You Can't Legislate Morality

This week’s quick challenge answer deals with the objection “You Can’t Legislate Morality”.    Have you ever heard this?  Of course you have! I’d be surprised if someone HADN’T heard this uttered at some point or another.  So, what do we make of this objection?  Can you actually legislate morality?

Morality Is The Only Thing You CAN Legislate!

As Greg Koukl and Francis Beckwith point out in their excellent book on relativism, morality is the only thing you CAN legislate!  Think about it.  All laws make moral claims.  They say certain actions are right, and others are wrong.  Even something as simple as a traffic law makes a judgement on which behaviors are correct while driving. There is really only one question. Which morality are we going to legislate?

I’ve often heard people make the claim that Christians need to keep their religion in their houses of worship.  “You can have your religion, as long as you don’t bring it into the public square”.  It saddens me that many Christians believe this deeply flawed idea.  

Who’s Morality Are We Going To Legislate?

All people have philosophies that guide how they vote.  There are feminist philosophies, secular philosophies and a host of others.  I’ve never heard a claim that these should be kept out of the public square.  The basis for good legislation is not based on the origin of the idea.  The basis for good legislation rest in the merits of the idea being proposed.

At this point, you can always ask a simple question.  “Do you think Christians shouldn’t be allowed to vote?”  That may cause people to stop and think about what they are actually asking you to do.  You can also simply point out to the person making the claim that you have good reasons outside of religion to enact certain laws. 

In short, Christians aren’t advocating for a theocracy.  We don’t want a government run by the Church.  We do advocate for certain legislation because we believe it is in the best interest of all those involved.  Our case will either rise or fall on the merits, not on the basis of where the idea came from. 

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