Story of the Day for Thursday July 5, 2012
A Spinoff on the Definition of Love
. . . and whatever other commandment God may give is summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In Joliet, Illinois, it’s illegal to mispronounce the name of the city. You can be fined five dollars for saying “jolly-ETTE.”
Some people grumble that lawmakers and bureaucrats pass regulations with the sole purpose of being obnoxious and aggravating the general public. I disagree. More often than not, people draft regulations because they want to improve conditions, ensure our safety, and assist the handicapped.
Rules, however, even when well-intentioned, don’t always achieve their purpose.
The Amish, as part of their religious practice, reject much of modern society. They don’t use electricity or drive cars.
In 2003, the state of New York mandated new building codes requiring all new houses to have electricity and indoor plumbing. Further, all new buildings must meet new codes and be certified by an architect or engineer. The old code for window size was four foot square. The new code mandated bedroom windows be 7.7 foot square.
Bedroom window size isn’t a big deal — unless your Amish. The Old Order Amish of Chautauqua, New York, believe that keeping the ways of the 19th century is vital to their religion — including the design of their houses. The bedroom windows of their houses falls an inch-and-a-half shy of the new code. The state argued it was necessary in order to escape if the house caught on fire.
The Amish think the new code is senseless; they can climb through their old windows just fine. And the local fire department claims they would have no trouble climbing into their windows. But the Amish don’t believe in telephones. Their houses almost always burn down before the fire department can be notified.
The local town board sympathized with the Amish and approved their new homes. But the New York Department of State charged the community of Chautauqua with being in violation of state law.
I don’t know how the issue was resolved. I do know that when bureaucrats have power to make regulations, they often make people’s lives worse rather than better.
I’d hate to live in Joliet and have a lisp.
Have you ever thought of God as a bureaucrat — making laws designed to burden you and make you unhappy? Well, he’s not like that at all. Every command that God gives is a spinoff on the definition of love. God only forbids behavior that doesn’t promote love.
If you want to help others, God won’t force you to rehang your windows first. When you want to love your neighbor, you don’t even have to ask for permission.