Should Government Legislate Morality?

Often when a politician is asked the question such as "Should marriage be between a man and a woman?", he or she would give answers as "I personally believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, but I cannot impose my belief onto others. I do not believe morality can be legislated, thus I would not support amending the constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman." This sounds like a noble answer but it is in fact a humanistic concept that is contracdicted to the bible.

Men have the free will to choose, right or wrong. As individual, we cannot force our moral to others because of their free will. However, men are not perfect, they will abuse their freedom. As Robert Winthrop (former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives 1852) said, "Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet." The government is setup to keep order for its society. It is the government responsibility to legislate moral laws to prevent people from abusing their free will. The very reason government exists is to reward the good and punish the evil (1 Peter 2:14).

We have law against murder (Thou shalt not kill), against prostitution (Thou shalt not commit adultery), against fraud (Thou shalt not lie), ... All laws legislated are based on certain moral. The statement "We should not legislate morality." is simply false and will create chaos in the society.

The founding fathers also supported this. The congress who framed the religious clauses of the First Amendment was the same congress who created and passed the Northwest Ordinance. This Ordinance set forth the requirements of statehood for prospective territories. In Artical III of that Ordinance, it addresses religion and public education. The founders declared, "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." Congress later issued in 1802 an "enabling act" establishing the provisions of the Ordinance as criteria for drafting a State constitution. The 1858 Kansas State Constitution thus required: "Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the legislature to make suitable provisions ... for the encouragement of schools and the means of instruction." Similar wordings were found in Constitution of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, and Nebraska.

By Emile Hong

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