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Columbia Missourian

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Source of laws should not matter

By Julia Williams
January 23, 2013 | 4:37 p.m. CST

I had not heard of "Gundamentalism" until I read David Rosman's Gun legislations should not be a religious issue (Jan. 17). That's an amazing term, but such a pejorative is not especially productive.

Do we as communities pull our laws out of the fresh air? Doesn't everyone on the planet refer to source materials to strengthen an argument, a case in law or a college paper? My question is: Why does any mention of the Bible have the potential to raise blood pressure in an audience? Let's say Mr. Rosman's neighbor down the street said, "Our neighborhood association could benefit from generic standards of behaviors! Let's just list a few:

  1. Don't murder anybody.
  2. Don't covet each other's belongings.
  3. Let's not sleep with each other's spouses.
  4. Let's honor our mothers and fathers, etc."

My guess is that those basic standards would be approved by 99 percent of the neighborhood. Even a hardened criminal would be likely to admit, "Yeah, I can see how those could work. Too bad I can't follow them. ..."

It really doesn't matter what source we use for practical information that allows a society to prosper peacefully. We could source the Quran or Hindi Scripture just as fruitfully as the Bible. Let's try to remove our unreasoning antipathies toward any source material.

I have read the entire Bible four or five times, and yet I never noticed the sword reference in Luke 22:35-38. I was delighted to find that statement because it opened a new vista in understanding for me. Only a crass materialist reads the Bible (only) literally. If you think about it, two swords "were enough" for meeting with a troop of Roman Centurions dressed in mail-armor. Therefore, Jesus was not suggesting that they "go to the mattresses" and all die magnificently in a noble rout. But the two swords were morally and spiritually significant. It meant, for one, that we are supposed to physically defend ourselves when it is appropriate. We are to stand ready with our arms. I think the neighborhood association could be down with that, too.

Julia Williams is a Columbia resident.