This is an excerpt from the book by Neil Mammen entitled Jesus Is Involved in Politics (Why aren't you? Why isn't your church?.):
... if we don't legislative morality, what on earth are we legislating? Platitudes? Fuzzy feelings? What? Cultural values? What are our representatives and senators legislating? Traditions? What are they legislating? Well generally, they legislative thinks like, "Rape is against the law." "If you are a child predator, we will put you in prison!" "Killing is against the law" But why do they legislative thinkg like this? Because it's what? It's wrong to kill. It's immoral to kill. We have laws that say things like "stealing is illegal." Isn't stealing a moral issue? In fact, isn't it also a Commandment, as in "Though shalt not steal!"I vehemently agree with Mammen, when he ardently contends all legislation is some one's idea of morality. He goes on to ask the question whether all laws are based on morality. Yes, they are. The law prohibiting littering is based upon the moral principle that destruction of property that does not belong to you is immoral. Another argument I have heard (recently) is even if you legislate morality, you cannot enforce it. When you take a look at the argument logically, you see it fails. So simply because it is so means it ought to be so? Pro-choice Republicans use the reasoning that women are going to get abortions whether it is illegal or not, so we shouldn't create laws against abortion. Is this a valid argument? Of course not. We may not be able to enforce a law, but that doesn't make it invalid. Mammen points out a very clever point. There's this troubling thing about murder cases - we always seem to get there too late. A law is not invalid if it doesn't keep someone from doing something, and only punishes them when they do it. That isn't closing the door after the horse is already out of the barn; it is the official disapproval and admonishment of an immoral act.
Richard J. Maybury, a libertarian by the title of "juris naturalist", lists in his book several different forms of "encroachment." He says conservatives "want encroachment" in the areas of drug use, pornography, homosexuality, and prostitution. He moves on to commit a logical fallacy by stating this:
... none of this is meant to imply that juris naturalists are in favor of poverty, drug addiction, child pornography or any other evils. It means only that the juris naturalist favors the non-government ways of solving these problems, the voluntary ways, and he is convinced that when government gets involved it only makes things worse.The clear fallacy committed by Maybury assumes man is inherently good. His argument assumes people will turn from their immoral acts on their own, or by encouragement. I happen to believe those who produce child pornography should be imprisoned. How does this make the problem worse? The answer is: it doesn't. The 18th amendment to the Constitution is constantly beat over the head of conservatives as an example of how government intervention doesn't help. That is committing the fallacy of a hasty generalization. You must acknowledge the truth that every person is inherently evil, it is our nature. The government, therefore, has the authority to enforce morality on the people, because that is the role of government. The government should place in prison those who victimize children - this is a form of the government legislating morality, and it being successful. How successful would it be if we legalized this horrible, ribald act? It wouldn't work, that is certain.
Let me wrap up my argument with a few Bible verses pertaining to this topic:
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Romans 7:18 (ESV) (emphasis added)
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:3-4 (ESV) (emphasis added)How much more proof do you require? The Bible says, "For he is ... an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." You cannot say that verse and the sentence, "You can't legislate morality," in the same breath. Notice, the scripture never limits the government's jurisdiction to offenses of direct encroachment upon a person or his property, as Maybury would argue should be our standard. It merely states the government is God's minister for good. It is the church's responsibility to preach morality, it is the government's responsibility to enforce it.
Now, I am not a bigot. I know there are folks who disagree, because I spoke with one just recently. As President George H. W. Bush said, "I'm conservative, but I'm not a nut about it." Please comment below, and offer a dissenting opinion. I will be glad to discuss this issue, and I respect your point of view.