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Christians and Ron Paul: A counterpoint

In a recent column, D.C. Innes argued against Ron Paul’s candidacy. The main reason: The candidate’s “opposition to moral legislation,” which is swiftly interpreted as a “failure to appreciate the government’s divine mandate to punish evil and praise good.”

As tempting as it is to agree uncritically with the idea of “punishing evil,” opposing Paul on these grounds reveals a grave flaw within an influential faction of the conservative evangelical community—a willingness to put secular powers in charge of spiritual wars.

It is one thing to delegate to government the duty to punish crimes against persons and their rightfully acquired property; murder, rape, and theft are some obvious examples. It is quite another matter to advocate the use of the repressive state machinery to punish all kinds of sinful behavior, either the ones that are clearly defined in the Bible (all sexual relationships outside of marriage) or those inferred by the preachers in a particular denomination (such as the drinking of alcoholic beverages). America tried going down that road with Prohibition, and have we forgotten how it ended in multiplying sin and crime?

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