the establishment of any religion will fail the appeals process in the Federal Courts and the Supemen Court.
As we find today in religous propaganda is the advocation of a Kingdom on Earth which the present Constitution prohibits through it’s guarantee of a republican form of government, and the prohibitions of titles of nobility. This leaves Pastor Crimmins in the role of advocating the violent overthrow of the government, and as such subject to the current batch of laws that authorize those who conspire to overthrow the government. The Patriot Act should be put in play at this time.
Pastor Crimmins just doesn’t like folks that “aren’t like us.” Whatever that is. What Crimmins wants is a court system that metes out justice based on “principles” and there are examples of this in the world. Saudi Arabia and Iran come to mind. Perhaps not the rulings the good pastor would advocate, but religious rulings never the less.
Crimmins should be careful for what he asks.
Notice how Crimmins claims to be a Christian, but his whole mindset is outside of the New Testament and wrapped tightly in Old Testament legalism. He does not want a Christian nation or a Christian world. He wants a Jewish world. If he really wanted a Christian world he would be focused primarily on the red words of Jesus in the New Testament.
Also, in the Bible, God makes it clear that he grants individuals and nations the freedom to go their own way in life. That is a right that God himself has bestowed upon mankind. Such free choice may entail consequences of one sort or another in this world and/or the next. However, the choice has been granted—to do good or to do evil.
I would submit to Pastor Crimmins that Christian fundamentalism is dying a slow and sure death in this country—and the government is not going to step in and save it for him. It is my earnest hope that this two-bit religion that was created in the United States in the 1890s would be replaced with the gospel of Jesus Christ as set forth in the New Testament and that it will pay more attention to the words and actions of Jesus. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not something to be processed out of existence simply because it looks impossible to do.
““God, not the Constitution, instituted and defined marriage. . . . Marriage is a creation ordinance. It cannot be modified by the laws of man.”
Marriage, as we currently see it in the West, was invented by the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in 12th Century France. Its primary purpose was to consolidate the Church’s control of the transmission of property between generations of the feudal aristocracy, and therefore its control over the aristocracy itself.
If “marriage is between one man and one woman” were an eternal divine decree, we wonder about the fate of King Solomon who, according to Holy Writ, was not a prime example of “one man, one woman” marriage.