2019 | Week of May 13 | Radio Transcript #1308
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it hundreds of times—and generally from well-meaning people: “You can’t legislate morality.” Every time I hear this, I take vigorous exception.
First let’s clarify what morality is. Morality is someone’s view of what’s right and wrong. Those views can be based on anything or nothing. Morality can and does shift with time and people. A great example would be our society’s view of marriage. The perceived rightness and wrongness of behaviors associated with this foundational institution have certainly changed in our society in the last twenty-five years.
For Christians our morality—our view of what’s right and wrong should be based squarely on what the Bible teaches.
Because morality is someone’s view of what’s right and wrong, every federal law, every state law, every local ordinance, every school board policy, every rule and regulation enacted by government agencies, and many decisions from courts, legislate morality—they are the legal representation of what someone thinks is right or wrong.
Consider for instance the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, legalizing abortion on demand in 1973 and the 2015 Obergefell decision legalizing marriage between persons of the same sex. Clearly these decisions legislated morality.
Examples are everywhere. Here are some examples of legislating morality right here right now in Wisconsin. First, our state legislature is considering five bills that in some way regulate abortion. One bill deals with prohibiting sex-selective, disability-selective or other selective abortions. Another requires that women be told that the first stage of an RU-486 induced abortion can be undone and requires additional reporting requirements for induced abortions. Yet another is the “born-alive” bill that makes it clear what medical professionals must do for a baby who survives an abortion or attempted abortion. And the last two deal with stopping Medicaid funds from going to entities that perform abortions.
In general, these bills agree with my sense of morality. That doesn’t mean I have no concerns about various aspects of the bills. I actually think each bill could and should be improved, but generally the morality these bills are legislating is good.
However, we also have a bill introduced that bans so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. “Conversion therapy” is any counseling that doesn’t affirm or encourage a minor to continue to identify with and act on his/her same-sex attraction and/or gender-identity confusion. And we have a bill that would decriminalize child prostitution. Another bill would remove the “personal conviction” exemption option for parents when it comes to vaccinating children.
Each of these bills legislate a morality that runs counter to my sense of morality—a morality I hope and pray is always rooted deeply in God’s Truth. What becomes quickly obvious is that the core beliefs, the morality of our elected officials, make the difference in what morality gets legislated.
Knowing this truth should drive us to at least two actions: first, we need to faithfully pray for our elected officials—all of them, by name on some kind of regular and systematic basis. Scripture admonishes us to pray for kings and all those who are in authority, and even tells us why we should pray for them: so that we can lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. Good laws that legislate good morality are good for everyone and make for a quiet and peaceable society.
Second, we need to be careful to elect people whose morality most closely aligns with ours. That means we need to be on the lookout for good candidates, and we need to support good candidates when we have the opportunity.
In truth, morality is legislated virtually every day. The question is whose morality—whose view of right and wrong—will be ensconced in law? When God’s view becomes the law of the land, everyone benefits. May God grant us more of that type of morality being legislated in our nation, state and communities.
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This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”