Over at Heidelblog, Scott Clark takes some exception to the proposal at Old Life for a Bureau of Weaker Siblings.
Among the points he makes, these are the most interesting:
Hart mentions a natural law approach to resisting fornication (that the act of fornication is contrary to the creational intent of sex for procreation). This view seems to concede the Romanist view of sex. We should rather say that fornication is contrary to creational intent because, by definition, it entails sex outside of marriage. Iâ€™m not ready to concede the case that birth control is sinful. He also suggests that the hotel owner might not have â€œaccessâ€ to natural law. This is an odd concession. Who doesnâ€™t have access to natural law? To whom has natural law not been revealed? Isnâ€™t one of the points of NL that it is universal? (Rom 1-2)?
There is a natural (creational) law argument could be made against renting rooms to fornicators. First, remember that when I say â€œnatural lawâ€ I mean a divinely revealed moral law that is embedded into the fabric of creation. It is known because it is revealed by God in nature and in the human conscience. Contrary to the sheer assumption by some critics of natural law, it is not a form of ethical â€œneutrality.â€ Further, the natural or creational law is universally known by all humans, in all places, at all times. If youâ€™re not familiar with the idea of natural or creational law, please take a moment to read this basic essay. Contrary to the published representations given by some writers hostile to the very idea of natural (creational) law, it is not some novelty invented by neutrality-believing, antinomians who donâ€™t believe in, teach, or confess the sovereignty of God over every area of life. The question is not whether God is sovereign. Rather, the question is how has God chosen to administer his sovereign authority over the various spheres of human existence and endeavor.
The only reason why the fictional owner might not have access to Natural Law is because he doesn’t know it exists, or refused to see God’s will revealed anywhere other than the Bible.Â As for the NL of sex and procreation, I’m not sure our forefathers in the Reformed faith new much about the joys of sex (it isÂ likely their wives did not — not to imply that ours do).
The other point Clark makes of note is this:
A related but politically incorrect matter is the question of whether one has a natural right to restrict his business from those who wish to use the property/facilities to commit crimes against nature and society. The problem is not so much with the hotel owner who refuses service as it is public policies that no longer recognize the nature of private property. As much as one favors the civil rights act of 1964, one of the unintended consequences was the loss of civil liberty for those who conduct business. Racism is stupid, bad business, and immoral but should have been made a criminal offense? Or, should public policy, in pursuing the goal of eliminating racism, tie the hands of a business owner who provides some public accommodation? Cannot a business owner assert a prior right to refuse to provide service to anyone? Simply because one conducts a commercial enterprise, it is not obvious that anyone and everyone has a right to enter and to do whatever he will?
These are questions that likely have less to do with NL and more with practical politics, especially those involving the relative powers of state and federal governments.
Even so, the point of the original piece on the need for Bureaus of Weaker Siblings was neither philosophical (NL) or political (states rights).Â It was about the consciences of individual Christians and whether they can provide services, whether in a business capacity or even as a neighbor, to sinners.Â It was also to suggest that those who think they are tainted by associating with sinners may need to examine the color of their own pot.