by John Thomas Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5:27-30 (Adultery)
Jesus states, "Whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery."
Matthew 5:27–30 — The New International Version (NIV) 27 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Sex and the law
Adultery (from Latin adulterium) is extramarital sex considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Although the sexual activities that constitute adultery vary, as well as the social, religious, and legal consequences, the concept exists in many cultures and is similar in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Adultery is viewed by many jurisdictions as offensive to public morals, undermining the marriage relationship.
Historically, many cultures considered adultery a very serious crime, some subject to severe punishment, usually for the woman and sometimes for the man, with penalties including capital punishment, mutilation, or torture. Such punishments have gradually fallen into disfavor, especially in Western countries from the 19th century. In countries where adultery is still a criminal offense, punishments range from fines to caning and capital punishment. Since the 20th century, criminal laws against adultery have become controversial, with most Western countries decriminalizing adultery.
However, even in jurisdictions that have decriminalized adultery, it may still have legal consequences, particularly in jurisdictions with fault-based divorce laws, where adultery almost always constitutes a ground for divorce and may be a factor in property settlement the custody of children, the denial of alimony, etc. Adultery is not a ground for divorce in jurisdictions that have adopted a no-fault divorce model.
International organizations have called for the decriminalization of adultery, especially in the light of several high-profile stoning cases in some countries. The head of the United Nations expert body charged with identifying ways to eliminate laws that discriminate against women or are discriminatory to them in terms of implementation or impact, Kamala Chandrakirana, has stated that: "Adultery must not be classified as a criminal offense at all." A joint statement by the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice states, "Adultery as a criminal offense violates women's human rights."
Most countries that criminalize adultery are those where the dominant religion is Islam and several Sub-Saharan African Christian-majority countries. In Muslim countries that follow Sharia law for criminal justice, the punishment for adultery may be stoning. In fifteen countries, stoning is authorized as lawful punishment, though in recent times, it has been legally carried out only in Iran and Somalia. However, there are some notable exceptions to this rule, namely the Philippines and several U.S. states. In some jurisdictions, having sexual relations with the King's wife or the wife of his eldest son constitutes treason.
Age of consent
The age of consent is the age at which a person is legally competent to consent to sexual acts. Consequently, an adult who engages in sexual activity with a person younger than the age of consent cannot legally claim that the sexual activity was consensual. Such sexual activity may be considered child sexual abuse or statutory rape. The person below the minimum age is considered the victim, and their sex partner the offender. However, some jurisdictions provide exceptions through "Romeo and Juliet laws" if both participants are underage. One purpose of setting an age of consent is to protect an underage person from sexual advances.
The term age of consent typically does not appear in legal statutes.   Generally, a law will establish the age below which it is illegal to engage in sexual activity with that person. It has sometimes been used with other meanings, such as the age at which a person becomes competent to consent to marriage. However, consent to sexual activity is the meaning now generally understood. It should not be confused with other laws regarding age minimums, including, but not limited to, the age of majority, age of criminal responsibility, voting age, drinking age, and driving age.
Age of consent laws varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, though most jurisdictions set the age of consent in the range of 14 to 18. The laws may also vary by the type of sexual act, the gender of the participants, or other considerations, such as involving a position of trust; some jurisdictions may also make allowances for minors engaged in sexual acts with each other, rather than a single age. Charges and penalties resulting from a breach of these laws may range from a misdemeanor, such as corruption of a minor, to what is popularly called statutory rape.
There are many "grey areas" in this area of law, some regarding unspecific and untried legislation, others brought about by debates regarding changing societal attitudes, and others due to conflicts between federal and state laws. These factors make the age of consent an often confusing subject and a topic of highly charged debate.
Bodily Integrity
Bodily integrity is the sacredness of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal sovereignty, self-possession, and autonomy of human beings over their bodies. In fundamental rights, violation of the bodily integrity of another is regarded as an unethical infringement, invasive, and possibly criminal.
Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done because such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient." Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions, and other controlling bodies.
Laws restricting, regulating, or banning circumcision, some dating back to ancient times, have been enacted in many countries and communities. In modern states, circumcision is generally presumed to be legal, but laws about assault or child custody have been applied in cases involving circumcision. In the case of non-therapeutic circumcision of children, proponents of laws in favor of the procedure often point to the rights of the parents or practitioners, namely the right to freedom of religion. Those against the procedure point to the boy's right to freedom from religion. In several court cases, judges have pointed to the irreversible nature of the act, the grievous harm to the boy's body, and the right to self-determination and bodily integrity.
Criminalization of homosexuality
Criminalization of homosexuality is the classification of some or all sexual acts between men and, less frequently, between women, as a criminal offense. Such laws are often unenforced about consensual same-sex conduct, but they contribute to police harassment, stigmatization, and violence against homosexual and bisexual people. Other effects include worsening the HIV epidemic due to the criminalization of men who have sex with men discouraging them from seeking preventative care or treatment for HIV infection.
The criminalization of homosexuality is often justified by the now scientifically discredited idea that homosexuality can be acquired or by public revulsion towards homosexuality, in many cases founded on the condemnation of homosexuality by the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Arguments against the criminalization of homosexuality began to be expressed during the Enlightenment. Initial objections included the practical difficulty of enforcement, excessive state intrusion into private life, and the belief that criminalization was ineffective in reducing the incidence of homosexuality. Later objections included the argument that homosexuality should be considered a disease rather than a crime, on the human rights of homosexuals, and the belief that homosexuality is not morally wrong.
In many countries, the criminalization of homosexuality is based on legal codes inherited from the British Empire. The French colonial empire did not lead to the criminalization of homosexuality, as this was abolished in France during the French Revolution in order to remove religious influence from the criminal law. In other countries, the criminalization of homosexuality is based on sharia law. A significant wave of decriminalization started after World War II in the Western world. It diffused globally and peaked in the 1990s. In recent years, many African countries have increased enforcement of anti-homosexual laws due to politicization and a mistaken belief that homosexuality is a Western import. As of 2021, homosexuality is criminalized de jure in 67 U.N. member states and de facto in two others; at least six have the death penalty for homosexuality

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