Legalism: An Equal Opportunity Employer

Let me preface this by saying that many of my fellow Christian countrymen have no idea what an “evangelical” is or are aware that they fall under this umbrella, but I must use the term for simplicity’s sake.

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No booze for you!

For some reasons, it has become endemic for Mexican evangelicals to refuse booze with the battle of cry “Soy Cristiano” [“I’m a Christian”], a proclamation that is received with jeers questioning the sexual orientation of the teetotaler. The implication of the “battle cry” is that one of the marks of the Christian is teetotalism. Of course, that’s not the case. CS Lewis correctly, though not politically, remarks that:

Mohammedanism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion.

Now, there are Christians who do abstain from alcohol and we have our reasons for it. However to go around telling others to do the same would be legalism. It is equally egregious to make teetotalism a mark of a Christian. Again I must use Lewis’ words here,

One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up. That is not the Christian way.

The following story brought all this to mind: “Veiled Muslim woman says Texas shopkeeper turned her away”, why?

Because of the words of the rejected woman: “We’re Muslim; this is the way we dress…”

So does it mean that a Muslim woman who doesn’t cover her face is unchaste? Much like the assertion of certain legalistic Christians that anyone who lets alcohol touch their lips is committing a grave sin?

Legalism is an equal opportunity employer.

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