Friday, March 02, 2007

When Social Replaces Moral

We live in a culture that prizes the right to fight for and pursue love. We even spend billions entertaining ourselves by dramatizing the romantic courtship that most individuals hope to experience in reality one day in movies and television dramas and sitcoms. But how should we respond when romance, true, sincere, committed, though clearly misunderstood and deceptive, love blooms within the nuclear family? A young couple in Germany is challenging the right of the government to ban incestuous relationships (go to and look under the video section on the main page for a brief interview).

The siblings were not raised together until they met as teenagers. The male sibling was raised in foster care, and upon finding his birth mother and sister as a teenager, they moved in together as a family. After the death of their mother, the brother and sister continued to live together and fell in "love". For those concerned about the morality of incest, Scripture could not be clearer in its prohibitions against incestuous relationships (Leviticus 18:1cf; 2Sam 13:12; Ezekiel 22:11; Rom 1:26cf). Incest is a sin. Scripture calls it an abomination - even if you love each other.

If you are still reading and not off vomiting in a toilet because you are digusted at the perverse notion that siblings would have sexual intercourse with one another, here is what piqued my interest in this story. Dr. Endrick Wilhelm, who hopes to take this case to the highest court in Germany (and it should be noted that many governments in Europe have already legalized incestuous relationships) argues that since "incest is not socially harmful" no government has the right to punish it because government can only punish and sanction those actions and behaviors that are socially harmful to either the offender or victim. Only socially harmful actions fall under the jurisdiction of the government.

This logic begs the question: Socially harmful to whom? One strong argument against the merits of incestuous relationships (aside from the biblical prohibition) is that children conceived by siblings are only healthy 50% of the time. 20% suffer brain damage and 30% are left with massive physical disabilities, and many die prematurely. As a matter of fact, the couple in question have 4 children and 2 of them have disabilities (although the nature of those disabilities were not disclosed).

It is a sad commentary that government in Europe (and we are on the fast track here in the US) no longer even attempts to legislate morality but has transitioned into a culture that enforces laws of decency and morality only when the behavior of offenders is harmful to others. What about the harmful effects of deviant behavior to oneself?

Interesting topic on an interesting day. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


At 2:29 PM , Anonymous Lisa said...

I think that government would be opening up a can of worms that they could not take back. Are they okay with incestuous relationships between parents and children? If it's okay for a brother and sister to marry, why should they prohibit a father who has unnatural feelings for his daughter or a mother who has unnatural feelings for her son or, God forbid, for the same sex child? I think that is socially harmful to everybody because where would the line be drawn? The problem is there would be no line because they are redefining morality with this attitude of "Well, as long as you play nice and don't hurt anybody it's okay." It's disgusting.

At 5:15 PM , Blogger Ashley said...

good point on the reasoning behind the argument; i think it's important to note that all sin is "disgusting" and we are all prone to perversion of what God made as beautiful.


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