The governor of Colorado signed into law a bill to repeal a state law that criminalized — but included no penalty for — adultery. The bill passed the full House by a vote of 37-26, and passed the full Senate by a vote of 23-10. The bill takes effect on August 7.
Colorado Family Action says that repealing the adultery law will lead to “the disruptions of families, promotion of prostitution and unwed pregnancies.” Dr. Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, opposes the repeal. He says the law serves as “a reminder of the public nature of marriage and the societal threat of adultery.”
For Christians and others who take seriously the Judeo-Christian ethic “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” is this terrible news? Consider the following:
Are laws about making statements, or punishing crimes? A law without a penalty, it would seem, is not really a law.
Even if the law did have a penalty, does it make sense to criminalize an activity that voluntarily takes place behind closed doors? Perhaps Mohler wouldn’t object to having cameras installed in his home, just to make the law enforceable.
Is adultery a violation of another person’s rights, freedom or property? Isn’t adultery, as the Apostle Paul said, a sin “against their own body (1 Cor.6:18)?” If so, should the state enforce a sin against a person’s own body?
Should Christians look to the state to enforce their own morality? At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, hasn’t the state been, at times, guilty of the greatest examples of immoral acts, such as killing and stealing? If so, why would Christians look to the state to enforce their moral code?
While he strongly condemned sexual immorality, the apostle Paul discouraged the Corinthian church from going to the state to enforce their moral code. He considered the state, “whose way of life is scorned in the church, (1Cor.6:4)” incompetent to judge such matters. He goes on to ask the church, “Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? (6:5)”
Christians who are quick to criticize Islamic countries for prescribing and proscribing all manner of behavior are very inconsistent when they support the same thing here.