Last edited: January 01, 2005

Letter: Laws Against Gays Based on Bible

Sioux Falls Argus Leader, September 30, 2001
Box 5034, Sioux Falls, SD 57117
Fax: 605-331-2340 or 605-331-2294

America’s founders made it very clear that America’s bylaws, the Constitution, are to be interpreted and expounded only in harmony with the charter upon which it is predicated, the Declaration of Independence.

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are based on laws of nature and of nature’s God.

In Leviticus 18:22, God says: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination (extreme disgust)." In Romans 1:27, God says: "Women did change the natural use into that which is against nature (abomination)."

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) authored a four-volume commentary on the Common Law of England. America’s own Common Law was birthed out of English Common Law. Under English Common Law, homosexual acts were a capital offense, an infamous crime against nature. Blackstone called homosexual acts "an offense of so dark a nature, the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature, a crime not fit to be named."

Until 1962, 50 states outlawed sodomy and provided criminal penalties against it. The issue is not to have some sign regarding the condition of a road ditch. It is free media publication to further the acceptance of an abominable lifestyle into all areas of our society.

Wake up, America. The storm clouds of God’s judgment are gathering.

— John R. Shaw, Mitchell

Unpublished Reply

The Argus Leader declined to publish the following letter because Bob Summersgill is "Not a local writer."

To the Editor:

John R. Shaw [Laws Against Gays Based on Bible, Letters, September 30, 2001], misinterprets the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution as establishing a religious form of government which condemns homosexuality. The Declaration does state:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

In violation of this guarantee of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, John R. Shaw would have us make criminals out of all gay people. We would do better to respect the rights and liberties of all people.

While it is quite true that homosexuality is found to be a sin in the Bible, as Mr. Shaw points out, homosexuality is clearly not a major sin. Among other "abominations" listed in Leviticus are eating cheeseburgers and wearing clothes of mixed fibers. We should probably first worry about sins that made the top-ten list.

Mr. Shaw points out one commentator on English Common Law, Justice Blackstone, had some particularly nasty things to say about sodomy. Though Blackstone often has been cited as an authority justifying the existence of sodomy laws, there is a long history of rejection of Blackstone as an authority. As long ago as 1804, the English Lord Chancellor complained, "I am always sorry to hear Mr. Justice Blackstone’s Commentaries cited as an authority."

Mr. Shaw points out that hundreds of years ago homosexual acts were capital crimes under English Common Law. He failed to mention that currently, the U.S. is the only country in the western world, which criminalizes homosexuality at all. Even then, since 1961, 34 states have repealed their sodomy laws or had them struck down by the courts. South Dakota’s own law was repealed in 1977.

World-wide, only 8 countries still have death penalties for sodomy. Among them are Afghanistan, Iran and Sudan. All of them are repressive regimes with links to terrorism or slavery. They are not models to be emulated.

The Taliban in Afghanistan shows us the dangers of adopting an extremist religious based government. We should instead respect or country’s tradition of a secular government which recognizes and respects the great diversity of people, religious beliefs and ideals; and not try to enforce particular religious beliefs through law.

-Bob Summersgill, Washington, DC

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