Legislating Morality–Part Two

In yesterday’s post, I explained what I believe to be a self-evident truth: all legislation deals with right and wrong; therefore, we always legislate morality. The only question is whose morality will we legislate.

Today, I’d like to offer some examples that may not be as clear-cut as murder, theft, and fraud. For instance, there was a short time in American history when prohibition went into effect—the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was banned by constitutional amendment. It didn’t work. That amendment was overturned by another amendment later. While it may have been well-intentioned, hoping to diminish the damage done to individuals and families by drunkenness, it wasn’t really enforceable. Neither is all alcohol condemned in Scripture; the key is to not give oneself over to the sin of drunkenness. I believe the law should instead, in a case like this, penalize public drunkenness due to the specific dangers it creates to the community.

What about drugs? Many draw a parallel between alcohol and drugs, and say they are the same and should be handled identically. However, in my view, there is rarely any reason for a person to take a drug, outside of a doctor’s prescription, if that drug’s primary effect is to impair one’s connection to reality. A person normally has to imbibe a certain amount of alcohol to reach the same state that one drug dose will create. The drug itself has no nutritional value; there’s rarely any reason for taking it other than the desire to get high, thereby endangering others. I have no objection to the drug war, so-called, as long as it is effectively enforced.

Abortion, to me, is not an ambivalent issue. This is the taking of innocent life. I would like to see the law come down hard on those who perform this “service,” in order to restore the concept of each person as inherently valuable, made in the image of God. It would also stop the downward slide of our society into hardheartedness and the development of what the Bible calls a “seared conscience.”

Homosexuality is probably the most controversial moral issue at present, particularly now that there is movement toward homosexual marriage. Our society has shifted significantly on this in the past thirty years. As someone who takes Scripture seriously, I cannot condone personally the practice of homosexuality. I believe it is a sin. But then comes the question as to when a sin becomes a matter for the civil government to punish. All criminal acts [at least those in accord with the Biblical understanding of crime] are sinful as well; not all sins are criminal acts. Pride is one of the most deadly of all sins, but we don’t pass laws putting people in prison for demonstrating pride and arrogance [Congress would be nearly emptied]. That’s something God deals with directly, and it’s the church’s responsibility to confront such an attitude.

Some will disagree with me, but I don’t think it would work very well to criminalize homosexuality. I would prefer that to be a moral issue that the church confronts, and that we work to salvage the lives of those who have trapped themselves in the sin via genuine repentance and God’s redemption.

However, there are some points at which government should play a role with this moral issue. First, it should never allow homosexuality to be accorded some type of special status in the law, and neither should it punish those who disapprove of the practice. Unfortunately, the first has occurred, and the second may be on the way. Already one courts ostracism if one speaks openly of homosexuality being a sin. Frankly, another four years of an Obama administration may see an attack on blogs like mine that refuse to bow to political correctness. We could expect as well an attack on churches that continue to be faithful to what Scripture says about this sin.

I have no problem at all with setting a standard in society by legislating against homosexual marriage. It not only makes a mockery of the original intent of marriage, but it marks the beginnings of the destruction of the family, which is the cornerstone of society. Although some try to deny it, the next step will be to legalize anything that anyone considers a marriage. Last week, I saw a news report about a women who fell in love with a building that might be demolished, so she “married” the building—in a wedding dress, no less. Absurd? Unthinkable? Not anymore.

Christians still have a voice in this nation, not only within the church, but also in civil governance. We have just as much right as anyone to argue for the kind of moral standard we believe is essential for the spiritual health of the society. Yes, morality will be legislated, one way or the other. For the sake of our future as a nation, it had better be Biblical morality that wins in the end.