Let me say from the outset that I am against a theocracy: what some liberals accuse some Christians who are involved in politics of wanting. Granted, there probably are some Christians who would love a theocracy. The problem is that those Christians have not thought through the ramifications of that.
However, theocracy and legislating morality are two different things, and they should not be confused. I hear the media say at various times, “You can’t legislate morality” or “We shouldn’t legislate morality.” That is as silly as Christians wanting a theocracy. In one sense, they are correct, though. Laws don’t change hearts. Nor are laws the best way to deal with the problem of evil in the world. They can be, however, effective. And we do legislate morality all the time. It is against the law to steal and kill and kidnap and rape. Those laws don’t change hearts, but we hope they are a deterrent to people who may be on the fence about a certain action.
What is ironic, however, is some people’s love for legislation when it fits their particular agenda, even if it is a moral agenda. Here is a case in point. Granted, Mayor Bloomberg might not see this as a moral issue, but nonetheless, he seeks and has sought to legislate people’s behaviors from what they inhale to what they eat and drink. As far as what we eat being a moral issue, I would side on the fact that it is. Obesity, in most cases, is a heart issue (both physically and spiritually). Lack of self-control is an inherently spiritual issue. Thinking that food can satisfy our deepest need is not the fault of the sugary drink industry (though they highly encourage it), and if Bloomberg manages to get this initiative on the books, it will not solve the inherent problem of sin in people’s lives. It might lower the weight of New Yorkers, and if so, we can argue the pros and cons of this initiative, but we must not ever believe that this is solving the real problem.
While many may currently disagree with Bloombergs initiative, if a Christian had proposed this initiative and couched it in terms of self-control, mentioning the need for people to avoid gluttony, the outcry would be swift, vociferous, and damning. A double standard clearly exists. If our reasons for legislating morality are tied to health or humanism, mostly all is well. If they are tied to religion in anyway, even if the goal is the same, they are condemned.
While hypocrisy in the church may be rampant, it is no less rampant in the secular world.