Wednesday letters: Constitution dictates rights

April 24, 2013 

For thoughtful Christians, the Halakha or collective body of religious Jewish law embedded in the Old Testament presents a continuing challenge of interpretation and application. We embrace some aspects, e.g. the Ten Commandments, as cornerstones of Western civilization. But others, such as the dietary rules, or the capital-crime status of failure to observe the Sabbath (as opposed to the Lord’s day) or simply being a victim of rape in town (as opposed to in the country) are ignored as too inconvenient or bizarre to be taken seriously.

That is the category into which we should place Leviticus 20:13, which the Rev. William Merrifield has singled out (“Homosexuality still a sin, even if you ask God to justify it,” April 4). It is for many a matter of personal and corporate contention within their faith, with many individuals and congregations coming prayerfully to contradictory conclusions.

But for the issue before the Supreme Court, neither the Halakha nor Sharia law nor any other religious code should have any special standing in determining the civil rights of citizens of the United States under our secular Constitution.

T. Feldon Crain


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