Canada Says Bestiality is Ok! Is that Ok?
Canada has ruled that sexual acts with animals are legal providing there is no penetration involved. This ruling was handed down by the Canadian Supreme Court after a convicted sexual predator, found guilty of assaulting his stepdaughters, appealed the charge and conviction of bestiality.
I really have no intention of going into the lurid details of this court case. But I do want to discuss the moral, cultural, and biblical implications of this case and how Christians should think about such issues.
From a cultural perspective, a single statement by the director of Animal Justice was very interesting and should be carefully considered. After the Supreme Court ruling, Camille Labchuk made the following comment:
“As of today, Canadian law gives animal abusers license to use animals for their own sexual gratification. This is completely unacceptable, contrary to societal expectations, and cannot be allowed to continue.”
Notice the phrase “contrary to societal expectations,” in her statement. This implies that a basis for her opposition to this ruling is the expectations of society. There’s nothing transcendent about that, it’s all about what people think. But what if society expected this ruling? What is a majority of people decided that sex with animals is “a personal choice” and that “people should be free to love who (or what) they want”? Would this change Labchuk’s mind?
This reasoning on moral issues is the same reasoning used to legalize same-sex marriage. It’s not based in anything beyond feelings and sentiment. It’s entirely based in perception. The problem is that this is a moral issue and moral issues can’t be decided by feelings and perception.
Moral issues must have a foundation. There must be something outside the issue that determines the morality or immorality of the issue. If the issue is left entirely to feelings and sentiment, a moral issue that is now “frowned upon” can easily be accepted by society one day as sentiment shifts. But moral issues have an impact on our society, on our health and well-being, and on our mental and spiritual condition. Moral issues must be determined by immutable truth.
In this case the transcendent, immutable truth is that sex outside of marriage is moral sin. Since humans cannot marry animals, any sexual activity with an animal is also a moral sin. God declared that sex with animals is strictly forbidden (Ex. 18:23, 22:19; Lev. 20:15-16).
This brings us to a discussion of how Christians should think concerning this moral issue.
Should Christians support the civil government’s opposition to bestiality? Or, like some of my Christian friends I’ve been chatting with recently, is this not an issue for civil government and therefore Christians should not endorse a state mandate on the issue?
I was surprised to find self-professing Christians supporting the decriminalization of bestiality on the basis of their political view that it is not a criminal act and therefore should not be illegal. The thought is that a criminal act is only one that does harm to an individual or their property and, since bestiality does neither, it should not be illegal. To be clear, those advocating this position stated emphatically that bestiality is immoral and perverse. But, they said, though their personal view is such, it does not mean it should be illegal.
It’s interesting to note that we heard this same position espoused by those seeking to legalize same-sex “marriage.” People shared that even though their “personal view” is that homosexuality is sin, it does not mean homosexuals should not have the freedom to marry. And often I’ve heard politicians state their “personal objection” toward abortion and yet they continue to support it.
What can we learn from this?
The question I would ask is: “What reason can there be to oppose the prohibition of something God forbids?”
In this case, a secular, civil government forbids what God forbids. Since we know without a doubt that God forbids bestiality, what motivation could a Christian have for not supporting laws against bestiality? This strikes me as a case of putting politics before theology. Standing firmly on a political view (there should be no laws against anything that is not a crime) these Christians seems to want to advance their political view more than their theology. What reason could be given for opposing bestiality laws other than political reasons?
Where does this line of reasoning end? There is no crime in viewing porn so why do we have laws against viewing porn before age 18? Let’s not worry about those laws. Let’s get rid of those laws since there is no crime (per their definition) involved.
The problem here is that both pornography and bestiality are moral issues. Unlike amoral issues, such as gun rights, moral issues have a Gospel impact. Whether you support gun rights or oppose them, there is no moral imperative and, therefore, it’s not a Gospel issue. Your opposition to gun laws does not impact salvation. But moral issues, like bestiality, do impact salvation. Just as you cannot be an unrepentant homosexual and be a Christian, you cannot be an unrepentant beast-sexual (not sure what the term is) and be a Christian. So, I can’t imagine supporting something that negatively impacts the Gospel.
The issue of the immorality of bestiality is not tough, we can all agree on it. The issue of whether the government should criminalize something is another issue entirely. Is bestiality a victimless crime? Should people be free to behave in a perverse way with their own property? Does the government have a right (or responsibility) to impose a moral restraint on people? These are tough questions that need answers. I don’t have all the answers right now but I am diligently seeking them. You should too.