"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan" - Prov. 29:2
"...that we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness" - 1 Timothy 2:2
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" - Prov. 14:34
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Civil Laws and Morality

It has bothered me for a long time to hear people - even those who profess to be Bible believers - say, "You can't legislate morality." As a result, people have been hesitant to present moral arguments as reasons for the government to pass laws that limit immoral acts.

Why do we oppose such acts as abortion, homosexuality and gay marriage, drug abuse, pornography, gambling, no-fault divorce, and women in combat? Why are there laws in every state that restrict these practices, at least to some extent? For that matter, why are there laws restricting murder, stealing, spousal and child abuse, plagiarism, perjury, and dozens of similar practices? Why should we deny that the underlying problem with all these practices is our belief that they are immoral, and that our moral view is generally based on our religious faith?

Historically, the Founding Fathers and early civil rulers knowingly and willingly made laws based on moral grounds. Most of them realized that a nation is great only when its people and rulers are moral. And most of them had no problem with the fact that religious faith was the moral basis underlying the laws they made. (See our article at http://www.gospelway.com/government/continental_congress.php.)

So why are we today so hesitant to defend our views on moral grounds? The answer is that our society - and especially our government - has become so secularized that moral arguments are often not welcome. In particular, rulers and many citizens have bought the false modern view of "separation of church and state," so that they have come to believe that no law should be based on any view that is held by religious people. But the fact is that every law we have listed (and many more) is based on views held by religious people. That is, religious people generally oppose (at least to some extent) every practice I have listed.

If a practice must never be restricted because opposition to it is based on a moral conviction, and that moral conviction is believed by religious people, then the bottom line is that we will never have any laws that have any real substance whatever. When we come to face the real truth, we must acknowledge that our moral beliefs are the real basis of virtually all our laws of substance.

(c) Copyright 2012 by David E. Pratte - We copyright our material, not to prevent its use, but to prevent its misuse. You have permission and are encouraged to save this article for future reference and to email copies of it to your friends and acquaintances, provided no fee is charged and no changes are made in content.

Church of Christ - Utica, Ohio