Should We Legislate Morality?

Good Essays
If something is immoral should it also be illegal? In America, we should not pass laws where the primary concern is morality; we should only pass laws which have civil values as their primary concern. Civil values in this case are values which either ensures the safety or order of a society, such as, traffic laws or zoning laws. Also involved are more important values such as freedom, democracy, and liberty which have been laid out by our founding fathers.

I have two basic reasons for holding this view. First, we live in a secular society. There is a supposed wall of separation between Church and State, and I think rightly so. Church and State should only be united in a theocracy America is not one of those and could not become one without changing the character of the nation. However, I am aware that the moral basis for the tradition of English law that the U.S. legislative and judicial systems are deeply rooted in, are based on essentially Christian principles. As I think that morality without Christ is ultimately empty, then to legislate true morality would be to legislate Christianity, thus violating the Church and State separation.

Seeking to mend the religious backsliding in the United States by this sort of method is not right. It is trying to get the government to cover a moral problem by redefining it through political change rather than dealing with the spiritual issues first. That is to say that legislating morality is an attempt to control behavior without dealing with the spiritual roots of the problem. This case offers both a secular argument and a religious argument. Having a religion based law is fine, but if that is all you have then you should not vote for it. To become a law, there must be...

... middle of paper ...

...uating an issue as evil, and another side defending the issue as a non-evil one. To successfully legislate morality based laws, both sides must conform to the same view.

I feel that we have no right to legislate morality, unless, it has common civil functions as well. A person's concept of morality is dependent upon their own moral and religious beliefs and the United States was founded on principles of freedom and liberty for all, regardless of religion. The foundation of liberty is that we all have the right to do whatever we want, provided what we do affects no one without his or her consent. Man has a mind in order that he may understand and make choices. Man's survival results from moral integrity not from counseling obedience set up by an external agent. He must have his freedoms because knowledge comes not from obedience from authority but from reason.
Get Access