Rev. Sandy Williams’ recent letter shows that he is out of his depth in matters of social science and civic policy.
He claims that “most people would condemn” the same list of sinners mentioned by Paul of Tarsus in the New Testament. I beg to differ: alcoholics, as we now generally call “drunkard,” need treatment and help, rather than being told the Kingdom of God is closed to them.
But it is really Paul’s adulterers, greedy and swindlers I want to talk about. Rev. Williams was replying to a letter about Maine’s new same-sex marriage law. He wants it repealed. But, since he cites the authority of Paul, does he want new legislation banning adultery, greed and swindling, making them subject to civil penalty? These new civil crimes would swamp the court dockets and produce defendants from some new portions of the demographic spectrum. Maybe we would need ecclesiastical courts.
The majority of Mainers, in my view, really do understand that civil law and church teaching and precepts are different things, as our founding fathers were very wise to see. State and church serve different purposes and answer to different authority. Under current Maine law, Rev. Williams will not need to marry any gay or lesbian couples. But, whether he likes it or not, they are entitled to full justice and equality under Maine civil law.
Stephen C. Farrand