Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bureau of Weaker Siblings

The year is 2037. Progressives have had tremendous success in the public square. Owing to their strict logic and eminent consistency, they have succeeded in winning the hearts of many laymen, as well as the hearts of the nine old and young, male and female, not to mention hermaphroditic supreme court justices, over to their side. Peter Singer's arguments were considered persuasive too. Society has thrown off the old chains of "Christendom" in viewing man as special and above the animals. The 47th amendment made "Speciesism" a crime (don't ask what the other 19 were). The logic of "love" and "understanding" continued to march on. People can't help who they love, and love is beautiful, so men and boys regularly make the trip to Vegas. Parents? That you ask shows you're still trying to shackle culture with Christian ideals. (If not, then at least theistic-religious ideals--and we'll have none of that in our naked public square. In line with Brooke Allen, the ideal is to expel all 'religious' thought from the public square. It's a private thing now and we are strict separationists. So the story goes...) The role of the 'parent' in this society is much worse than how Dalrymple described the parents of England's "under class" back in the late 90's. However, there's still a church, and that's a good thing. There are Christians living in this society, just as there were Jews in Babylon. These Christians still debate. One group, representing the Marijuana Theological Journal, continued to protect themselves from the attacks of no one and justified this by saying that no actual attacks were good attacks. I happened upon a letter from this group, where the 2k theory was defended, and I post it for you:


Bureau of Weaker Siblings

April 10th, 2037 by Sherryl G. Kidnee

Imagine the following scenario (not apparently one conceived by John Lennon): a hotel owner refuses to let out a room to couples whom he knows may engage in fornication, adultery, sodomy, zoophilia, or pedophilia. The owner decides upon this policy out of his own Christian convictions. But the owner conducts his business in a civil polity that grants civil rights to fornicators, adulterers, sodomites, zoophiles, and pedophiles. What is the owner to do?

This is a conundrum which supposedly trips up two-kingdom thinking because the idea of a distinction between civil or common and religious realms denies the possibility of the existence of anything like a Christian hotel. If no such religious hotels exist, then apparently the owner should, according to 2k logic, change his policy and make rooms available to those who violate God’s laws. But if he insists on his policy, informed by his conscience, then he should sell his hotel because he lives in a land that will prohibits “Christian” hotels. One other option is to suffer the penalty for his violation of civil rights and either pay a fine or go to jail.

This test case for two-kingdom thinking actually fails to recognize that the alternatives here are actually more than two, and that the either-or approach that afflicts so much anti-thetical analysis does not do justice to the variety of God’s creation and providence. First, the hotel owner could actually appeal to natural law as a common standard for local laws. He could argue that sexual encounters outside marriage are inappropriate because they ignore the telos of sex, namely, procreation and reproduction. If we had time, we could extrapolate this argument to argue that Christians ought not sell condoms--hindering procreation, 'n all. Outlaw felacio too. Second, if natural law is unavailable to this Christian hotel owner, he could appeal to the mercy of his local magistrate and petition for an exception to the laws of the county, city, or state. If he asked for such an allowance, he might actually find a kinder hearing than if he simply asserted to the town council, while wagging his finger, that the state’s laws were an affront to God’s moral will. However, it may take a while to get this kind hearing since it is said that the line to see magistrates stretches for miles. What, with all those goldfish complaining, via fish whisperers, dog whisperers, etc., that it is their Nemo given right to have big tanks just like the angelfish (on the docket tomorrow: Should we reclassify angelfish as something less religious? You know what Jefferson said in that letter...), the dogs and cats complaining, too; indeed, there's even rumor that a dolphin is 3 "persons" back from the front. So, you will wait patiently. Besides, what good will it do to simply assert, while wagging a finger, that God says man is special?

Third, to ensure that his hotel was thoroughly Christian, he could also deny rooms to liars, blasphemers, idolaters, thieves, and murderers, as well as anyone who has considered such acts and words in his or her heart. Of course, the owner might have to go out of business because no patron, not even a saint, could meet the owners’ righteous standards. However, some conservatives are at least right about some things; such as, solutionmannia often forgets that there's tradeoffs. Letting known thieves into your establishment, in the name of 2k consistency, might have unfortunate economic consequences, thus one may find himself not letting some sinners into his or her establishment while also not being a "hypocrite" in need of log removal. Fourth, so we don't violate "rights," we could make sure we clean the room used for the porno conference quickly to make room for the church service at 9:00--or, are Christians the only ones not allowed to rent hotel rooms? Fifth, the owner could show his zeal for God’s law by also refusing to cohabit with his spouse and children for violating any one of God’s laws in heart, word, or deed.

The last option might be the most ingenious of all. If the Christian hotel owner is a member of a Presbyterian Church, he might prevail upon his session to petition the local magistrate in a case “extraordinary,” as tolerated by the Confession of Faith, ch. 31. What the session could do would be to work with the local government to establish a Bureau of Weaker Siblings in which the church would provide members of a public committee whose charge would be to evaluate the religious scruples of this hotel owner, and similar cases, to determine if he qualifies as one of St. Paul’s weaker brothers. Owners who cannot provide services to sinners, or to those who perform certain, more heinous kinds of sin, clearly lack the strong conscience that allows other Christians to regard such services to sinners as a legitimate part of their calling before God and love of neighbor—such as providing a quite place for zoophiles and pedophiles. In fact, you can show your exemplary neighbor-loving capabilities by providing excellent room service: like bringing up room service for two, a plate of eggs and a trough of hay. If a person, like the hotel owner in this example, were approved by the bureau as a weaker sibling, then he could gain permission from the state to be exempted from the scope and sanctions of laws that violated his conscience. Certificates of Weakness would be valid ideally for sixty days, and renewable, after meeting monthly with the Bureau, up to ten times. You can even get a special license that allows you to draw the line at abortions in your hotel, if you're weak enough. If you're a strongman, just make sure you send some neighbor-loving pillows up to the room--I hear killing children is hell on the back.


Many a sound and beneficial principle becomes a dangerous absurdity when it becomes a fetish. -- Thomas Sowell

It can only be hoped that those who want to "take culture back for Luther", transforming it into a legitimate culture ala 2k's theological principles--no small hint of irony here--will chill out on the culture warring--even if many of them write well in a cool, edgy, hip and relevant kind of way--will not forget that a little salt does some good, even if you like paprika better. In addition, hitting the breaks on the "let's show people how rebellious we can be" car actually will do "good" for the city were have been sent to live in, and you can still wear a leather jacket and aviator glasses if you want to.


  1. So according to Dr. Hart, the Christian may knowingly aid & abet the commission of gross sin, even for a fee, provided the civil polity regards such sin as legal?

  2. My guess is that he would respond:

    "Well, if you were the hotel owner, and you knew someone was going to rent a room for the express purpose of telling lies, would you not rent to him? Or, what if you knew the person was going to order room service for 8, engaging in the sin of gluttony. Would you not rent to him?"