Dad on morality and law.

This letter made its way into my hometown newspaper:

In the April 3 column on same-sex marriage, the point was made that morality has no place in legislation and court rulings. This idea is contrary to the fundamental nature of law.

Law is the expression of the will of a sovereign. Thus morality is the only thing which is, and can be legislated.

The question is; who’s morality will be enacted? That of the one true Sovereign, the Triune God? Or that of sinful human beings as represented in our civil government?

All law is an imposition of morality. A traffic light is an imposition of morality. It says that human life is valuable and is to be protected. Laws against theft and murder are impositions of morality. Our laws must be firmly grounded in the holy, unchanging Word of God.

If laws are enacted with no higher authority than social, cultural, and scientific concerns, there are no true safeguards for your life and property. It may be decided that it is in the best interests of society to deny medical care to the elderly or the mentally or physically impaired. It may be decided that it is in the best interests of society to limit every family to one child as in China. It may be decided it is in the best interests of the culture to eliminate some “undesirable” race as Hitler tried to do in Germany. All these things are equally impositions of someone’s morality.

The ultimate question is who’s law will we live by? Will we obey God and receive life, or obey man and receive death?

My father was having none of it:

Typically, people like this who are foaming at the mouth to force their version of god and morality onto everyone are the ones who go crazy at the thought of others forcing a different version of god and morality, such as sharia law, onto them. We have identified over 3700 gods that are worshiped (not to mention future ones man will create); we have identified over 33,000 sects of Christianity. Her version of either deserves no special spot in the laws of our country.

Frankly, people who are determined to impose their interpretation of the will of their preferred deity onto everyone else—like this person— just terrify me. That the “one true Sovereign” coincidentally happens to be their favorite one who reflects their personal prejudices and hatreds just plain isn’t a suitable basis for the foundation of laws that protect the freedoms of everyone.

Our constitution is a secular document. The text never references any deity, but instead starts with “WE THE PEOPLE”. It doesn’t need the morality of a god who thinks people should be stoned for working on a certain day, that provides a book with instructions–not that slavery is evil—on HOW to perform slavery and how to price your children when you sell them into slavery,or that an entire class of American citizens shouldn’t be equal under the law because of the “sin” of homosexuality. I’m sure any decent god can take care of that particular “sin” without some gratuitous persecution of gays by his minions in this country by denying gays equal rights under the law.

The United States, a secular and democratic republic, doesn’t need the legal code of an ancient theocratic monarchy.

The American Constitution was framed with a strict separation between state and religion. It is not anti-religious but it says that while religion has a place in society, that place cannot be connected with the government. Anyone can practice any religion or lack thereof, but they cannot force anyone else to practice that religion and the government cannot endorse or support any particular religion.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.