Adultery: An Outdated Crime?

Source: Ethan Bronner, "Adultery: Ancient crime still on many states' books," The New York Times, reported in the Omaha World-Herald, 15 November 2012.

The core of Mr. Bronner's article is that adultery laws are no longer enforced and have been removed from half the state's books. The reason most other states have not removed the laws is that politicians don't want to be seen as promoting adultery, even as they turn a blind eye to it.

The claim is that adultery laws are outdated because they are "rooted partly in a concern about male property." Adultery, it is claimed, was seen as wrong because of "its tendency to adulterate the issue of an innocent husband, and to turn the inheritance away from his own blood, to that of a stranger." Perhaps Mr. Bronner would find it strange that this is not given as a reason in the Bible. Adultery was declared wrong because it violated the covenant with the spouse. "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mark 10:11-12). That children might result from an affair is not mentioned. Indeed, in older laws, prior to DNA testing and paternity suits, any child born to a married couple was automatically assumed to be theirs.

That morality has changed is admitted at the end of the article. "Laws regulating sex all grew from a belief that sex should occur only within marriage, Murray said. "Now we live in an age when sex is not limited to marriage, and laws are slowly responding to that. But we still love marriage. Nobody is going to say adultery is OK." " But that leaves me wondering for how long. "Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen" (Romans 1:24-25). Think about that the next time someone says, "But doesn't God just want me to be happy?"

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