Monday, July 28, 2014

YES OR NO, MORALITY IS LEGISLATED



The primary focus of this article will be to ask readers to reconsider this common saying:

“You can not legislate morality.” 

For Christians I post this scripture as a possible beginning from which to consider what I consider the absolute falsehood of that all too common saying. Here is I Timothy1: 8-10:    

“But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,… 

In a Republic such as the United States, I certainly object to even the best of the 43 Presidents or the most brilliant of all of the Justices who have ever served on the Supreme Court being “the deciders” of the laws that will govern our society forever and ever. But I do believe our system is the best the world has ever known and, if “We The People” actively participate in the process, it will continue to be the best way to govern man has ever implemented. 

Are there too many laws? Absolutely! Are some of the laws unnecessary or unconstitutional? For sure! Should there be far far less federal legislation and dictatorial, unconstitutional acts from our Presidents, our federal courts, and our congress? No doubt…… but regardless of the fact that founders meant for most decisions and laws to be made by elected officials close to those who put them in office….. I would say those who have accepted the idea that morality can not be legislated need to reconsider.

Arguments pro and con are welcome. Please note that I am not talking about a theocracy and I seriously doubt anyone commenting will suggest church leaders be placed in charge of what our laws should be (unless elected by the people). I am however suggesting that every voter would apply their standard or their idea of what is right and what is wrong, and some people (including me) will undoubtedly come from the similar perspective as their pastor or their priest or their rabbi or the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah.  

And yes, before Libertarians accuse me of believing it, I am again on record suggesting that this is not a new concept. Many of our Founders believed that this society was set up that way by them as they left Moses and the Ten Commandments carved and mounted in public displays all over the original states and subsequent states. The laws they passed are irrefutable evidence on all kinds of matters.  


 

Anyone who thinks they know some secret history or that I am promoting a perversion of history to go along with my narrow-minded view that restricts liberty, please do not leave comments that refer readers to books or websites etc. Express your opinion, use reasonable length quotes if necessary, but we don’t want to debate your reference material. 

As usual, no comments on this site with as many hits as it gets, means I am right and you agree. LOL! Just kidding!!

3 comments:

Robert W. Thornton said...

I would postulate that the Law referenced in the passage from Timothy is referring to God's law and not man's, which at the time of the author writing the text was Roman and oppressive towards both the Jews (the author's ethnic group within the empire) and the emerging sect of an offshoot of Judaism, the Christians. The Law spoken about, we would assume is not even the 613 commandments given to Moses from God, but the revised interpretation of the Law from Jesus, "Love The Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these hang the Law and the prophets."

Therefore, even if we utilize our understanding of our morality as shaped by a Christian faith, the Law that we should use to create laws for a secular government should not involve the separation of individuals from rights because we perceive they are living wrong. Because let us not forget, that while Paul might ask you to enforce conformity within a community, Jesus commands us not to judge unless we can stand above reproach.

All that to say, I let my faith shape my personal morality, but when speaking about rights that our secular government recognizes, I cannot support suppressing rights of anyone, especially if they are breaking one of the 613 commandments, if I am recognizing Jesus's two. It is our duty to love those that we disagree with, not deprive them of legal rights.

For comparison, is it right for predominantly Muslim countries or the former atheist Soviet Union to deprive Christians their rights because of their beliefs? No. There should be no deprivation of legal and civil rights for any person regardless of race, creed, or orientation, unless their actions have necessitated their removal from society (criminal conviction).

I think that is how I differentiate between the role of the Law and laws of the state, and it is reasonable to me.

Richard Pegues said...

Jesus does command us not to judge. But he is talking about placing ourselves in his position as the One who judges whether a person goes to heaven opr hell. He never meant for us not to use judgement. we could not function a single day without using judgement. God has placed men in positions in our government and with much power comes much responsibility. One of the responsibilities is "judging". This "judging" shouild be done by the rule of law. The law, if our judges are to judge righteously, should come from the only source of righteousness - God Himself - otherwise we have placed ourselves on the throne. All laws are meant to constrain behavior and therefore say what rights we are limited too. In other words to establish the civil rights given to us by God to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All rights can be forfeited by a violation of law. But the law should be righteous. If our society steals land by law, it is an unjust law. If our society forbids drunkenness the matter is more complicated. If our law forbids homosexuality, which it had for most of the history of this nation, it is fully alligned with scripture. The only judgement that needs to be made by a judge is to enforce His law. If a person is found to have murdered someone or stolen from someone, our society will deprive them of life or liberty or property or the pursuit of happiness in so far as the guilty have forfeited their rights according to law. Just as God who loves us made laws and consequences for breaking laws, parents who love their children should make boundaries because they love their children and man should make laws - not because they hate themselves, but because laws are not made to express hate, but love. All laws "should hang" upon love. Do we "love" if we allow children to be aborted or homosexuals to marry or children to avoid education? Are their consequences, if so what?

Robert W. Thornton said...

I don't think we are loving if we attempt to legislate a particular morality if that deprives peaceable citizens their rights to enter into private contracts or a woman's right to choose. Those are not choices that I would make, but I don't presume to make choices for other people in situations that I've never been in. I would say that legislators should legislate morally (ensuring that rights are not deprived, which is what Americans have been fighting for for 238 years) rather than legislate morality.