By: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
A Critique of Libertarian Considerations regardingLimited Government,
The Meaning of Marriage, Free Will, and the Christian Nation
From: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 2:12 PM
Subject: RE: Marriage Re-defined er, umm I mean UN-defined
City Hall in San Francisco
(A scene at City Hall in San Francisco ) ‘Next.’ ‘Good morning. We want to apply for a marriage license.”Names?”Tim and Jim Jones.”Jones? Are you related? I see a resemblance.”Yes, we’re brothers.”Brothers? You can’t get married.”Why not? Aren’t you giving marriage licenses to same-gender couples?”Yes, thousands. But we haven’t had any siblings. That’s incest!”Incest?’ No, we are not gay.”Not gay? Then why do you want to get married?”For the financial benefits, of course. And we do love each other. Besides, we don’t have any other prospects.”But we’re issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples who’ve been denied equal protection under the law. If you are not gay, you can get married to a woman.”Wait a minute. A gay man has the same right to marry a woman as I have. But just because I’m straight doesn’t mean I want to marry a woman. I want to marry Jim.”And I want to marry Tim, Are you going to discriminate against us just because we are not gay?”All right, all right. I’ll give you your license. Next.”Hi. We are here to get married.”Names?”John Smith, Jane James, Robert Green, and June Johnson.”Who wants to marry whom?”We all want to marry each other.”But there are four of you!”That’s right. You see, we’re all bisexual. I love Jane and Robert, Jane loves me and June, June loves Robert and Jane, and Robert loves June and me. All of us getting married together is the only way that we can express our sexual preferences in a marital relationship.”But we’ve only been granting licenses to gay and lesbian couples.’ ‘Well, I mean, you have to draw the line somewhere.’ ‘Who says? There’s no logical reason to limit marriage to couples. The more the better. Besides, we demand our rights! The mayor says the constitution guarantees equal protection under the law. Give us a marriage license!”All right, all right. Next.”Hello, I’d like a marriage license.”In what names?”David Deets.”And the other man?”That’s all. I want to marry myself.”Marry yourself? What do you mean?”Well, my psychiatrist says I have a dual personality, so I want to marry the two together. Maybe I can file a joint income-tax return.”That does it! I quit!! You people are making a mockery of marriage!!’
John: This is interesting Tom. I once read a science fiction book a long time ago about “line marriage” in which the marriage never ends. As soon as a partner dies, the surviving spouse marries another person at least one generation younger. There were some marriages that lasted hundreds of years and dozens and dozens of husbands and wives all in one heterosexual monogamous marriage. And that was not even addressing the additional permutations mentioned in this joke!
Thomas: All organizations of marriage are not merely alternate permutations of coupling. The example you gave, Serial intergenerational heterosexual monogamy, is not sinful, as it aligns fully with Biblical precepts that allow remarriage after the death of a spouse. No personal or social degradation results from this practice, in fact just the opposite as it binds the society and the generations together in a lineage of sharing and training in relational wisdom and righteousness. On the other hand, bigamy, bestiality, adultery, homosexuality, fornication, prostitution, promiscuity, swinging, incest, and pederasty are all practices which violate the natural social order as designed by God. Possibly unGodly sexuality produces its effect of disintegrating and coarsening the society because of the subconscious training in life metaphors that results from embracing disharmonious sexual relationships. Possibly there is an unseen metaphysical soul bonding that happens between sexual partners, and unnatural sexual acts cause changes in the heart, soul, mind, and/or spirit of the man who engages these acts.
This entire debate about Homosexual Marriage hinges on the question as to whether all but monogamous married heterosexual relationships produce unhealthy changes in the psyche of its practitioners. The Bible declares that sin degrades the body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” We see some evidence of this degradation in those with sexually transmitted diseases, victims of incest, adulterers, and sex addicts. Some tell stories of a promiscuous past and appear to have suffered little, while others relate stories of enduring pain, scars, or deadened feelings. Every stimulus produces a broad spectrum of response in humanity, but there may be unseen subtle soul and psyche changes that occur with each unnatural sexual coupling. If people are changed and made less healthy in any way by participating in these acts, the damage done to the individual will produce a wave of sickness that ripples through society. And, if this is true, then private sexual behavior is of concern to society.
John: I agree with the sentiment about the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman. But my only reservation is that I don’t believe “the state” is a partner in a marriage. If two people want to consider themselves married, what difference does the government make? There is nothing “official” about the commitment to marry other than what the two people covenant with each other. The government has no business being part of it.
Thomas: I agree that the state does not sanctify marriage, nor does the State necessarily need to regulate, record, or authorize it. Marriage is an institution defined and preserved by God. One of the primary reasons for government involvement in any particular domain of life is whether or not the private sector is regulating itself in a Godly manner. Granted, this is not the reason for most government involvement, but it should be a primary consideration. Government’s natural function in a Godly society is to execute the duties akin to the brain and central nervous system of the body. In general, these functions are well categorized as executive, legislative, and judicial. Examples of the appropriate and inherent functions of government include mobilization of the group action to fight the attack of an outside entity, and the gathering of group resources to create sufficient force to overcome a large force. The brain/government should allow the local autonomic functioning of the various tissues, but there are times when the central nervous system will need to override local control.
When the organs of the private domain have moved outside of Godliness and begin to express an unhealthy independent expression of function, the government should intervene and bring the errant function into proper regulation. A government that enforces slavery, tyranny, and unrighteous standards is a perversion of the purpose of government. If the government is unrighteous, then government is as much a problem as is the unrighteous private sector. The Libertarian view is that government is inherently the problem and that eliminating government will solve the problem. In actuality, “unrighteous government” is the problem. Government should serve the purpose of providing guidance for a society that has poor internal private sector mechanisms for establishing righteous rules and self-regulating behavior in a particular domain of life.
Marriage is an institution established by God. The marriage vows need only be State-enforced if people choose to violate the sanctity and permanence of that vow. The private sector close to the individual should teach and support its members in the maintenance of fidelity, stamina, and righteous relationship. The state need only be involved when the society loses its moral Godly direction and thus threatens the quality of the group life. The breakdown of marriage threatens the stability of society. Private behavior matters since it is the sum of all private actions that constitute the aggregate group experience. Marriage is only one of the private contracts and behaviors that should be properly regulated by peers, church, family, and self. If the various virtues are not self-imposed and supported by the group, the society will decay.
The more obvious sins that degrade a society include fornication, adultery, drinking and gambling to excess, drug abuse, prostitution, homosexuality, and abortion. But a societal alliance with Godliness has been submerged so deeply that modern-day prophets speaking against these violations of Godliness receive only timid support. Political correctness, tolerance, multicultural sensitivity, religious pluralism, and Secular Humanism have become so entrenched as ethical standards that we have forgotten the standard, lost faith that the standards are true, or been intimidated by PC epithets. The result is that few of us openly oppose sin in our personal adult-to-adult sphere of interaction. In this world of relative values, parents are reluctant to impose moral values on children when they have only a tentative conviction of their truth.
The sin and unGodliness of the individual proliferate to degrade the societal tone when its practice is unopposed by censure. If the private sector does not have the will and courage to intervene in the lives of its violators of moral law, then the State is left to oppose this internal decay. But, in a representative democracy, those who would be elected to establish and enforce the standards of righteousness must be recognized and elevated by the same population that has embraced moral error. The Founders realized that a representative democracy required a nation of men that had a commitment to high moral character. The leaders were to be chosen from the elders who had become mature in their righteous character. A society will tend to recognize and elect those with that elevated character to establish the laws and enforced standards of righteousness only if they aspire to that character themselves. But, we have now outlawed Judeo-Christian ethics from influencing government in an acknowledged manner. Instead, we have pushed the standard of public service and general ethical standards down toward the lowest ethical common denominator of Secular Humanism. To solve the problem of internal decay, we must reinstate God and Godliness into the center of our moral universe, adopt the revealed ethics of Scripture as our formal guide, and commit to hearing the Holy Spirit and His leading.)
John: So, if the government has no moral say in whether two heterosexual people are married, then what is to stop any collection of people from “considering” themselves married?
Thomas: As noted above, the government has the implicit charge to maintain the highest moral order of society. And that highest moral order is the set of standards established by God. Those who are called as standard bearers are the ones who should take on the burden of leadership in advocating for society and government to conform behavior and laws to those standards.
Government can be an agent of enforcement of wrong standards, in which case the righteous groan and should rebel against governmental authority. When the government is righteous, the evil hide, submit or are otherwise diminished in their influence. The people prosper in the joy of peace, justice, comfort, and abundance when Jehovah God is our Lord.)
John: We can look at it as a mockery or diminution of a sacred value of marriage, but even the view of being offended is only one of many views. So, while I am personally socially conservative in my own choices and I want my family to share my values and my son to treat marriage as highly I do, I don’t have a problem with other people choosing whatever for their own lives.
Thomas: You have taken the philosophical view that even “offense at mockery” is simply a human reactive response. This perspective comes from the school of thought which declares that everything is relative. Without an absolute standard against which to compare a particular situation, all moral perspectives appear equal in their potential validity. You are correct to note that people can take many views of marriage, and just because a person feels strongly, there is no logical necessity that this view is correct. And, the implication of naming heterosexual marriage as simply one of the many possible choices, the validity of taking offense becomes questionable, since the definition of marriage is a relative value, and so is taking offense a relative value. Thus, without an absolute standard, any moral perspective is placed on the same plane as another, and all moral standards are placed as simply “one of many choices”. With this perspective there is no solid substantiation to the proposition that marriage is an inherently good and divinely appointed moral position; nothing can be declared as True, Right, and Good with certainty.
I believe you are correct in your choice of socially conservative values, as I believe this is coincident with the standard of human behavior designed by God to produce the maximum personal satisfaction and the most harmonious group/societal environment. True, the human judgment of what is Godly and unGodly sexuality is a belief system. Still, there is still an absolute standard that stands outside of man’s judgment. The person who has evaluated a moral standard may be right or wrong in God’s eyes since no man can declare with absolute certainty that his perspective of Life is True and consistent with God’s judgment. Nevertheless, I believe life built within it a set of principles of action that direct life to manifest its optimum experience, and we must each make a choice as to the set of principles. That is really the point of free will, to be able to use our discrimination and free us of the bondage of allegiance to addictions to suboptimal thought and feeling belief patterns. It matters what we believe, and how we act as in some small way we influence all of life. We do not dance and act alone in this highly interconnected full-duplex web of life. Our environment influences us, and we influence the environment.
Living in a world where there are no boundaries to sexual behavior will manifest a different social climate than one where society supports and enforces consequences on those who violate the Godly boundaries of sexuality. The Federal government by Constitutional mandate has no authority to pass laws that regulate behaviors in the territory of personal behavior, except those listed in the Constitution. That power has been given to the States by the 10th Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The restrictive conditions on the Federal authority to intervene in issues that should have been reserved for the States have been almost fully subverted by various strategies. One of the primary methods by which states are put under federal jurisdiction is by accepting federal funds for various reasons such as roads, education, Medicare, etc. The Federal enforcement in personal moral decisions in areas such drug use, abortion, marriage laws, euthanasia, etc. have been given Federal jurisdiction because of false imputation of unConstitutional principles such as “privacy”, equal opportunity, and separation of church and state. This usurpation of legal authority can be based on legal precedent as any legal scholar can bend the letter of the law to suit his purpose. Likewise, this bending of law can be justified by a broad, progressive, metaphorical and living interpretation of Constitutional principles. And, such is the case in the arena of federal regulation of personal freedoms. The Federal Government should return to the States and jurisdiction regarding personal behaviors. In turn, the city and county governments should pass ordinances that give definition to the specifics of allowable and disallowed practices within that State. But ultimately, the goal is to transfer the establishment and enforcement of personal Godliness from government (at all levels) to families, church, and peer groups so as to make enforcement of Godliness by government an unnecessary intervention.)
John: Of course I strongly believe that we all have to live with the consequences! If somebody doesn’t exercise and overeats, or takes drugs, or gets polluted on alcohol, don’t come running to me to pay your medical bills because of your voluntary choices.
Thomas: The perspective of individual responsibility is at the heart of social conservatism, limited government, and a culture of accountability. Enforcement of the group social mores should be administered by the natural consequences of business, public, and family censure in a society that innately endorses Godliness. Sinful behavior will thrive if consequences are prohibited by law (such as prohibiting discipline for misbehavior at school). When consequences are prohibited, this results in codependent facilitation of unGodliness, which protects the sinner from the natural consequences of his deeds. Little learning occurs without the natural feedback of pain.
Allowing unGodly sexuality at the level of the State, County, and City is only one step away from endorsing, supporting, and allowing all personal choices that diminish the quality of the individual life. The individual’s choices of food, exercise, and drugs have implications for the quality of life of those in our environment. The private sector networks should teach, train, and support the individual in the full spectrum of Godly thought, word, and deed. Otherwise, the government must intervene to set and enforce the Godly standard.)
John: There is a little armchair philosophy for you this afternoon from the perspective of a Libertarian.
Thomas: My perspective is from a framework of a Christian Constitutional Republic, with limited Federal government, a capitalistic based market, and simple laws. The best and least government can only be manifested when the people have within themselves the personal moral commands of Biblical Christianity, which reflects God’s absolute laws. When the people have embraced Godliness and enforced it within the family unit, then the city, county, and state need not intervene to restrain and punish the rebel.)
John: Tom, I think I might add that I am not discounting any religious view here. Let’s say your religious view calls for the sanctity of marriage and let’s say that your view is cosmically correct — in tune with God’s wishes, etc. That still does not prove a need for intervention by the force of the state.
Thomas: You are correct, the truth of God’s will for people’s behavior need not be legislated nor enforced by the State. Rather, the standards for marriage and other moral issues should be set and enforced by the family, church, school, and peer community. But, if the violations of Right behavior are not properly disciplined and contained by the private sector, the contagion of unrighteousness will spread and infect ever larger portions of the community. The local government should then intervene and pass ordinances of town policy and enforcement consistent with State Law. And, if the desired standard does not exist, or State Law is contrary to the desired Godly standard, then an initiative or legislative effort should be mounted to educate legislators and the electorate about the rightness of this principle. Electioneering through the media and personal discussion will persuade a majority of good people to vote to put on the legislative bonds of law. And again, such measures should be the final barrier that prevents the rebel from violating the space of his neighbor. Every effort should be made to strengthen the tools of teaching and training in Righteousness by the private sector. Every crime committed against self or others that requires State intervention is an indicator of the failure of the private sector. Part of the enforcement intervention by the State should include an analysis of the social network from which the violator came. The prescription for rehabilitation of the violator should thus include changes in the violator’s support system. The point being, to make future State intervention unnecessary because the private social network has been brought to a greater state of righteousness, wisdom, and discrimination of right behavior. Such interventions would truly be of help, and valuable for social workers, and others who confront the legal system.)
John: What about free will? What about the freedom to choose to destroy yourself? We have that ability to choose built in, and the universe (God) certainly favors us having such an ability or we would not have it — one way or another. So, if people want to willingly choose the wrong way to live, that is still their choice. A very sad choice indeed, but the exercise of their own God-given free will, none the less. What would be the argument against the case I just gave?
Thomas: God has certainly given us Free Will. But, Free Will was given because it was a necessary option to build a universe that had meaning, purpose, and interest. Obviously, having free will does not mean that we should exercise that Free Will option to do wrong since such choices produce the bad and painful effects that God wants us to resist because they produce pain in self and others. We have been created to be in a relationship with God, and doing wrong separates us from that intimate relationship, but it also reduces the quality of life. We have the option to live a low quality of life, but to follow this path is to follow the false satanic seduction that the path of rebellion, self-indulgence in the dissipative pleasures of unGodliness is of greater benefit and joy than the path of restrained Godliness. We have been given the option to do wrong, but that option should remain closed, not just because it pleases God, but because our happiness and joy in life are truly maximized by those choices. The free will choice to destroy one’s self is truly seductive because there is an actual rush, thrill, glee, and joy of destruction that we can experience. And, that thrill truly does feel good and looks good from the outside. The fool can choose that path, and feel very powerful and rebellious against the restrictive bonds of God’s standards, but in the end, he suffers and finds his life was broken and he is left as an invalid. The wise man submits to righteous regulation, realizing he lives in God’s world, and God’s recommended restrictions of action are the guidance of a loving father, not the prohibition of a Scrooge.
But, the real question is, “Should the government restrict us from choosing options that God has given us free will to choose?” And, in particular, “Should government apply punishment to the individual who chooses by his Free Will to act in opposition to God’s Law in arenas of the supposedly ‘victimless crimes’?” And the answer is “yes”. If the general social network has poor standards of discrimination and acts as a codependent facilitator of wrong behavior, then force must be applied from some quarter to stop the damage and spread of the rebellious spirit.
But, such allopathic intervention, like using antibiotics, is helpful only as an acute intervention to prevent an infection from overtaking the body and killing it. To prevent the recurrent infection of wrong and rebellious behavior, society must embrace the wide adoption of Godly social theory and habits of behavior. Without that strong pattern of health deeply embedded in the soul of the culture, the society remains susceptible to the next seducing influence of human passions and false theories of life. A host of spiritual forces continually seeks to infect the hearts of the ignorant and foolish to produce decay and disorder in the individual and group life. These spiritual forces are mechanical and are the spiritual equivalents of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. They are thrilled and motivated by death and decay, and attempt to bring all things to dust and elemental dissolution. This satanic, hell world of decay is not personal, its just a job, one of the polarities of life. It was created to be the sink, the receptor of all things created, to break down all things formed into complex entities, and return them to the primal state of disintegrated possibility. The Bible refers to hell as “Gahanna”, which translates roughly to, “garbage dump”. Thus, the point is to keep the spiritual parasites from acting on the soul and disintegrating our functionality, and we do this best by following the Godly rules of life.)
John: Just as a man can consider himself married to another man, or a dog, or a can opener, every other person is not obliged to consider such a person as married just because the person wants it. I can equally (and very foolishly) claim in my own mind that a heterosexual couple who have been together for 70 years is not in fact married if I want to. Marriage is subjective, not metaphysical. (Marriage does not stand alone in nature without man.) So, just as a gay couple can say, “we are married”, anyone else has just as much right to say, “No, you are not”.
Thomas: Your point is that marriage is a subjective distinction rather than an actual objective state that we could identify as a “thing” with independent identifiable existence. You believe that marriage is so subjective that it is possible for people to make their own definition and declaration of marriage, and since it is subjective, that an external observer could likewise impose his own definition of the married or unmarried state upon that same person.
This point and argument reference again the issue of relative and absolute definitions and the existence of spiritual principles. Your comment can be used to diminish the significance and meaning of the declaration of marriage to the point of being an individual state of mind that has no real substance. And, by so doing, the debate about the proper standard for marriage is resolved by reducing its import to an argument over literally nothing. But, if marriage has a standard that is defined by God, and that standard produces the greatest life satisfaction, then the fact that men have other opinions about the definition of marriage is simply to acknowledge that men choose to be foolish, and exalt their sophistry by declaring that they have other definitions, that there is plausibly no Right definition, and therefore they are free to act as they choose and feel justified within their own minds of their correctness.
I agree that marriage is a subjective distinction that exists in the mind, but it cannot be dismissed as simply a subjective definition. The implication of people acting on this principle is that people and groups organize around this state of mind and its associated commitment. The fact that the definition of marriage so strongly organizes and shapes human behavior justifies the intervention of the State if the private sector has lost sight of its proper definition and practice.
Every human distinction (love, justice, mercy) is likewise subjective. And just like marriage, they may exist in the human experience and also have an independent life as spiritual archetypes that embody the essence of this particular principle of life. Giving the abstract principalities of life a spiritual understructure is an exercise in theoretical speculation because we have no absolute tangible, sense-validated evidence of its existence. But, I believe there is good inferential evidence for the existence of the spirit world. The octaves and metaphors of life surround us like the air we breathe. The occasional supernatural occurrence gives us reason to suspect a world outside our own. And, the dreams that occasionally predict the wildly unexpected give us cause to speculate about the existence of a spiritual dimension beyond this physical. The principles of love, justice, and evil (among a host of others) speak to the existence of a metaphysical realm of spirit where the human experience of these abstractions has a more concrete manifestation in a realm that God sees, and we perceive only dimly.
Thus, like other abstract principles, marriage has both metaphysical and practical implications. Bonding with anyone, making a vow, creating a contract of allegiance and alliance has both a spiritual and practical effect. On the spiritual level, marriage once declared creates a life of “us” that is given power and seeks to maintain its own survival and acceptability of the union.
We see the destructiveness of the homosexual movement in the imposition of their moral framework upon the larger body politic. This group demands tolerance for their unGodly sexual behavior while demanding censure of those who speak God’s standards of sexuality. Their demand for acceptance of their lifestyle and sexual choices has gone beyond the privacy of the bedroom (which was the argument upon which the Lawrence v. Texas case was ruled). Evidence of the tyranny of homosexual rule was seen immediately after Texas’ right to prohibit homosexual acts was overturned. Emboldened by this legal affirmation of their sexual choices, the homosexual community began demanding that homosexual marriage is recognized by State Law in Massachusetts and given all the legal benefits and recognition of heterosexual marriage. Additionally, the homosexual community has already demonstrated its influence over the judicial process as evidenced by the Federal Judicial Activism that has overturned State laws and Amendments approved by the electorate with wide margins.
Thus, while the marriage commitment is a private vow, the spirit, and passion that it inspires extend beyond the marriage bed and deeply penetrates the policies of government and societal standards. We can say “No” to giving homosexuality and homosexual unions our moral approval in a private way, but unless the boundaries against its control and encroachment are enforced, this particularly virulent moral disease will bring deep decay to the social order. Secular Humanism is incapable of generating a moral justification to oppose the spread of this moral virus. Only a broadly based re-embrace of Christian principles will bring our society to embrace and establish the proper standards of a social organization that produces a maximized experience of life.)
John: Of course, the gay couple might claim that they are “offended” by another person’s claim that they are not married. But that’s where I draw the line. Too bad! I have a right to feel offended! Just as I have a fundamental right to include or exclude from my personal or business life whomever I choose. (To the chagrin of many civil rights advocates!)
Thomas: You, of course, have the right to be offended as a free moral agent, and I applaud your willingness to express your offense in the face of the pressure to be politically correct. Expressing our offense against unGodliness requires the courage of self-confidence to reject the approval of men and to stand against the standards and intimidation of evil.)
John: Sorry… I will get off the soapbox now.
Thomas: I approach the issue by asking the question, “How has God has designed the universe?” We commonly refer to such a perspective as “what God wants”, but I prefer to view this question in terms of, “What is the truth about the nature and structure of the creation?” We, of course, cannot know for a fact the actual nature of life, nevertheless, we all perceive life, and make opinions about the rules that govern life. This is our belief structure. If we have opinions about God, and they are organized into a formal and widely held doctrine, and/or follow the revelation/teaching of a prophet or representative of God, we call that a set of beliefs a religion.
When people make opinions about life, society, morality, and government, but do not invoke a particular belief system name to validate their belief about how life “is”, then people have cloaked themselves with a patina of objectivity that is actually just the prophet-less religion of Secular Humanism. (Note: various leaders such as John Dewey, Margaret Sanger, and George Bernard Shaw have been spokesmen for the principles of Secular Humanism. These are of course not God-inspired prophets, but introspective philosophers who have elaborated what they consider to be the common understanding of the proper relationship of man to himself and life.) Secular Humanism has various sects (e.g. atheism and agnosticism), but they all have at their heart an embrace of the notion that man has an innate sense of goodness. (Note: this belief in the goodness of man is placed into sharp question when we note that the 20th Century drives to establish the reign of Secular Humanist philosophy have produced the greatest bloodbaths in history, e.g. Mao, Stalin, Hitler…). The Secular Humanist philosophers have argued that the human conceptions of proper relationship should be sufficient for the organization of a society, and make the belief-based systems such as Christianity obsolete.
Your approach is to question the proper domain of governmental authority and to declare that government has no right to intervene in private contracts such as marriage, and personal choices such as suicide, drunkenness, and obesity. In your line of reasoning, you have not invoked a religion, but have instead appealed to a common man’s perception of life. So, while your comments do not reference a particular religion, they nevertheless are a “belief structure”, which is not unlike a religion, and are arguably tenets of the de facto religion of Secular Humanism. The opinions you have about how life “should be” in terms of government involvement is a belief that you have validated by numerous observed facts, emotional experiences, and a logic that weaves them together. Thus, your appeal to common reason and observation is simply the reference system that you use to validate your beliefs about government and its proper relationship to the individual and his personal decisions such as suicide, drug use, fornication, and marriage. This belief system may or may not be true, in terms of being coincident with the True structure and nature of the universe and its governing principles.
But, again the point of the discussion is whether the government should have any place in enforcing a particular view of Truth on the society? The answer is “yes” if the people are unable to establish and train a desired social order using the tools of family and group pressure and censure. Government is the court of last resort in the world of social organization.
You mentioned that God has created man with “Free Will”, and would not have created this capability if He had not intended that man use it. Of course, this is true, in the sense that God designed man as a being able to engage in any activity that the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual frame would allow. But more to the point, “Did God intend that man should act out all those capabilities and options of life?” And of course, the answer is trivial, “No.” Man was given free will but was given that free will with the hope that he would follow the ways of Nature’s God. All options are open to man, but not all options are profitable.
Again, the point of this line of questioning is, “Should government enforce the choices that society believes are the Ways of God?” And the answer is America has been formed around the ideals of freedom, but that freedom does not extend to license and licentiousness, since rampant and generalized immoral (unGodly) behavior destroys the social order, and disintegrates the very fabric and quality of social organization that we are attempting to establish as a wonderful place to live. Thus, freedom by its very nature, to be self-sustaining, stable, and optimized for happiness must be governed by Right standards that are self-imposed by each individual. For the optimum social order to arise and manifest, those standards must be the very standards of God, since anything less will produce a suboptimal social experience.
In other words, the human soul does not like a world that manifests as other than heavenly perfection. There are those who have fallen to the level of a hell world worship of crime, drugs, and perversion, but those aberrations arise as a result of sequences of initial programming and reaction to the environment. Such compensations are truly not examples of manifested human desire and free will. Rather, they are examples of deficiencies of innate ability and nurture, and the lack of a restoring force that helped restrain these souls from destroying themselves and their environment. Again, the gross examples of violation of self (suicide) and society (rape, murder, theft), we can probably agree are worthy of governmental restraint (or restraint by the private social equivalent of government).
The real point of contention is in this arena of sexuality, and secondarily crimes against self. The private sector should be alert to the subtle violations such as rudeness, anger, inattention, unfairness in sharing, and lust, and should intervene to give feedback. The more egregious violations, such as rape, murder, theft, and battery should be handled with a formal and competent intervention. It is possible for the private sector to rise to this level, but commonly the government handles the judicial function in case of serious crimes. The function of a Righteous government is to confront the violation of Godly standards. By so doing, the government provides a legislated standard of proper Godly behavior. Again, the government should only enact social legislation codifying moral standards on this level when the smaller social units of individuals, family, church have failed to do so. And, the enforcement of these standards should be returned to the private sector as soon as is possible. Having government enact law, and enforce the discipline of men in right action can become a crutch that creates moral laziness in the public. The government should only be the tool of last resort. And, the private sector should re-appropriate that duty after assessing the weakness that leads to the failure and should then institute social changes. The family and church should together strive to create an environment where goodness in personal and group behavior thrives. Such changes could, in turn, eliminate the necessity for governmental intervention in the enforcement of Righteousness.
Regarding free will, God desires that men choose the Godly options, which are the Right and good choices in every area of life. To the degree a man walks the path of Godliness, a man’s heart is to that degree in a de facto synchrony with God’s heart. But, man cannot choose to walk perfectly with God every step of the way because of the confusion and cloud provided by the pull of the heart toward evil, and the lack of right discrimination of the mind in dividing Truth Rightly.
The fact is that every man has violated God’s way and separated himself from God to the extent of that violation. This breach of relationship cannot be atoned for, dissolved, or balanced by good works. Death is the punishment for every sin, regardless of its magnitude. This is because death is required to maintain the purity of the universe of a perfect God. God established a system of attributed death, or atonement in the covenant with Moses, where that sin which required death, could be attributed to the substitutionary death of a perfect animal.
When Jesus died on the cross, He took the place of the sacrificial lamb. The requirement for sin to be punishable by death, and its atonement be paid for by substitutionary death was part of the divine plan and design of the universe. Violation of the smallest of God’s laws is an excursion from His perfection and was by Godly construction a capital offense. This was necessary because God the Father is perfect and cannot include in his presence any soul which has the stain of imperfection. This does not have to do with God being mean, cruel, capricious, or unjust. This is the way the universe had to be constructed so that God the Father could retain the polarity of being perfect. Thus, perfection was necessarily enforced by death/separation of the imperfect sinner. The spirit of sin was the aspect of a man that God could not tolerate in his presence, and that sin could be separated from him by attributing it to the sacrificial animal in the Old Testament, and onto Jesus after He established the New Covenant with man. Thus, without being cleansed of the spirit of sin, the man who has sinned has the spirit of sin upon him, and will necessarily be separated from the Father’s presence. This is why Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” The stain of sin can be removed no other way. Good people are not good enough to be with the Father without being cleansed.
Jesus created the universe. He created the spirits and principalities of good and evil. Jesus/The Word was given the job of creating the universe, with its good and evil, since the Father cannot touch the imperfection of sin. Thus, since Jesus lived a perfect life, it was possible for him to be a perfect sacrifice that could, in fact, die, and take the spirit of sin from a man, and still live. Jesus, as a living spirit, can now take the sin of a man who was willing to let go of the spirit of his sin. To complete the drama, Jesus must then suffer and die as a result of that sin. On some level, Jesus has actually suffered and died in our place, and made possible the repair of the relationship with God. Jesus has already died for our sin, but we must appropriate it, and we must recognize the death that was necessary in our place. We are thus accepting that Jesus took on the consequences of our sin. If we accept with thankfulness the death that was visited upon the body and spirit of Yeshua, Jesus, The Christ, the man who is God, we can remove the inevitable, certain, lawful punishment on our own bodies, soul, and spirit. This acceptance of the sacrifice of God/Christ bows to the nature and necessity of how God had to design the universe. It acknowledges His Lordship, sovereignty, and our willingness to be submitted to the necessary limitations and laws of this creation.
Returning to our original question, “What is the proper place that government has in dictating or guiding men in their choices?” The answer is that the Constitution has given the Federal government very limited power in this area, but the States have been given free rein to make laws that restrict and guide moral decisions. As such, the people may choose to live where they will, and by nature of local jurisdiction, they agree to be governed by the standards of the local culture. If the local culture’s standard is perverse, unjust, or distasteful, then one may choose to move and live in a state with different standards, or one could stay and attempt to change a perverse culture from within.