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Legislating Morality

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How many times have Christians been told, “You can’t legislate morality?” Although it is true we cannot force anyone to believe in moral principles, we certainly can call for laws to protect the innocent and the weak—and for the most basic human rights.

“You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet . . . anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

(Exodus 20:13–17)

How many times have Christians been told, “You can’t legislate morality”? Although it is true that we cannot force anyone to believe in moral principles, we certainly can call for laws to protect the innocent, the weak, and the most basic human rights. For instance, shouldn’t there be laws against rape? Or against stealing? Or how about laws against prostitution, narcotics, and child pornography? Of course there should be, and there are, but don’t these laws legislate morality?

Understand this: legislatures make laws. That’s what they do. And all those laws are based on somebody’s view of morality. Laws are passed to try to protect people from being taken advantage of, abused, mistreated, or even killed. So anyone who declares that we can’t let Christians influence our moral beliefs is speaking not only bigotry about Christian influence but also stupidity about why all laws are made. All societies base their laws on someone’s view of morality. To exclude Christian moral belief is not only naive but closed-minded and prejudiced.

True morality comes from God. We are made in His image, and unlike every other creation, man has a sense of morality. In that light, I ask: can you find a higher sense of morality than Jesus and His Word?

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