Legislating Morality? October 22, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, church, faith, God, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
In discussing the gay marriage issue with a friend, he told me the support of gay marriages is a ‘slippery slope’. I explain that laws are there to protect the rights of citizens NOT legislate morality. However, he stumped me with his response -‘then what about polygamy?’ I can’t say I support polygamy, but he is right in pointing out that there are no violations of a citizen’s right if there are consenting adults involved.
Then I began to think of other laws that are legislating a moral code vs. protecting the rights of citizens. Even though I do support gay marriage, am I willing to support the removal of all laws, like polygamy, that in some way legislates morality?
What about the laws requiring us to buckle up or to wear helmets while riding a motorcycle? What about an 18 year old who can be sent off to die in Iraq but cannot legally drink a beer?
I’ve stated many times on this blog my desire to be consistent in my beliefs. I sometimes wonder if this is even possible? We see these inconsistencies on a regular basis. Pro-abortionists are usually anti-death penalty. Liberals spew as much hate towards the religious right because they claim the religious right is hateful. There are those for free speech unless the speaker is in disagreement with their beliefs. Some support the rights of gays and lesbians but try to deny Christian kids the rights to hold Bible Studies in schools.
Is it possible to be totally consistent in our beliefs or do we live in a tainted world where this is not possible? I will continue to try, but please show mercy towards me when you see me being a hypocrite. So, I can say that I believe that we should not use laws to legislate morality but do I really?
[Originally written on 12 May 2005, updated today]
Here are some original comments to the blog:
First of all the “slippery slope” comment is a red herring. Marriage law has changed all throughout history. Modern North American Marriage law has about as much to do with the culture of the Bible as my old ’78 Mercury Bobcat had with moutain lions. Clearly polygamy is an accpetable type of marriage in the Bible, the only restriction against it in the Christian scriptures is by Paul for Church leaders. Not for anyone else. Roman civil law has more to do with the Chruch preaching monogamous marriages than the Scriptures. I do not support polygamy, but I can’t deny it scripturally, either.To be consistant, you have to discover the basis of your morals, and for me it is love, justice, redemption, and freedom in Christ. If consenting adults want to form a union what is it of concern to me? Is each party free to stay or go? No one is being coerced? Then from a civil perspective, I say it should be permitted. After all, this country is about personal freedom, is it not? ….
Ya, I’m really not a fan of legislating morality. I look at it like this: regardless of what my own convictions may be, the role of the legistators is to make laws that reflect the convictions of society in general. I would consider fighting against laws that I believe hurt innocent people, but not against those that allow adults to pursue lifestyles that I disapprove of. That means that should polygamy ever be legalized, the issue would not be whether I find it gross or even whether I disagree with it on moral grounds, but whether polygamous relationships are detrimental to children or others. (Which may in fact be the case.)I guess what I’m saying is that we should be legislating not morality but safety, freedom and wellbeing. And we shouldn’t be too concerned about changes in legislation, nor should we look at these changes as neccessarily being either progress or decline. Change happens……
Unregulated Female said…
The Founding Father of our country – Thomas Jefferson – was so for separation of Church and State, he didn’t use the Bible to be sworn into the presidential office. The separation exists for a reason, even though there is a “righteous” movement” trying to tear that safety down. Remember when our country was founded, people’s rights were extremely limited if someone did not belong to a particular faith. This belief only encourages others to behave one way in the public and another in private. It seems if the religious right have their way, our country would revert to this thinking. God forbid.Time is a good judge. There are some issues that just seem to be answered when we give them space to find out the results. This is the basis for my stance on gay marriage. We must stay open for dialogue and communication with those in both the gay and straight community, not separate because we are afraid of our own (or our children’s own) sexual identity.
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