Fallen men and women have made sex, one of God’s greatest gifts, a sordid affair.
Lust, Love, and the Law: Make Adultery Illegal Again!
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Adultery was illegal when I was a boy. Any male found in a motel room with a female not his relation was in danger of jail. Things have sure changed in recent years to the point that just about anything sexual is acceptable “as long as it is between consenting adults.” Astute persons are tragically aware where that kind of thinking has taken us. Led by Hollywood lowlifes, we have a society that resembles a barnyard, and I don’t mean to libel the animals. Animals aren’t expected to have morals; but people are, since they are made in the image of God.
One female author presented her case for sexual permissiveness when she compared eating to sex: “Sex is no more a moral issue than eating a good meal,” she writes. “The fact that we eat most meals at home with spouses and partners does not preclude eating out in restaurants to sample different cuisines and ambiances, with friends or colleagues.” So we are back to the days when every man (and woman) did that which was right in their own eyes.
To compare eating with sex is to make something sacred very frivolous. Of course, one can get bad food and bad sex -– that being sex not within the bounds of marriage. Or sex that is prompted by lust, not love. Fallen men and women have made sex, one of God’s greatest gifts, a sordid affair.
Adultery is generally considered to be when a husband cheats on his wife, or when the wife cheats on her husband. In countries where adultery is illegal, the punishments range from fines to the death penalty. Punishment for adultery in some American states varies from a ten dollar fine in Maryland to life in prison in Michigan! Adultery is still illegal in 23 American states. Each state should make adultery illegal again and it should be enforced; however, it would not be practical to energetically go after the law breakers. Resources would not permit that; but such a law could be helpful, especially in divorce cases.
Among the American Indians, severe penalties could be imposed on an adulterous wife by her husband. Sometimes she experienced bodily mutilation which would, in the mind of the offended husband, prevent her from ever being a temptation to other men again.
In medieval England, an adulterous woman had her nose and ears cut off and was paraded through town to a jeering crowd. The guilty man watched the proceedings and went home to enjoy a bowl of soup, hard bread, and a spot of ale. Obviously, the men made and enforced the laws.
The Greeks and Romans had strong laws against adultery; however, it was usually not equitable. In Rome, a man was not held to account for adultery but his wife was. The Romans (before Christ) banished adulterers with the two parties sent to different islands. Moreover, part of their property was confiscated by the state. Husbands could kill the offending partners under certain circumstances and were required to divorce adulterous wives.
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found widespread support for stoning as a punishment for adultery among Muslims in Egypt (82% of participants were in favor of the punishment), Jordan (70% were in favor), Indonesia (42% were in favor), Pakistan (82% were in favor) and Nigeria (56% were in favor). I doubt they would be so quick to pick up stones if they followed Christ’s admonition in John 8:7, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” He had just forgiven a woman “taken in adultery.” He commanded her to “go and sin no more.”
Laws prohibiting adultery go back to the Ten Commandments given by God to the Hebrew nation as recorded in Exodus 20:14. God ordered, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Of course, adultery was wrong from the beginning of creation.) The Hebrews took that as a divine command that they broke at their own peril. Today, the Ten Commandments are looked upon as naïve and benign suggestions; however, they are still operative whether people believe the Bible or not.
Whether adultery is a crime or not, it is still a sin and no legislature can repeal that fact.