This weekend I heard a couple of times a really terrible exegesis of Rom 13:3-4. This exegesis was used to justify the Christians’ over-fixation with illegalizing gay marriage.

This is how it goes:

  1. The Government “is a minister of God to you for good” (Rom 13:4).
  2. Marriage (the traditional/real kind) is an important component of society.
  3. The Government does good in regulating Marriage because it enforces protections against society’s more vulnerable members (children, women, etcetera.)
  4. Marriage, by definition, is only between a man and a woman.
  5. Therefore, the government should regulate marriage, but only the real kind. As a default, gay marriage cannot exist because it is not real.

The argument is cunningly crafted so that the government is not being overtly Theocratic and illegalizing gay marriage because it is immoral, but rather regulating marriage for the common good…And, by the way, the government can only regulate marriages that are actually real, so the government by consequence cannot recognize gay marriage. This, in effect, illegalizes it.

I brought up in both conversations that the fourth premise is a presupposition based upon the Scripture and/or a particular view of Natural Law. It is not a presupposition shared by all people, so what would stop people with different presuppositions using the government to enforce things we do not like?

The response that I was given was that this is irrelevant, because the truth is the truth. And, being the truth the logic of the above still holds.

What I offer here is my response to that counter-argument, which I could not give because it was time to go tubing on the lake 😉

  1. The Government “is a minister of God to you for good” (Rom 13:4).
  2. Religion (the real kind, i.e. Christianity) is an important component of society.
  3. The Government does good in not taxing religious institutions because they affect the eternal salvation of all of society’s members!
  4. Religion, by definition, can only be Christianity because the Scripture teaches that all other religions are various doctrines of demons and idolatries.
  5. Therefore, the government should not tax religious institutions, but only the real kinds (Christian ones). As a default, all other false religions should be taxed as any other institution.

Is this the sort of society Christians want? In fact, wouldn’t my argument be infinitely more times compelling, being that salvation is more important than protecting the existence of child support or pre- nuptial agreements in courts?

In reality, the argument is nothing more than sophistry, as Christians would never apply it to more important things, let alone the logical extremes that the argument allows for. In fact, I can say that it is in society’s best interest for the government to ban religions, ban fatty foods, ban smoking, ban low profile tires (they wear sooner and are less safe), heck pretty much ban everything because the government “is a minister of God to you for good.”

Maybe, just maybe, Paul was speaking of the rudimentary functions of government that have existed since the beginning (i.e. punishing thieves, murderers, etcetera). If the Holy Spirit meant for us to infer the convoluted argumentation that would not allow for gay marriage, wouldn’t He have been a little more specific? I mean, the governments of ancient times bore no resemblance to the ones today in the sense that they did not serve the role of micromanaging things like marriage, trans-fats in food, and other things which are in the purview of government today.

Another Paul (Ron Paul) made a relevant comment when being yelled at on a television show for his position on drug legalization:

“Why don’t they [the government] put you on a diet, you’re a little overweight!”

If the government is a minster of God to do good, wouldn’t that be good for you? So, why shouldn’t the government get into the diet business?

Maybe we are better off if Christians get out of the sophistry business.