“You can’t legislate morality.” You have heard it said time and time again – usually when a law is passed that serves to enforce a moral standard of a culture.
And it is true. You can’t legislate morality. True morality comes from changed hearts, not from changed laws. But laws are still important in moral matters because they define what is moral, just, and good. They bring sanctions designed to deter and hold back the evil that lies dormant in every heart.
While it is true that you cannot legislate morality – it is also true that legislation can legitimize evil in a society. We shudder at the horrors of evil inflicted on whole societies over the last one hundred years alone – the forced starvation of millions in the Ukraine, the efficient assembly-line-like murder of six million Jews in Germany, and the imprisonment of a whole country in North Korea – and we forget that all of it was perfectly legal.
All of these atrocities were (are) committed in accordance with the laws of the countries where they occurred. We may take issue on how those laws came about – but they came about and they codified evil.
It is important that we recognize the difference between “legal” and “lawful.” In reference to our right to exist as a country in the Declaration of Independence, our founders referred to the “laws of nature and nature’s God.” They recognized there are unalterable laws in nature and those laws did not just happen – they were put in place by a Law-Giver – God Himself. In the next sentence they tell us that this same God also endowed all people with rights that could not be taken from them – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. With these words, they set the stage, not just for the rest of the Declaration, but for the proper conduct of our nation up to the present day.
In other words, legislation is only lawful if it does not infringe on these rights. If a law codifies the taking of any of these rights, it is our duty as citizens to protest and resist that law.
The first of those rights is life. There are times when the government must judiciously and carefully take life, such as in the case of taking the life of another. However, to codify the taking of innocent life, however nascent, is to codify evil. It is legal evil.
Abortion has always been abhorrent. It has become especially so in the light of recent videos exposing the sale of fetal body parts and the perverted abortion practices of practitioners such as Kermit Gosnell. However nothing has so repulsed, shocked, and grieved so many as the decision of our own governor in New York signing a statute that codifies the murder of innocents from the time of their conception until seconds before their birth. The Reproductive Health Act was signed into law on the 45thanniversary of another legally evil milestone – Roe vs. Wade. This was followed a week later by a bill proposed in Virginia (as well as some deeply disturbing comments by the pediatrician governor of that state) that went even further into the dark realm of infanticide.
Evil has consequences. Evil that has been codified into law has consequences for cities, states, or nations who have started down that dark road. In his second inaugural address, while the Civil War was still raging – President Lincoln reminded the nation the war was the divine sanction for codified evil:
“The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
The Civil War was not “Karma” for the evil worked in the lives of the slaves. It was the reaping of a harvest from seeds of evil sown. No American desired it then and no sane American desires one now – but evil always has consequences and they can come in many ways. The prophet Hosea, speaking about a wayward Israel who were well into a form of ritual infanticide themselves, said “they have sown the wind, and they shall inherit the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7a). It was not long after they were carried away captive by the brutal Assyrian Empire.
I truly love New York. My family has been here since before the Revolutionary War. My great grandfather served in the elected office of Sheriff in Herkimer County. I grieve over the failing economies of the towns and the shrinking population in this once thriving state. I am concerned about the consequences to come, if God so wills, and have been praying for mercy upon this state and my fellow citizens.
What do we do then? It is for us who believe there is a God as the ultimate arbiter of good and evil to speak and work for the good and against the evil. It is our duty to pray that truth and the right will prevail in the narratives of our media. It is to make our disgust, anger, and fury known to our legislators through letters and the ballot box. It is to pray for changed hearts in the Governor’s office as well as in the Senate and Assembly chambers. If the hearts refuse to change, it is our duty to pray for and work for, the election of new leaders who will overturn the legal evil in our state.
Read more in Dave’s blog “Musings of an American” (amermusings.wordpress.com)