I’ve often heard people say that they don’t want me to “legislate my morality” on anyone. I have one of two typical responses to this statement. I either say “should we legislate immorality instead?” or “then whose morality should we legislate?” The truth is that morality is always being legislated, it’s just a matter of whose morality is going to be legislated. Because laws are crafted by human beings, who are moral people, all laws are then essentially moral.
So the real question then is who’s morality will we decide to legislate?
When we look to the Founding Father’s we can easily see that they inserted their moral, religious beliefs into the founding documents that birthed our great nation. These were men that claimed the name of Jesus and knew the Bible better than some modern day pastors. John Adams even famously said:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It seems more than obvious that the Founder’s not only inserted their morality, which was based largely on their religious beliefs, but they intended for all future residents of our nation to be governed by these moral principles. The Founder’s recognized that apart from the moral principles that established America that our nation would self-destruct from within; a truth we are seeing take place before our eyes.
For this reason the Founder’s made our very first freedoms the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. They wisely concluded that without the freedom to live by the moral principles found in Scripture that dictated the lives of religious people, and the ability to express those principles through speech, that any other freedoms would certainly crumble. These first freedoms, found in the First Amendment, have ably held up our Constitution and our free society for over two hundred years.
Joe Carter, writing at the Action Institute Power Blog notes the breakdown that occurs when religious freedom erodes:
“As history has shown time and time again, where there is hostility toward religious groups there will be instability, violence, and warfare. This is why the moral center and chief objective of American diplomacy should be the promotion of religious freedom.”
Carter then quotes Nathan Hitchen as he connects religious freedom to other freedoms:
“The logic is that religious freedom is a compound liberty, that is, there are other liberties bound within it. Allowing the freedom of religion entails allowing the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, and the liberty of conscience. If a regime accepts religious freedom, a multiplier effect naturally develops and pressures the regime toward further reforms. As such, religious liberty limits government (it is a “liberty” after all) by protecting society from the state. Social pluralism can develop because religious minorities are protected. And the prospect of pluralism in the Middle East is especially enticing as it potentially combats the spread of Islamic radicalization.”
And Nathan Oppman, writing at the FRC Blog, notes that without God and morality as the foundation for our laws and society there is much at stake:
“No matter how hard one tries to remain secular, God seems to come up in American culture. From health care to football (courtesy of Tim Tebow) God pops up in discussion. Recognizing that we are subject to the will and Laws of Nature and Nature’s God is a very humble position to take. It is not merely using God as a prop but recognizing that He is the foundation of all order in the Universe. If our rights and potential come from God then we have immense value. If they come from government they can be ignored and destroyed. If they come from God they should be recognized and protected. God must be recognized or all we have held dear for so long in America is potentially up for debate. If the Declaration was incorrect in saying the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are self-evident rights from God endowed on every man, then much is at stake.”
What is easy to conclude is that God and morality are the central pillars to a free society where people desire other essential freedoms. Without a Godly morality guiding lawmakers we can reasonably expect our society to increase in violence, government intrusion, and fewer freedoms. The astute observer will look around and see that is exactly what is taking place in America today.
So when I’m told not to legislate my morality I recognize first that I’m dealing with someone that doesn’t understand the fundamental establishment of America and how a free society operates. Then I politely try to help the person see that morality is inherent in some way or another in every law that is passed; it’s either moral or immoral, but morality is present. Lastly I encourage the person to consider just whose morality we will legislate.
But, as for me and my house, we will endeavor to legislate a morality that is founded on God and His Word.
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About Nathan Cherry
Nathan Cherry is the chief editor and blogger for the Engage Family Minute blog, the official blog of the FPCWV. He serves also as the Regional Development Coordinator as a liaison to the pastor's of West Virginia. He is a pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-religious freedom conservative. He is also a husband, father, pastor, author, musician, and follower of Jesus Christ.