Should The State Enforce Laws Against Adultery?

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DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Wow, Scott,

I must have been even more obtuse than usual. I fully agree that creation transcends cultures and "It is the one universal that binds us all, because we're all Adam's children and image-bearers. We can appeal to those truths explicitly or implicitly -- whichever rhetorical strategy is most useful in the situation."

My observation was that when legal scholars accepted a belief in a Lawgiver and the notion of natural law, there was a basic cultural consensus as to certain universals that bind us all. You could appeal to it implicitly (as you say) without even mentioning the Bible OR you could make your argument more explictly and be understood either way.

Now, however, under the tyranny of "positive law" understandings, legal theory is cut off from the Creator, from basic human universals, and from common sense. In an era when gays and lesbians (to cite just one example) feel free to create idiosyncratic designer morals to fit their "individual preferences," both explicit and implicit appeals to creational commonalities get ruled out of bounds.

I agree with you that we SHOULD continue to invoke our Creator as our forefathers did. In some cases, the sheer weight of truth will win out in the discussion. My point was that when people believed in natural law there was an intellectual framework for understanding such appeals whether one was a Christian or merely a theist. Now, however, when man becomes the measure of all things, I think that the "correct" interpretation of law has been set to the side in favor of a de facto belief in individualistic values.

Ultimately, the Christian position is the only one that is consistent, coherent, and not self-refuting. Not only logic, science, and ethics (and generally every fact of human experience and knowledge) fail to be meaningful apart from a belief in the existence of God. This is just as true for law as for any other area of inquiry.
 

jpechin

Puritan Board Freshman
I believe that adulterers should be put to death by the civil authorities, possibly by stoning. But, then, I am one of those 'evil' Rushdoony theonimists.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Thomas Shepard (New England Puritan) Answers this Question

The New England Puritan Thomas Shepard, in the quotation from his book Theses Sabbaticae cited below, answers the question of whether or not adulterers should be punished by the state? Though you will have to read the whole quotation to find the answer:

The judicial laws, some of them being hedges and fences safeguard both moral and ceremonial precepts, their binding power was therefore mixed and various, for those which did safeguard any moral law, (which is perpetual,) whether by just punishments or otherwise, do still morally bind all nations; far, as Piscator argues, a moral law is good and as precious now in these times as then, and there is as much need of the preservation of these fences to preserve these laws in these times, and at all times, as well as then, there being as much danger of the treading down of those laws by the wild beasts of the world and brutish men (sometimes even in churches) now as then; and hence God would have all nations preserve their fences forever, as he would have that law preserved forever which these safeguard; but, on the other side, these judicials which did safeguard ceremonial laws which we know were not perpetual, but proper to that nation, hence those judicials which compass these about are not perpetual nor universal; the ceremonials being plucked up by their roots, to what purpose then should their fences and hedges stand? As, on the contrary, the morals abiding, why should not their judicials and fences remain? The learned generally doubt not to affirm that Moses’ judicials bind all nations, so far as they contain any moral equity in them, which moral equity does appear not only in respect of the end of the law, when it is ordered for common and universal good, but chiefly in respect of the law which they safeguard and fence, which if it be moral, it is most just and equal that either then some judicial fence (according to some fit proportion) should preserve it still, because it is but just and equal that a moral and universal law should be universally preserved; from whence, by the way, the weakness of their reasonings may be observed, who, that they may take away the power of the civil magistrate in matters of the first table, (which once he has in the Jewish commonwealth,) affirm that such civil power then did arise from the judicial, and not from the moral law; whenas it is manifest that his power in preserving God’s worship pure from idolatrous and profane mixtures, according to the judicial laws, was no more but a fence and safeguard set about moral commandments; which fences and preservatives are therefore (for substance) to continue in as much power and authority now as they did in those days, as long as such laws continue in their morality, which these preserve; the duties of the first table being also as much moral as those of the second, to the preserving of which latter from hurt and spoil in respect of their morality, no wise man questions the extent of his power.”
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
Darrell Roberson thought his wife was at home caring for the couple's three children. He called 19 times during the early morning hours of Dec. 11 before his 7-year-old daughter answered and told him that she had heard a knock at the door and thought her mother was outside.

Roberson ended his card game and drove from Dallas to his Arlington home in the 6100 block of Ivy Glen Drive. There, Roberson saw his wife and 32-year-old Devin LaSalle embracing in LaSalle's Chevrolet Silverado pickup, police said. LaSalle was kissing Tracy Roberson on her breasts and she was clad in a robe and underwear, police said.

As LaSalle tried to drive off, Darrell Roberson fired his handgun four times into LaSalle's vehicle, striking him once in the head, police said.

Officials pronounced LaSalle dead at the scene. He worked at UPS and had recently moved to Mansfield from the New Orleans area.

He had three children who attended school in the Mansfield school district. He also had a fiancee, according to a paid obituary in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

One of LaSalle's children went to school with one of Roberson's children, a Mansfield school district spokesperson said Monday.

Tracy Roberson, 35, initially told her husband that LaSalle was trying to rape her. Police investigated for three days before issuing an arrest warrant for Darrell Roberson, 38, on suspicion of murder.

Roberson, who police say works for a real estate firm, does not have a previous criminal record. He turned himself in to the Collin County Jail on Dec. 16. He was released shortly after posting $100,000 bail, according to jail officials. He went to the Collin County Jail because his bondsman -- an acquaintance -- is not licensed in Arlington.

No one answered the door at the Robersons' home Monday.

LaSalle's family members traveled to the New Orleans area to prepare for his funeral, which is set for today.

Late Monday, 19 people had signed LaSalle's online Times-Picayune guestbook.

"I thank God everyday for bringing him into my life," wrote Nicole Jones of Arlington, who added that she met LaSalle through a youth football team for which his son and her son played. "He was a joy to know. A wonderful man and father to his children. My son loved him as well and we will all miss him."

Hours before the shooting, LaSalle had met up with friends and former classmates from New Orleans' Eleanor McMain Magnet School to watch the Dallas Cowboys-New Orleans Saints game at Texas Stadium.

It was unclear late Monday how long LaSalle and Tracy Roberson had been seeing each other, said an Arlington police spokesman, Lt. Blake Miller. According to the arrest warrant affidavit, near midnight, LaSalle received a text message from Tracy Roberson that read, "Hi friend, come see me please! I need to feel your warm embrace! If ur unable too I completely understand!!! Call me."

LaSalle knew Tracy Roberson was married, according to the affidavit.

At about 1:33 a.m., Darrell Roberson began calling his home to speak to his wife. His daughter remained on the phone as he drove home, the affidavit said.

When Roberson spotted his wife and LaSalle, he pulled directly in front of LaSalle's truck and demanded that he get out of the vehicle, the affidavit said. Tracy Roberson was still in the pickup with LaSalle when he was shot while trying to drive away, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, when Tracy Roberson got out of the truck, she and her husband called 911 and Darrell Roberson said, "I can't believe you're [cheating] on me."

Darrell Roberson did not believe that his wife was being raped, according to the affidavit.

Tracy Roberson told police that she believed her husband shot at the truck "to hurt whomever."

Wife who cried rape when caught with lover is convicted

2 days ago

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman who caused her lover's shooting death by falsely crying rape was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter.

Tracy Denise Roberson, 37, cried a bit when the verdict was announced. The punishment phase was set for Monday, and she faces two to 20 years in prison.

In late 2006, Darrell Roberson came home from a late-night card game to find his scantily clad wife with another man in a pickup truck in the driveway. Tracy Roberson was with her lover but cried rape, and her husband fired four shots into the truck as Devin LaSalle drove off, killing him.

Darrell Roberson initially was arrested, but a murder charge was later dropped and a grand jury indicted Tracy Roberson instead.

During her three-day trial, defense attorneys called no witnesses but blamed LaSalle's death on Darrell Roberson's jealousy and rage.

But prosecutors placed all the blame on Tracy Roberson, showing evidence of the affair with LaSalle, 32, and a text message in which she invited him to her house that evening.
The Associated Press: Wife who cried rape when caught with lover is convicted
 

mshingler

Puritan Board Freshman
At one time I would have unhesitatingly said "no" to the question, holding that the state cannot enforce morality. It was actually a discussion on another theological board over the Federal Marriage Amendment that got me to start rethinking my position in that area. It seems to me that, as long as the government gets to license and recognize marriages, then the government should, in some way, punish those who break the marriage contract.
This may be slightly :offtopic:, but I question, sometimes, whether the state should have anything to do with marriage in the first place. it seems to me that this arrangement, in which the government issues marriage licenses and, possibly, defines what marriage is, has led to the marriage issue we have now, where a bunch of lost people in Washington can't decide whether it would be right to try and define marriage as between a man and a woman. Does anyone here think that marriage should be permitted/prohibited/defined by the church and not the state?
If that's too far off topic I can make it a new thread.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
Darrell Roberson thought his wife was at home caring for the couple's three children. He called 19 times during the early morning hours of Dec. 11 before his 7-year-old daughter answered and told him that she had heard a knock at the door and thought her mother was outside.

Roberson ended his card game and drove from Dallas to his Arlington home in the 6100 block of Ivy Glen Drive. T

At about 1:33 a.m., Darrell Roberson began calling his home to speak to his wife. His daughter remained on the phone as he drove home, the affidavit said.

Unfortunately we do not know anything of their lives and can only speculate as to why she made the decisions she did...And though I do not agree with her decision it makes me wonder...

Why wasn't her husband at home with her and their kids at 1:30 in the morning instead of being out 'playing cards'?

How many other nights did he leave her home alone while he was 'out playing cards' leaving the door open for temptation. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)

Yes, He called 19 times, but why didn't he leave for home when he couldn't reach her to begin with..say after the 5th or 6th call; no, he stayed and continued to play cards...why did he have a gun with him? was it his? did one of his card playing buddies give it to him (just in case?)..

had they fought previously about his all night card games?

Lots of unanswered and unasked questions in this article...to get the full picture, but they may have been answered at the trial..

But back to the topic...

And a question...if one desire's the government to punish by death the sin of adultery, what other sins should they also make punishable by death?

Do we also punish those who are caught up in lust (which Jesus Himself called adultery??) so anyone who buys or watches p0rnography should also be put to death...or even someone who looks at a women with lust? (Matthew 5:27-28) or should we just pluck all their eyes out? Or place a scarlet letter on their chest and/or flog them as well?

Or would that be too harsh?

And as far as not judging, what is typically ignored is the 'for with what judgment ye judge, ye, shall also be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."
And shall we continue with Matthew 7 and reflect on the beam in our own eye?

If someone is found lying should their tongue be cut out? (how big a lie must it be?) as a lie effects others as well...what if it's a parent telling their child the picture they just painted is WONDERFUL when they know it's not?? Or what about the parent who tells his child "you played a good game" when he knows they didn't? Should the parents tongue then be cut out, for lying to their child?

What about stealing should their hand be cut off, does it matter what was stolen? Should they have their hands cut off if they steal their employers time while they use the employers computers to get online and use the internet for their own purposes as opposed to working? And couldn't spending money on p0rnography to feed a man's lust also be considered stealing from the family?


Granted, adultery is no longer punishable by law as some of these other sins are, but the spouse does have the choice to remain married to the person or not...which in itself causes those involved to suffer consequences..but I have seen it, where it brought into focus deep problems within the marriage, and the adultery was just another sin compounded on top of all the rest...that had been ignored and brushed under the rug for a long time..and the adultery was merely showing the hardened heart...but then there are others who commit adultery merely because they think it's okay..
 
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BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
puritan lad;

If a child results from this, the state already does punish the male participant. Why not just take the next step and punish both?

I don't understand your line of thinking here...

How are his consequences any different than hers; is she not also required to support the child? Or how is he punished that is some how different than her?
 

holyfool33

Puritan Board Freshman
moral failings should be matters for the church not the state otherwise you risk falling into Theonomy what's next after that stoneing non Christans when does it end. but that's more an argument about the law not the role of civil goverment in enforceing morality wich I dont think the goverment should have any partenforceinglaws against adultury that's howI see things.:2cents:
 

holyfool33

Puritan Board Freshman
If the 16th- and 17th-century Reformed were correct, the decalogue is a reflection of the natural law (a corollary to the republication doctrine). We don't need to appeal to Mosaic case/civil law to argue for civil enforcement of the second table.

The family is the basic, creational, natural, social unit. Adultery is a crime against nature. It violates the social contract implicit in the marriage vows (whether taken in church or before the magistrate). It weakens and essential relation and destabilizes a community. It is also a form of theft.

A marriage is a civil, not just religious, covenant. Transgression of the marriage covenant is a transgression of a civil covenant. Every transgression of the civil covenant, e.g. the reckless use of an auto or firearm is punishable by the magistrate.

We don't want the magistrate punishing sins of the heart but we dot want him punishing crimes against nature and the civil contract implicit in nature and social relations. That's why he bears the sword.


I see where your coeming frombut the mah\gistraite bares the sword for crimes like murder. Where under a new law and a new Law Giver. What makes your argument difrent then the Thenomists who argue for stoneing people for violateing the sabbath or fornicateing?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
moral failings should be matters for the church not the state otherwise you risk falling into Theonomy what's next after that stoneing non Christans when does it end. but that's more an argument about the law not the role of civil goverment in enforceing morality wich I dont think the goverment should have any partenforceinglaws against adultury that's howI see things.:2cents:

Should the state punish anything? If so what? And where do you go in Scripture to prove what it should punish?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
moral failings should be matters for the church not the state otherwise you risk falling into Theonomy what's next after that stoneing non Christans when does it end. but that's more an argument about the law not the role of civil goverment in enforceing morality wich I dont think the goverment should have any partenforceinglaws against adultury that's howI see things.:2cents:

Also, Theonomy does not believe in "stoning non Christians", it believes that criminals who have committed crimes (not sins in general) worthy of death should be justly executed.
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
moral failings should be matters for the church not the state otherwise you risk falling into Theonomy what's next after that stoneing non Christans when does it end. but that's more an argument about the law not the role of civil goverment in enforceing morality wich I dont think the goverment should have any partenforceinglaws against adultury that's howI see things.:2cents:
sorry man, every penalty that is on the law books of a secular state is to enforce morality. Mankind cannot escape morality and religiosity. Even Atheists are religious and subscribe to laws that govern morality which must be enforced when broken.

The fact that God judged Babylon, Egypt, Rome etc all non covenanted nations should make us tremble, since His laws doesn't change, and the wages of every sin is DEATH.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
moral failings should be matters for the church not the state otherwise you risk falling into Theonomy what's next after that stoneing non Christans when does it end. but that's more an argument about the law not the role of civil goverment in enforceing morality wich I dont think the goverment should have any partenforceinglaws against adultury that's howI see things.:2cents:
sorry man, every penalty that is on the law books of a secular state is to enforce morality. Mankind cannot escape morality and religiosity. Even Atheists are religious and subscribe to laws that govern morality which must be enforced when broken.

The fact that God judged Babylon, Egypt, Rome etc all non covenanted nations should make us tremble, since His laws doesn't change, and the wages of every sin is DEATH.

Exactly. The question is never morality vs. no morality, but whose morality is to be enforced? The morality of the God of Scripture, or the morality of an idol?
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
Yeah. I always laugh when I hear a lib say government can't legislate morality. So then just what are they legislating? Chopped liver?
 

Southern Presbyterian

Puritan Board Doctor
moral failings should be matters for the church not the state otherwise you risk falling into Theonomy what's next after that stoneing non Christans when does it end. but that's more an argument about the law not the role of civil goverment in enforceing morality wich I dont think the goverment should have any partenforceinglaws against adultury that's howI see things.:2cents:
sorry man, every penalty that is on the law books of a secular state is to enforce morality. Mankind cannot escape morality and religiosity. Even Atheists are religious and subscribe to laws that govern morality which must be enforced when broken.

The fact that God judged Babylon, Egypt, Rome etc all non covenanted nations should make us tremble, since His laws doesn't change, and the wages of every sin is DEATH.


Well said. :up:
 

staythecourse

Puritan Board Junior
Let the State do whatever it wants. Any laws the state puts in place we believers ought to be doing anyway unless it's sinful to obey. If adultery is punished with capital punishment, we excommunicate. If that's my stance, does it have a name?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Let the State do whatever it wants. Any laws the state puts in place we believers ought to be doing anyway unless it's sinful to obey. If adultery is punished with capital punishment, we excommunicate. If that's my stance, does it have a name?

Why should the state do what it wants? After all, is it not the "servant of God" and thus required to obey His word? While we should obey the state's commands except when they require us to sin, this is not a blank check for the civil government.
 
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