Monday, February 28, 2011

Purple Shirt Laws

Have you ever been subjected to a law that seemed so arbitrary, so contrived, so random, that it left you shaking your head in amazement and confusion? I refer to these as "purple shirt" laws. I coined this term for my own version of such a statute, "Thou shalt not wear a purple shirt on Thursdays." I mean, what possible motive could there be to passing such legislation? To me it serves no purpose and raises nothing but open-ended questions. Purple shirt laws.

Of course you realize that for every purple shirt law on the books, there is someone out there who argued passionately for its enactment, who believed with all their heart and mind that this law was necessary and appropriate to curb some undesirable action or behavior. But what if you strongly believed that something was a sin, like wearing a purple shirt on Thursday? You believed it down to your very core, twixt and through the very pith of your marrow. What if you believed that wearing a purple shirt on Thursday constituted sin? What if you believed this regardless of what anyone else believed or what the scriptures directly tell you? Are you guilty of sinning if you don that purple shirt?

I don't know if I am the only one who has a set of purple shirt laws that I subject myself to. Whether anyone else can make sense of my behavior or attitude or beliefs, or even if they disagree with me or think I am being too draconian or prudish or stubborn, does not matter to me. I don't feel that overcoming my attitude on these items is a matter of education or pressure from the outside. Regardless of whether others wear a purple shirt or not, for me it is indeed a sin as I recognize it to be. But in reality, perhaps, my purple shirt laws are safe boundaries that I have erected to keep me well away from much deeper problems. Lines in the sand that I know I had dare not cross lest I get too close to the edge. In some ways I guess my purple shirt laws represent my own personal early warning system saying "beware".