VerMeer's Geographer

VerMeer's Geographer
The Geographer, by Vermeer, c. 1669


What The Founding Fathers Believed About Homosexuality : Freedom Outpost

From:  What The Founding Fathers Believed About Homosexuality : Freedom Outpost

By Tim Brown

I have made no bones about the fact that the ultimate authority on the issue of homosexuality is the Bible and it is crystal clear in condemning it. If others want to cite polls and commentaries and “experts” to attempt to bolster their claim in favor of homosexuality they are welcome to do so. However, what I find a bit disingenuous are those that will talk about rights within the context of the Constitution, which was written by men, not God as though the men who wrote it and backed it would have sided with practicing homosexuals today on the issue of marriage. I can tell you that the issue of marriage would have never been addressed as it is today, simply because the view of homosexuality was addressed first, thus making the point of same-sex “marriage” a ridiculous notion.
First, note that our founding fathers would have been outraged that homosexuals would be out in the open. They knew that such perversion would both undermine and erode the moral foundations of civilization. Under the British common law, the term sodomy was used to identify same-sex relations and was a capital crime. Understand that the founders referenced Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England extensively. He was a British attorney, jurist, law professor, author, and political philosopher.
Blackstone’s commentaries were the premiere legal source used by the Founding Fathers in America. So this should carry some weight with those who claim they know what the Founding Fathers knew and wanted concerning the issue of homosexuality, but I’m guessing they will dismiss it. In Blackstone’s Book the Fourth.: of Public Wrongs in his book titled Of Offences against the Persons of Individuals, Chapter Fifteen, he writes the following on pages 215-216 (emphasis added):
IV. WHAT has been here observed…, which ought to be the more clear in proportion as the crime is the more detestable, may be applied to another offence, of a still deeper malignitythe infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast…. But it is an offence of so dark a nature…that the accusation should be clearly made out….
I WILL not act so disagreeable part, to my readers as well as myself, as to dwell any longer upon a subject, the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature. It will be more eligible to imitate in this respect the delicacy of our English law, which treats it, in it’s very indictments, as a crime not fit to be named; peccatum illud horribile, inter chriftianos non nominandum ["that horrible sin not to be named among Christians"—DM]. A taciturnity observed likewise by the edict of Constantius and Constans: ubi fcelus eft id, quod non proficit fcire, jubemus infurgere leges, armari jura gladio ultore, ut exquifitis poenis fubdantur infames, qui funt, vel qui futuri funt, rei ["When that crime is found, which is not profitable to know, we order the law to bring forth, to provide justice by force of arms with an avenging sword, that the infamous men be subjected to the due punishment, those who are found, or those who future will be found, in the deed"—DM]. Which leads me to add a word concerning its punishment.
THIS the voice of nature and of reason, and the express law of God, determine to be capital. Of which we have a signal instance, long before the Jewish dispensation, by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven: so that this is an universal, not merely a provincial, precept. And our ancient law in some degree imitated this punishment, by commanding such miscreants to be burnt to death; though Fleta
says they should be buried alive: either of which punishments was indifferently used for this crime among the ancient Goths. But now the general punishment of all felonies is the fame, namely, by hanging: and this offence (being in the times of popery only subject to ecclesiastical censures) was made single felony by the statute 25 Hen. VIII. c. 6. and felony without benefit of clergy by statute 5 Eliz. c. 17. And the rule of law herein is, that, if both are arrived at years of discretion, agentes et confentientes pari poena plectantur
Most Americans are completely unaware that the “Father of our country,” George Washington, who would also be considered this country’s first “Commander-in-Chief” approved the dismissal from the service at Valley Forge in 1778 of Lt. Frederick Gotthold Enslin. Why did he do this? According to the orders, which are held at the Library of Congress, Enslin was “attempting to commit sodomy” with another soldier. Under the title of “Head Quarters, V. Forge, Saturday, March 14, 1778” there is the following entry:
At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778) Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false Accounts, found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return; The Drummers and Fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose.
What’s even more interesting is that Enslin’s dismissal came less than two weeks after another soldier, Ensign Anthony Maxwell, was acquitted of the charge of “propagating a scandalous report prejudicial to the character of Lieutt. Enslin” on Feb. 27, 1778. Penny Star cites the transcription of the court martial dated March 3, 1778: “At a Brigade Court Martial whereof Colo. Burr was President (Feby. 27th. 1778,) Ensign Maxwell of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for propagating a scandalous report prejudicial to the character of Lieutt. Enslin. The Court after maturely deliberating upon the Evidence produced could not find that Ensign Maxwell had published any report prejudicial to the Character of Lieutt. Enslin further than the strict line of his duty required and do therefore acquit him of the Charge.”
Note that our first President viewed “sodomy” or homosexual relations with “Abhorrence and Detestation.” He was not a spineless, wishy washy, panty waisted man like the current occupant of the White House, who claims his views have “evolved.” He was a man that recognized perverse behavior for what it was, perversion. He was not alone either. In all thirteen colonies homosexuality was treated as a criminal offense and eventually that grew to encompass each and every one of the fifty states. By the way, that fell under “equal treatment under the law.”
The law was based upon Leviticus 20:13:
“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death.”
This verse was “adopted into legislation and enforced by the colonies of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.” Oh the irony that 2012′s GOP Mormon nominee for President Mitt Romney was the one to “legalize” homosexual “marriage” in Massachusetts. Here are just afew of the states and the punishments they executed for sodomy.
That the detestable and abominable vice of buggery [sodomy] . . . shall be from henceforth adjudged felony . . . and that every person being thereof convicted by verdict, confession, or outlawry [unlawful flight to avoid prosecution], shall be hanged by the neck until he or she shall be dead. NEW YORK
That if any man shall lie with mankind as he lieth with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they both shall be put to death. CONNECTICUT
Sodomy . . . shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labour in the penitentiary during the natural life or lives of the person or persons convicted of th[is] detestable crime. GEORGIA
That if any man shall commit the crime against nature with a man or male child . . . every such offender, being duly convicted thereof in the Supreme Judicial Court, shall be punished by solitary imprisonment for such term not exceeding one year and by confinement afterwards to hard labor for such term not exceeding ten years. MAINE
That if any person or persons shall commit sodomy . . . he or they so offending or committing any of the said crimes within this province, their counsellors, aiders, comforters, and abettors, being convicted thereof as above said, shall suffer as felons. 13 [And] shall forfeit to the Commonwealth all and singular the lands and tenements, goods and chattels, whereof he or she was seized or possessed at the time . . . at the discretion of the court passing the sentence, not exceeding ten years, in the public gaol or house of correction of the county or city in which the offence shall have been committed and be kept at such labor. PENNSYLVANIA
[T]he detestable and abominable vice of buggery [sodomy] . . . be from henceforth adjudged felony . . . and that the offenders being hereof convicted by verdict, confession, or outlawry [unlawful flight to avoid prosecution], shall suffer such pains of death and losses and penalties of their goods. SOUTH CAROLINA
That if any man lieth with mankind as he lieth with a woman, they both shall suffer death. VERMONT
Ah, but some will say, “Thomas Jefferson would have never stood for this. He wanted liberty and equal rights for homosexuals to get married.” Not according to the record he didn’t. In Notes on the State of Virginia by Matthew Carey (1794) Jefferson indicated that in his home state of Virginia, “dismemberment” of the offensive organ was the penalty for sodomy. I’m guessing there weren’t too many sodomites wanting that to take place. You might say that is Jefferson’s home state, but not Jefferson’s thoughts on the issue. Not so fast. Jefferson actually authored a bill penalizing sodomy by castration (The Writings of Thomas Jefferson,Andrew A. Lipscomb, editor (Washington, D. C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. I, pp. 226-227, from Jefferson’s “For Proportioning Crimes and Punishments)). The below capture of Jefferson’s legislation is courtesy of The Library of Congress and
jefferson on sodomy
I’ll conclude by stating that the founders understood the role that morality plays in a culture. Washington in his famous “Farewell Address,” which used to be memorized by high school students in America said:
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity [happiness]. Let it simply be asked, “Where is the security for property, for reputation for life, if the sense of religious obligations desert … ?”
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ‘Tis substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it [free government] can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
Now understand this. I don’t believe that all the founders were Christian. Obviously there were Unitarians, at least one Jew, Christians, atheists and deists, and many that belonged to the Masonic Lodge. While morality apart from Jesus Christ results in moralism, there is no doubt that the morals that were taught in the Bible were taken to heart in regards to sodomy. In other words, if we take Washington’s words seriously, then he not only has referenced those of the homosexual community as “abhorrent and detestable,” but he has also said they cannot rightly call themselves patriots. Today, these criminals are out in the open spewing their filth and embraced by the criminals in Washington, instead of facing just punishment.

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Jesus Washing His Disciples Feet

By R.W. Davis

This morning I read John 13:1-17 about Jesus' washing the 12 Disciples feet.  I think this is one of those "context matters (even) more than the subtleties of language" passages in the NT.  Like much of John's Gospel, the language is simple, but the meaning--to a 21st Century Westerner--is obscure.

First off, what's with this washing of just the feet?  Huh?  Well, it's important to know, in 1st Century Israel--like most successful civilizations throughout history--personal hygiene was a public concern.    There's no need for a hermit to bathe regularly--except for his own health and enjoyment (which often, with hermits is purposely neglected)--but, when people live together--as we do, 99% of the time, reducing body odor, and the prevention of disease are socially important. 

The ancient Jews--from the center of civilization's fertile crescent (bounded by the civilizations connected to the Euphrates river in the East--and, the fruit of the Nile, Egypt, in the South-West)--were no exception: They knew personal hygiene by bathing in water....was important.  So important that orthodox Judaism from biblical times to today--has religious/moral purity attached to bodily cleanliness.  As the saying goes, "Cleanliness is next to godliness" and God's chosen people of the Old Testament applied this very literally.

Due to a hot, dusty climate in Palestine--and wearing of sandles, foot washing was needed, whenever one came indoors--and as a nasty, dirty job, it was reserved for their lowest of the low servants. (And as in the developing world today--servants were used in all aspects of life--as there was no welfare system--and servitude was how poor people survived.)

Greco-Roman culture too valued bathing, more than any previous civilization, with the Romans of Jesus day bringing bathing to a new level of sophistication.  Major cities today in Europe--like Bath England, or any of the Bad-Such-and-such's of Germany, were named--for their fabulous, elaborate, multi-stage public baths.  The Romans even invented soap, in the 1st Century actually.  To this day a "Turkish bath" is actually one that the Turks had copied (or preserved) from when Turkey was major part of the Roman empire.

Of course Jewish people in the 1st Century were distinct from Romans--and their civilization, and bathing patterns, were much older than Rome's.  Since there was no soap, olive oil--rubbed into the skin before and after immersion in water-- was used in ways not dissimilar to our use of soap.  Key though to Jewish bathing--is that much of it was for religious ritual (and religion & daily life were totally inter-twined)--and the Baptism of John, was not an original religious rite to John, by any means--rather it was deeply rooted in ancient Jewish tradition--starting at least with Moses.  Ritual hand washing, foot washing, and oil anointment were a part of Torah-obedient religion, that is what Moses had commanded in writing 1500 years before Jesus--and essential to hospitality.  This is why Jesus reprimanded the Pharisee for not having His feet washed or His head anointed at a dinner they invited Him to (Luke 7)--such acts of hospitality--by a host's servants...were a minimum token of hospitality to guests.  To forget them--was a serious insult on its face.  It would be like you or I holding a party and not greeting our guests and offering a place for their coats--except even worse, as hospitality is of utmost importance to Middle Eastern cultures.

My point in all of the CULTURAL/RITUAL/RELIGIOUS aspect of Jesus' washing His disciples feet should not be lost.  Every sermon I've heard about this text, points out how important humble service to others is essential in the Christian life.  Of course that is true...but is that the center and sum of this particular passage?  I don't think so.   

In the textual context Jesus had only just reprimanded Judas for his disapproval of Mary's worship of Jesus--washing His feet (with her hair no less!)-- with fantastically expensive cologne (John 12:1-11).   The Gospel of John is a very carefully crafted book--so the placement of Mary's washing of Jesus feet--just a short passage away from Jesus' washing the disciples' feet is not coincidence.  Comparing John to the synoptic Gospels--John is not always chronological (histories of people in the 1st Century were not expected to be chronological--as a modern biography is expected to be) but he is very careful.  This is NOT to say, that John isn't writing historically true events, rather that his is a collection of true stories--arranged in a particular way, for particular emphases.  Mary's tearful foot washing was clearly an act of repentance, humility, devotion, and worship--which Jesus said pointed to His "burial" --that is our salvation, through Jesus bearing our sins to the grave.

Other than an essential act of hospitality, performed by the lowest servant...what specifically did foot-washing mean to religious Jews in the 1st Century?  What did it mean to the 12 disciples in the Upper Room there with Jesus that night?  We have a hint in Peter's reaction to Jesus' exquisite humility--by his telling Jesus “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (v. 9) If Jesus were JUST playing the part of a servant--and the main point of His example was humble service to others--as preachers typically tell us--this exchange makes no sense.

Culturally/ritually speaking, Peter is saying "Lord you're too great to do such a dirty, lowly, nasty job, and besides, I need ritual cleansing totally--like a re-baptism--not just my feet being washed!"

Jesus reply redirects and makes clear what is going one--behind the Jewish ritual: "'Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.'”

St. John's own comment to Jesus words reinforces that meaning: "For He knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean."  Before following Jesus all of the disciples had been ritually washed in baptism by John-the-Baptist--and they'd been spiritually "washed" (Heb 10:22) by living, learning and walking with the Word incarnate for 3 years.

So the "clean" that 11 of the 12 had, which Jesus mentioned, was spiritual... by faith, in sincerely following Jesus, signified and sealed in their baptism at first--and confirmed in their following, obedience and sacrifice for Him over 3 years time.  It was NOT merely of a physical nature--as would be expected if Jesus' example of a servant...was merely of a physical nature.  Judas' was a false, lying faith, as John had told us a chapter ago--Judas was a liar and thief all along (in spite of this Jesus does clean Judas' feet--Judas only leaving to sell out Jesus later). (It is fashionable to portray Judas as a frustrated revolutionary...sincere at first--but upon realizing Jesus wasn't going to foment political revolution--becoming disillusioned.  John paints a different picture by his asides--of a man of false faith--looking out just for himself, a liar and pilferer all along.) Therefore somehow Jesus cleansing of their feet then--was ultimately of spiritual benefit...even while simultaneously being of physical benefit.

Now ALL of Jesus disciples--fulfilling prophecy, and showing the weakness of their Holy Spirit-less (at this time...before Pentecost) nature--were, within hours, to ALL fall away--cowardly--by either betraying Jesus in word (as in Peter's case) or just remaining silent during Jesus trial (in John's case...for after all he knew the High Priest, and could of spoken up...), or just running away to avoid arrest...ALL were scattered  for their (later) ultimate humility's sake--and knowledge of their utter dependence on the grace of God.

So what was Jesus doing--besides showing an example of ultimate humility and giving them physically clean feet?  

I think Jesus first off-- was showing the love of forgiveness ahead of time...of their running away (on those same feet) in their weak and cowardly betrayal of Him, just a few hours later.  And since our Lord also instructed them to follow His example with "one another," He was teaching them--by example, that we too must each be humble servants of each other (that is specifically to the body-of-believers...our brothers and sisters in Christ) --by forgiveness proven through humble love and service--of our brothers of their sinful and weak nature--even before they betray us (in usually relatively minor ways...).    

This is a call for US to perform as it were...ritual cleansing of each other, in humble acts of service.... not only in tolerantly loving one another, despite our faults... but in helping each other to see and repent of those same faults....the little daily sin patterns we practice (and the future practice); helping eachother to our demonstrated love for one another.   Jesus' service WAS cleansing after all, in a sacramental way--that is BOTH physically AND spiritually--so too we should, in little, totally humble, even unseen, to spiritually cleanse our brothers, in their public (visible) life anyway--as feet are (and were) public.  Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) so one man sharpens another.  This works both intellectually--and in regard to maturing in Christ, that is in godly spirituality. 

 How did God love us?  By humbly coming as a servant--to live so humbly in love, in the most dignified, kind-to-us way.... teaching us by example, even while a servant...and ultimately dying for our sins--and rising for our justification (Romans 4:25).