Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Legislation of Morality

One of the arguements heard now and then is the arguement that we should not be legislating morality. This argument ignores our tradition of doing just that. As a people, we legislate morality.

The Consititution begins with a charge to "establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty..." We ammended this Constitution to elaborate on the rights of the citizens of our country. Furthermore, we elaborate on the Constitution with a civil and criminal law system.

We value life, and have declared murder wrong. (Though I am strongly pro-life, I don't want to argue abortion today.) We believe that sex should be consentual, and have declared rape to be illegal. Furthermore, though we believe that sex should be consentual, we believe that prostitution is wrong. We have codes against lying, defrauding our neighbor, and stealing. We also govern discriminatory actions in the form of equal opportunity laws. We believe that people should be treated fairly, and therefore have a variety of civil laws governing medical practice, sales, education, perscription drugs, medical care, and living conditions.

All of the above are moral beliefs and values which we legislate. Furthermore, we associate ourselves in communities that impose certain other legislation on us. For example, I attend a church where pre-marital sex is frowned upon according to the Bible, and so the pastor of my church will not perform marriage rites to those who are actively engaging in pre-marital sex. Also such communities impose a belief in charitable contributions and other behaviors that expand upon our civil and criminal law.

It is acceptable to legislate morality as we practice this. And in areas in which laws do not cover or do not cover well enough, we seek out communities where other rules are imposed. What I do not find acceptable is the interfereance of state in religion. Our founding fathers formed a secular state where state and church are two separate entities. This is not saying that religious people cannot participate in government. Nor does this say that the church and state cannot share mutual goals and attempt to reach these goals together. Rather, it acknowledges that the state cannot impose laws on the church that may be against the theology of the church; and that the church cannot impose its own will as a governing body. In other words, the state can't tell the church what to believe, nor can the church behave like it has actual legal authority to punish unbelievers. (Defining unbelievers as those who do not belong to church.)

I am not particularly worried that we will have a theocracy any time soon. Rather, I am afraid that the irreligious of the world will do what they fear the Christian community will do. I fear that the irreligious will impose their beliefs on the state and eventually on the church. Unfortunately, we have some foundation in Christian scripture to support this fear of mine. Jesus warned that we should not be surprised when the world hates us because the world hates him.

Will we go down fighting?


  • At 12:19 PM , Blogger Sadie said...

    Some of us may go down fighting, and others will cower. Some of us are actively fighting the good fight and telling people what we believe. They, meaning the irreligious of the world, as you put it, cannot hide behind the ACLU if the majority of us stands up for our beliefs. People need to realize that being a believer does not make us stupid or ignorant or hypocritical, even if that's all we see being portrayed in the media and in fiction. The founding fathers themselves were devout believers. I, myself, do not plan on cowering any time soon.


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