the (il)legislation of morality.

recently i have been thinking a lot about the legislation of morality. meaning: how can any government (all inclusive) tell a human what he or she cannot do. i understand that laws are set up so that the society as a whole will survive.
for a survival instance: if the law of that particular government said that murder was not a crime and was socially acceptable, i question how long that society would last. not murdering could be understood to some as innate, in the sense that when you do something wrong no matter what upbringing, or culture, you were raised in one would feel 'guilty' or some sense of wrongdoing.
here is where i have the problem; because china's government is set up around an atheistic principled governmental system called communism it does not allow the free pursuit of a higher being or any other religious beliefs. now i am not saying religion is moral, but religion usually connotes a pursuit of morality in most case's.
but this is not simply an international delimma but a nationwide enigma.
i am going to get a lot of hate letters for this next paragraph but listen to the entire explanation instead of the instinctual debate for most people.
i don't think that abortion should be illegal. i honestly do not think that roe vs. wade should be overturned. i am NOT saying that i agree with most reasons for having an abortion (as the clear majority is out of irresponsibility and not medical purposes). what i am saying is that i don't feel its right to force my opinions and belief system's on other people with the end result being a government punishment if you don't believe or follow my moral belief system.
i am pro-life, if i had it my way i would beg every pregnant mother in the entire united states with an unwanted child to please have the baby and allow me to adopt every single one of them!!! but we do not live in a perfect world and i can not take in the 4,400 children every day.
what i am saying is that i do not believe in the legislation of morality, i do not feel we should rename 'sin's‚ and call them 'laws'. if one wants to turn to religion (regardless of which one) i feel this is done out of the active pursuit of a higher power and NOT out of the rules of the governing body that have backed them into this decision. i want someone to love God out of free will and the overflow of their heart and NOT as a mandatory law established by any ethological corruptible government (see rome/crusades, socialism, communism, etc.).
-estaban
post script: i would like to hear your thoughts.

amendment: to those who comment: realize this is NOT a debate about whether abortion is right or wrong, but whether the legislation of morality is right or wrong.
thank you,
-estaban

Comments

Moe said…
I totally understand where you're coming from with the abortion issue. Just a few years ago I myself was pro-life, but I supported the pro-choice for the same idea that you do. Things are different now though. Check your e-mail, though, for my thoughts on the issue.
And keep on rockin'!
Lindsay said…
I love the way your mind works.
it always seems to challenge my own beliefs and ideas. I love it.

Anyway, as for the abortion issue, I think I could sway either way. I'm against young girls getting them done because they are being foolish and irresponsible. As for other cases, like my grandmother has said, say a girl gets raped and from that man she gets pregnant. I believe she has every right to go and get an abortion. And I remember hearing in my biology class before, my teacher was pregnant and remembers this one couple who were having a baby and they found some health defects I guess when they had an ultrasound done. They headed down to Miami so the wife could get an abortion because they thought a child with health problems would be too difficult for them. Thankfully they prayed about it and changed their mind halfway down to Miami, but even if you find out that there is something wrong with your child, thats no excuse to not give it a chance at life.
MH said…
I definately understand. However, I remain firmly pro-life. Why? Because a life is a life, no matter how small. Life is even classified by law as when the heart begins to be. Abortion occurs after that point. Hence...the destruction of life.

As for defects...to anyone...PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...that is not a reason to consider abortion! Ultrasounds are NOT perfect! My best friend is a wonderful person...and he was supposed to have been born either dead or with down syndrome...and he is healthy and a wonderful person. Every time I hear about someone choosing to end a pregnancy over that, I want to cry, because I think of what might have happened--I'd be without one of the most important people in my life.

We have an innate sense that, as you said, Stephen, murder is wrong. The thing is...that 'embryo' is alive. Getting rid of it is not just removing tissue.
Prich said…
I have been and will always be pro-life, and even though your words questioned my beliefs, I still believe that abortion should be illegal. When the sperm and egg unite, a zygote is formed and the process of life has begun. No matter what stage: zygote, embryo, or fetus, in which by day 25 of pregnancy when the heart begins to beat, is a living human. Is it our right to take the life away from this beautfiul, living creation that won't have a choice to decide his or her fate? No, it shouldn't be our choice. I look at it beyond morality...I look at the same way as if someone shot and killed a 30 year old. No matter what the age is, I don't think people should have the right to take the life of another living person. P.O.D. said it best, "Abortion is murder, there is nothing you can say or do, to justify the fact, that theres a living, breathing baby inside of you."

Either way, I respect you Stephen and the rest of you that post on this tough issue. God Bless.
Anonymous said…
I do understand where you are coming from. However I see this as a life/death issue, as opposed to a moral choice. My grandmother was raped in 1955 and my mother was the result. If abortion had been legal, my mother would have been aborted and I wouldn't have been born. It's very difficult for me to see it as anything other than murder. Ultimately, it doesn't even matter what I think. It matters that God loves these children and it seems like we should do everything we can to save their lives.

Brian
m88 Radio
Couchy said…
The danger in NOT legislating ANY morality is anarchy of course. Regardless of what god somebody does or does not serve, 99.9% of us think some things are always morally wrong and therefore should be always be against the law (stealing for instance?).

In theory though, I want to be with you. I vote Libertarian when I am able for these kinds of reasons.

Keep up the great writing and keep the great music coming!

Mike @ WAYG/WAYK in West Michigan
http://www.way.fm
Kaila said…
I agree with you. I think it is wrong to live in a society like that. Which is why I am happy to be in America. As for the abortion thing. As a 13 year old I believe abortion is absolutely wrong for many reasons. If it's the mother beingirresponsible than that is her fault. But it shouldn't really be illigal because it's the mother's choice. Which is also about that person's belief system as well. Anyways that's all I am going to say. :)

-Kaila
micah said…
Stephen, i totally agree with you. It isn't the government's job to enforce morality onto us, that is our job to distinguish what it just, but of course the government must set up some rules (like what you said about murder). I'm kind of split down the middle about this, but it should be (and ultimately is) up to us to distinguish what is right and wrong in our eyes morally.
-Micah
docwimmer@aol.com
Anonymous said…
I completely agree with much of this... but I think there is a marked difference between forcing religious beliefs on someone and protecting innocent life. Sure, it's better if the person makes the decision to not have an abortion on their own. The same could be said of murder, incest, rape, etc. The government simply needs to draw the line somewhere and protect its citizens and future citizens.
Morgan said…
Interesting... the purpose of government (in my opinion) is to protect its citizen's, whether that be from an outside invader, and inside threat, or at times from themselves. If you believe what the Bible says about the natural heart of man being evil, opposed to God, not seeking after God but after earthly pleasures, then you inevitably come to the conclusion that by God's grace He allows government legislation that does establish some sense of morality for a society, when in today's world the avgerage individual appears to be losing them every moment. The world is not getting any better, and were it not for legislation that protects conservative values, then the obvious end destination of no legislative morality is what we call liberalism. Man is not progressively seeking God, but on the contrary, and that is why morality is being flushed down the toilet. Postmodernism is the dominant religion of today, the belief that if there is absolute Truth, it has to be unknowable. This is why left-wingers seek to abandon legislative morality, and this foundational heresy is the eternal enemy of the clear teaching of the Word of God, the Bible. I understand your thought process, and on the surface it does make sense... but I hope with the understanding the natural sinfulness of man where the clear destination that the abandonment of "legislative morality" would be.
TWHALEN said…
I fear a greater evil than that of legislating morality. I fear the effects of a lazy fundamentalist society that accepts any assumption that comes along as firm Biblical truth. I am a Christian, i live in Kentucky, for me the law is to be a Christian i must be republican, against Calvinism and absolutly furious about gay marriage and abortion. But the south is not alone in accepting assumptions. It is assumed that people from the north are liberal and people from out west don't give a crap about anything. In America today the greatest problem we face is not the laws that show up in the court rooms and law books, but the laws that exists in our minds, the assumptions that drive walls between nieghbors. We assume that our worldview and social norms are truth, that they are the only way it can be, but the fact of the matter is there are 6 billion other people on earth who aren't me, who have their own mind and own motives. My purpose is to tell every single one of them about teh love and hope of Jesus. Now i could spend my life scraing them into it with assumptions. If you don't read your bible God will kill your pets or gays go to hell, or i could choose love, regardless of what they believe. Regardless of if they support issue 221 or voted for John Kerry. I don't care about American political alignment and social norms, life is bigger than that, God is bigger than that. I don't need laws to understand the love and mercy God has shown me, it's not something found in rules and religion, but in a constant uninterrupted relationship.
Lo said…
I agree. Just because I believe in something I dont believe that everyone else has to follow that. I fully fully agree with that post.
Anonymous said…
stephen, you are a genius and i love reading your blogs. i do have to agree with you on this one issue though. i understand that not all morality should become legislation, but abortion is not just based on morals. it's based on whether or not we choose to value the life of these children or not. we can't just refuse to make a law that makes it illegal to murder these babies simply because there are those who believe it is their right to do so. if i wanted to murder a one month old and felt it was my right to do so, i would be thought of as a monster. and rightfully so. i understand that abortion is the product of years of rationalization and people refuse to see an unborn child as a life, but you can't dispute truth.
however, your thoughts do give us many things to think about as far as gay marraige and other controversial topics are concerned.
Moe said…
Alrite...another comment after thinking some more:
Law are based upon values NOT morals. Roe vs. Wade examplifies the value of choice, even freedom. Overturning it would be valuing life (of the child). People try to smoke screen what a law is, but laws are norms, and norms are a part of non-material culture, both written and unwritten. Norms are based on values, not morals. The government isn't saying that abortion is or is not acceptable. But (were they to make it illegal) they WOULD be saying you cannot preform an abortion here because we value human life. NOT you cannot preform an abortion here because we think murder is wrong.
I am with you on this one man. I have held a pretty similar view on the subject for a while and I believe you articulated it beautifully. It is tuff for a christian to stand up and suggest something like this. The ability to deliberate what may or may not be right and wrong for society, while perhaps placing your own views aside in an attempt to remain objective, is not one most posses. I was very happy to read this post as you are someone who has lead me to think indipendantly in the past.
Love.
sj. said…
wow. deep.
sj. said…
I've been thinking about this as well lately and i totally agree.. but there are morality laws and other laws as well.. more often morality laws differ from country to country. Malaysia (where i come from) gives the death penalty for anyone caught trying to carry a certain amount of drugs. On the other hand, there is Australia trying to pass new laws that 'force' people to observe Sunday as the Sabbath (hence not being allowed to work).

i think morality has a lot to deal with the heart and conscience than anything else. but it's true that in the world today, the govt is trying to force their ideas and beliefs and moralities upon others. but perhaps we (as the people) are guilty of allowing them to do so. that's where our votes have played an essential role in determining what laws are passed and aren't.

i'm from a Muslim nation and generally we're given the freedom of religion but slowly i fear that will change. postmodernism is fast becoming THE religion of most western countries but in eastern countries, the governments are trying to quickly shut that idea down.

surely it is fair to begin arguing about the right to choose what you want to believe in but at the same time, with the insanity that is happening in the world today - it's no wonder the government will try to subdue whatever form of free will that we have left.
besides, eventually (as the Bible has stated) we will be forced to choose between Jesus and the Antichrist.

in the wake of all these discussions i can't help but think about the Bible giving us the instruction to subject ourselves to the authority God has given those governing us. we strive for 'freedom' yet is there really 'complete freedom' except for freedom in living in Gods grace?

So much more to write about this. Its all a bit confusing. I need to sit down and digest it all.

About pro-life. you're right, in everyone's heart there is a conscience that tells us murder is wrong. but at the same time, isn't wishing someone dead the same thing?

Blessings man.
Cori said…
Interesting converstation.

I believe that there is a difference between legislating morals ("rules or habits of conduct with reference to standards of right and wrong") or values ("A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.") vs. legilating a religion or theology. As Stephen pointed out, a society completely without morality or values is one that destroys itself. However, I believe that many people have begun to interprate morality as a belief in God (therefore we must follow this certain set of rules) as opposed to a belief that we should have respect for our fellow man. My understanding of the Libertarian viewpoint is that everyone should be free to do as they please as long as they do not bring harm to others. Obviously things like murder, stealing, cheating, rape, etc. negatively affect those around us.

Lately it seems to me that so many Christians I've spoken with see the government as an opportunity to impose (though they wouldn't use that word) Christianity on our nation (and eventually the world). I would ask those people how they would feel about another religion (such as Islam) being legislated in our country. Of course they would never let this happen, but it would be beneficial for them to consider how someone feels when when religion is imposed on them.

I don't believe Jesus intended the "Great Commision" as a command for world domination. Share the Good News with all the world. Show God's Grace and love and compassion. But never force or legislate our beliefs. That just cheapens it to me anyways.

*Cori
Em said…
Allow me to briefly 'Devil's Advocate'. While the stories of people who did not abort are touching, I work in an environment where I meet people everyday that maybe should have terminated their pregnancy. Parents who are childen themselves and cannot organize their own life, much less a dependent's. Parents who have children who are suffering because they cannot manage the child's care. Some people should not have hamsters, much less offspring. And the cycle repeats itself, usually. There is even been solid statistical evidence that supports a coorelation between abortion and a lower crime rate (see: Freakeconomics).

Having a child, or not having a child, is a personal choice. Is adoption wonderful? Yes. Is someone who gets pregnant unmarried in their teens mature enough to make that difficult decision? No--their lack of good decision making has created their problems! Should we create an Ayrian world by 'weeding' through children with birth defects? I would not personally, however, it is difficult and expensive to raise a child with special needs. Are there consequences to abortion? Yes. Are there consequences to having an un-wanted child? Absolutely. Everyone must come before God themself to make these decisions.

How are we going to legislate morality to people who have no revelation? That's ridiculous, and you will only further push them away. Jesus didn't legislate anything--he spoke truth and love, and the broken places in people responded to that compassion.
MH said…
Stephen...I fail to see the difference.

Abortion is not 'legislating morality.' I would not wish anyone to impose a religion on anyone--the most effective way to show anyone God's love is to act it out, not force it or talk until you're blue in the fact. Abortion is destruction of life--is it then, 'legislating morality' to say it's not okay to destroy human life?

This touches a nerve, obviously. It makes me want to cling to my best friend just to make sure that he's still around and his mother did not have an abortion. It makes me want to call a family friend to make sure their down syndrome child is still the light of their life.

Destruction of human life just because it's an inconvenience is NOT okay. That's not 'legistlating morality' anymore than saying it's not okay to murder.

Please--explain to me how it could be any other way. I fail to see it.
Jen said…
I think as a christian taking this stance is the right one. It will be hard to convert people to christianity if the government in place is using it as a way to restrict options and rights. I believe that the christian religion would gain even more resentment if the government overturned roe vs. wade specifically because people would identify the decision with the church. People should start from the beginning by discouraging the decisions that cause unwanted children. You cannot fix the problem with people's general moral code and decision making skills by overhauling one specific thing. To sum it up I guess what I am saying it that this problem cannot be fixed with one swift law change. It is far too complex for that now. I agree with you.
johnC said…
i guess it's just too thought provoking looking at such an issue from just a christian worldview.
whether if it's an issue of legislation, pro-life, imposing a certain belief system, running a country, irresponsibility, post-modernism (and/or post-modernity), etc....
there's probably no end to such thoughts...
at the end of it all, when we strip away all that, we are left with lifes, broken and yet powerful.... making choices...
as for me, i come from Singapore whereby the government emphasis is based on religious harmony. thus, i do share the fustrations of such thoughts and comments on these legislations (in this case, not exactly refering to the particular example or abortion) , but yet, life still goes on... as the christians and churches here continues to seek God's favor in all things and challenges that we face.
Thus, I choose to pray and seek for God's perspective in all things that comes.. the choices that i make, and the roles that i play in my society, so that (like what paul wrote in Corinthians 9)

21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law.
22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

cheers...
johnC
Singapore
megumi said…
if law had not ban murder, i don't think there would be dramatically increasing murderers in the world. it is obviously not because it is illegal that most people don't kill others. not killing someone, loving someone, being nice to someone are not something law or government can control. we do by our own will. so i believe. am i too optimistic?

whereas, in reality it is illegal to kill people, but government allow their people to kill people in other countries. i think once a person becomes a soldier, his/her own morality is being spoiled and hurt, in part because any harsh thing could be justified by the authority. government can modify and manipulate people's morality and make anything legal/illegal as it wants. and i say it is wrong.

i think it is absolutely arrogant and wrong that government has control of people's life. it is also very daugerous. see North Korea, people look as if they lost own individuality. their morality are manipulated by government, or one person. so are their love and hatred. it is absolutely wrong. that country is an extreme case, but any country could go wrong. japan was once wrong and even now i think we haven't yet really get over it.
i am not in a position to say the usa can go that wrong by illigalization of abortion, but it is important for everyone to think from stephen's points of view. not only 'abortion should be/shouldn't be illegal', but 'government should/shouldn't control what a person can/cannot do in his/her own life'.
-megumi
Stephan, your blog shows the very important distinction between a Democracy (a goverment ruled by the majority of the people living within it) or a Theocracy (a government run by God). Many Christians try to pass laws because they are what God said, and that is well and good. However, our democracy is run by what the majority says, not by God.

As a Christian living in a Democracy, God has called me to voice my opinon as part of the democracy. I am also to love those who would fall into a sin that isn't illegal (i.e. abortion). If Christians spent as much time loving women who are considering abortion as they do trying to overturn Roe v Wade, we would be much better off.
Anonymous said…
I'm going to have to agree with mh's comments here. This is NOT "legislating morality".

A common excuse that people who want abortion have is that "A woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body". That's true. But a baby is NOT part of a woman's body-- it's a separate being, from conception! Recent research has shown that.

Look at mh's comments-- best friends of people posting comments here, and even some people posting comments, wouldn't be alive if their parents had gone through with abortion.

Abortion-- no matter what kind or at what stage, is murder. Period. And it should be viewed as such.
Anonymous said…
most people who do not agree with you are doing so based on their opinion of what abortion is - a moral or a value. i agree with you, as we discussed last night. legislating moral values isn't a good thing b/c it's going to be the morals of only a certain set.

to the people who are totally against abortion - you ever notice how much time is spent trying to end abortion legally instead of attacking the problem before it exists? if you educate and instill morals and values in people before they get themselves into a situation where abortion is even considered, the overall amount of abortions will decline. i'm not suggesting to tell kids "go ahead and have sex, just use a condom". discuss things with them. most parents are too scared to do that with their own kids. and that's a shame. parents being afraid to teach their kids right and wrong is a large part of the problems with this world.
Meggios said…
I can see where you're coming from, and encourage all to remember who helped found our country (the plymouth brothern), who also believed in religious freedom. When they were in Europe, they were being persecuted for their religous beliefs, and wanted people to be able to come over to the new world to be free of persecution. So, I guess the question goes back to where we came from as a country and what morals our founders set before us to follow. The other question is, if having abortions were legal, should same sex marriages be recognized as legal? Is same sex marriage also a moral issue like abortions? These are deep questions to think about and to pray about, and I do also encourage all to think about where each one of us should stand on these issues, not to follow what our parents or friends say.
sj. said…
shivers. true story. 'morality' differs everywhere and it really depends on what the founders of a nation established from the beginning. and as for abortion, its true that we should try to address the root of the issue instead of trying to debate on whether abortion should or shouldn't be legalized.
sarah said…
I don't really know if I agree or disagree. Legalization of morality has a certain negative connotation associated with it because the instinct is to say, "The government can't intefere with my personal beliefs". But it seems to me that if there was no "legalization of morality",our society would lean more and more towards relativism, which,in my opinion, is a very dangerous mind-set. Regardless, God is in control, whether something is legal or illegal, and His "good,pleasing and perfect will" will come forth despite the sin of man.
Anonymous said…
It is difficult to discuss whether "the legislation of morality" is right or wrong without going deeply into the abortion issue. I however, will try to not open the entire debate as I present my point, which is very close in line with yours.

In "The Social Contract" Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote on the concept of "the general will." I fully believe in our laws reflecting the community of man/woman and NOT a self-interest. If this is to be true in our US American society which is founded on "freedom" people cannot argue from a personal belief system what a law should or should not be as it affects all, the rich and the POOR.

Closely related to this argument are the words of Jeff Ott. In his book "Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Real War on Terror," he writes, "If we decide as a country to enact laws based on one persons religion" WE WILL CERTAINLY END UP BEING THE TALIBAN."

So no, I do not think abortion, as moral legislation should be enacted. This country and government are not and cannot be a "Christian" government. The First Amendment and our "founding fathers" NEVER wanted this country to be run or laws to be made by ONE RELIGION, which has controlled the abortion issue from day one.

I also do not think the abortion issue is a self-standing issue; therefore, it is not just a question of legislating morality. I believe abortion to be a social issue affected by extraneous factors that should be of major concern to the government.

I believe poverty to be a major concern relational to abortion. If a homeless woman is raped/has sex for money/is struggling to survive/etc, how and why would that unborn child be raised? If there are no opportunities in which that child is being brought into, how can that single mother living in poverty offer anything but perhaps love? And unfortunately, love will not supply 3 meals a day. If the poverty issue is not addressed, which it is not by any means right now, how can abortion be expected to go down?

Overturning Roe v. Wade will not make abortion rates go down; it will only raise the numbers of illegal, unreported abortions. This might be enough for the blind who do not seek to actually improve the situation and factors surrounding abortion, but it is not enough for me, who wishes to see the entire system change for the better.

Better health care. Family. Nutritious food supply. CHOICE. All issues, along with POVERTY being the most influential, that directly impact abortion.

Besides that argument, making abortion illegal to PUNISH "irresponsible WOMEN" is IMMORAL. Wanting and making them "straighten up" by having that child WILL NOT MAKE THE SITUATION BETTER. And what about the father?!?!!? No one ever mentions them, EVER. This cannot be about PUNISHING someone; that is asking for abuse and neglect of that child and mother. Our male-dominated society STILL favors the male in these situations—WHY?!?! I do not understand the how the answer could ever be PUNISHING the WOMAN for being irresponsible. Just because the child grows inside of her and she gives birth to the child, she ALONE cannot be BLAMED. This argument is so blasphemous and it pains me to read it as a due course of action from so many Christian sisters and brothers.

My heart wants these aborted children to be born and reared by a loving family who has more than enough to SUPPORT them. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Pro-Choice is Pro-Life, because it means standing for peace, for family, and AGAINST poverty.

Pro-choice is pro-action.

Never stand idly by.
shypoet83 said…
good post. I have to say that I agree with what you said. Mainly because you know...God doesn't force anyone to do anything...no matter what it is...He won't force you to believe in Him, and He won't point the finger either...I believe that He doesn't like the things we do every day, but He is still a gentleman. I think that He can use every situation for good (*points to self*)...even abortion.
Jen said…
I think you're bringing up a very interesting conversation... I've struggled with the idea of legislating morality for a while. I am very much pro-life, so I always thought without question it should not be legal. But, I don't know if it's being a pessimist, a fatlist, or what... I've basically decided it would stay legal and we should take different measures to discourage abortion.

I do believe that abortion should have restrictions... partial birth, for example, is ridiculous. But perhaps it, and many other things, should not be legislated. Maybe when it comes down to it, instead of being up in arms over legal power, we as the Church should be instead working toward helping people make the right choice... like educating women on the procedures and effects of abortion, supporting crisis pregnancy centers, counseling and support and assistance with adoption, and such. There are many more possiblities that would be more effective.

And this doesn't just include abortion, but many other "moral issues" as well. This is the more Christ-like thing to do, I believe. After all, Jesus certainly did not wield a lot of political influence.

My dilemma is that my conscience really couldn't allow me to vote pro-choice... to vote in a direction I didn't believe in. That's where my struggle with legislating morality lies.

Interesting post though. Now I have something to think about all day. :)

~Jen
RadioY.com, Orlando
Anonymous said…
To the "Anonymous", before my own...

"If a homeless woman is raped/has sex for money/is struggling to survive/etc, how and why would that unborn child be raised?"

Why is this even a question? The "how" factor is not even the issue...it's the "why" factor. Why, you ask, would that unborn child be raised? Simply put: the sanctity of life. "Why" should we give ANYONE a proper and fair chance at life? For the sake of its sanctity, and value...no one seems to even take note of it, anymore. Why should we let the mentally retarded live? There is no logical explanation...they cannot possibly be an ASSET to society, correct? I say again: the sanctity and value of life, the very thing that separates us from the rest of creation.

There is NO WAY you can defend the act of killing an unborn child...no matter what. Even with rape and incest, the child should live? Yes. It's not the fault of the child...and there are ways to find a loving home for him...abortion has simply become a convenience.

In 1857, the Dred Scott case ruled that black people were subhuman, with a 7-2 vote. This meant that they could be property, and the owner would be free to sell them and kill them at will...without it being considered a crime. The south, as we know, supported slavery far more than the North did...their attitude, quite literally, being that "it's fine for you to not do it...but don't try to impose your morality on us". The North, as we all know, did not take this lying down. (And this was eventually overturned...for it is wrong.) Now, if we look at Roe vs. Wade...what does it say? It states that a human, unborn child...is, after all, a non-person. It is the "property" of the mother, and can be killed at will, without it being considered a crime. And the pro-choicers take? "Pro-lifers should not impose their morality on us." This is just as wrong, if not, worse, than the previous case I addressed...this is chaos, if we are so numbed and desensitized to say this is okay.

"What about the unwanted child? What do we do with them?" The world asks; pro-choice says to kill them, pro-life says to give them a chance. Do you see how heinous this thinking is? To kill a child SHOULD NOT be a convenience, ever! No matter WHAT religion you are...it is wrong. This is not legislating morality, or personal views: it is an absolute that cannot be shaken, and is concrete...

Murder (killing an innocent person) is never right.Period.
Anonymous said…
Where should I start? Well...I guess I should say I feel pretty
strongly about this issue because it really hits home for me (This is
the main reason I didn't want to post this in the comment. That and my
opinion is quite...long. I'm a talkative sort of person with lots of
opinions. :-) ). When my mother was four months pregnant with me
she found out that she had developed two tumors (one on each of her
ovaries) the size of grapefruits. The doctor said she had a couple
options. If she left them she would remain in extreme, excruciating
pain. She could have the surgery to remove them, which could possibly
harm, even kill, herself and/or me. She could also choose to abort me,
have the surgery, and then try for another child. As my mother put it,
"How could he expect me to have another child just like you? It's not
possible."
Forgive me if I insult you by quickly defining a few terms. I'm
sure you know what these mean, but in the event we define them
differently, you should probably know how I define them.

Alive means that this being is growing, developing, maturing, and
replacing its own dying cells. It means not being dead.

Human means one of the biological beings who be-longs to the species
Homo Sapiens. Such beings are unique from all other beings in that they
have 46 human chromosomes in every cell. Such beings do not belong to
the rabbit family, the carrot family, etc.

Life means the quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead
organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as
metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation
to the environment originating from within the organism.

I'll be honest...I just copied and pasted that last definition.
Using these definitions, I would definitely consider a fetus at a
given point after conception a human life, as does most of the
scientific community. Now let's talk about equality. These humans,
while still being dependent on their mother, are entitled to as many
rights as their mother. If the baby were outside of the womb, it would
still be dependent on the mother, just in a different way. If the
mother abandoned or killed that child, they would be tried in a court
of law. You pointed out that killing is taboo because of morals, and
we should not impose morals upon people. You go for the "you can"
approach as opposed to the "you cannot" approach. (You and Aristotle
would have gotten along.) At the same time - while allowing the mother
the "you can," your telling the baby "you cannot." Somewhere along the
way you have to draw the line on that if you believe in equality at
all. But this is again imposing equality among people, which may be
something that people don't believe in. I don't have an argument for
this point, other than to say I would make abortion illegal and while
it's unfair to you, that's just too bad. You don't like equality
anyway. :-)
Mothers too should be opposed to abortion for mentality reasons. It's
quite similar to when your mother knows better than you, but you don't
listen to her. In the end you admit that you should've listened to
her. A whooping 96% of women who had an abortion admit that they
regret their decision to do so. In instances of rape and incest (in
which less than 1% of the cases result in a pregnancy), abortion ruins
the women's mentality, leading to more than just regret. The Point:
in the end, it's better to have the child.
Cases of health, however, become completely moral. Similar to my
mom's situation - the operation could have cost her life. Some people
say they don't want a child because it's "deformed" in some way
(deformed implying there is some standard to being human). In which
case my religion steps in and says that the child is a gift from God,
and the God gives you the grace to handle what He gives you, enabling
you to see that gift. From the politically correct standpoint - that
baby is entitled to his life just as much as any other.
Abortion is a very tricky subject. But to me - you are either
pro-choice or pro-life. There is no in between. If you believe in
pro-life, than that is it. That is your morals, and that is where you
stand. To say, well I don't think it should be done that way, but then
allow people to do it that way is kind of hypocritical. Call me an
idealist and idiot, but I will be the voice for the voiceless. If
there's to be any hope for humans, we must what our morals are. That
does not mean they aren't subject to change and it does not mean that
we are a specific religion. It just means that we see life has
something worth standing and living for. That can differ between
people as well, but we have to allow the chance for that to differ.
I'm so thankful that my mother allowed me that chance. And it is my
sincere everyone has that chance.
To set things straight - I do not look down upon anyone who has had an
abortion. I'm sure it was one of the hardest if not the hardest thing
for them to do. And nobody goes in an abortion clinic without thinking.
esteban said…
one of THE best emails i have ever recieved...
"Stephen,
I actually have had this conversation several times in the last few months and heard many thoughts similar to yours.
However, I have actually thought about it further and completely disagree with you. It seems this issue of abortion actually clears it up for me.

There are two main reasons why I disagree with you about legislating morality. 1) Freedom and 2) Consistency.

It seems you are advocating for freedom which you have confused with free will--free will does not necessarily equal freedom. Our free wills have an impact not only on our own lives (whether we live in real freedom personally or in bondage), but our choices/free will also impacts those who are touched in the perimeters of our lives. Our free wills can be used for our good or harm and also for the good or harm of others. Just because we have free will does not mean we advocating for or living in freedom if we are misusing it.

Freedom is being free from bondage. Freedom does not equal exercising one's free will.

What is a free society? One where everyone has "freedom" to make our own choices. Nay. This is anarchy. This does not lead to people's freedom. (It is often invasive of others' personal God-given human rights because of our often sinful nature.) Real freedom is lived within the boundaries of morality. (The law was put in place FOR our freedom and well being!)

This is why we need moral principles on which to build our societies. In case you have forgotten, we are not just smart in this country. Our country was founded on Biblical principles and God's people (Biblically speaking) were governed by laws that were given to them directly by God for the preservation and well being of the people! Laws were given to us FOR our freedom. If we become enslaved to them--that is our own bondage, but lets not forget that without moral law we do not have freedom--we have more chaos, more brokenness, more need.

Now on legislating abortion:
In your post, it seems you are fighting for consistency. You seem to care about consistency. That if we say we are free then people should be able to make our own free choices. That this would at least be consistent. The government should not choose, individuals should have the right to choose. You have chosen abortion as an issue to examine. You do not think it is right to legislate against abortion.

It sounds like you are advocating for freedom (though maybe more appropriately: free will?) which as you also said could create chaos and a society that falls apart (thus the reason for laws in place regarding morality). So if you are advocating for free will/choice then you need to be consistent across the board.
It does not seem consistent to me that you are advocating for people to have rights and freedom (choice) when you personally believe the tissues inside these mothers are babies (people). Unborn people have God-given rights to freedom as well yet are given no choice. See how you are not consistent. You are advocating freedom of choice and advocating taking it away at the same time.

Also to say that some morality should be legislated and some not. This doesn't add up to me.

I am all about consistency. I think if Christian students are allowed to have FCA on their campus then witches should be allowed to have their meetings as well--b/c this is based on a defining principle of the same rights being given to everyone!!!! FREEDOM is the point!!! and CONSISTENCY proves it.

Freedom is the principle on which the American government is founded! And FREEDOM is a Biblical principle! I see traces of this ideology coming out in your post b/c you obviously value free will (which is a separate, but also Biblical principle). In this case, you just missed the fact that morality is required for societies that want to survive and be blessed and freedom is for everyone---not just those who make it out of the birth canal alive.

And FREEDOM itself is my life creed! It is for freedom we've been set free (not for brokenness, not for bondage, not for legalism). We've been freed to really live. So note that God set up boundaries to increase our livelihood and ability to experience freedom instead of bondage and brokenness and... praise God we have a country that recognizes this in most cases--and DOES legislate morality, though we are not currently giving rights to the unborn.

Abortion is not a topic I often debate with people. I'm a proponent of love--all the time love! Loving the unborn. Loving people who choose to abort. Loving the people who are performing the abortions, etc. For me life is all about freedom and love. Love changes people. Love has changed and healed me. And it just so happens that FREEDOM is what I am passionate about."
-constant
Anonymous said…
I do agree with that e-mail for the most part, but one point that needs to be made is that the founders of our nations were deists. The laws are not in any way divinely inspired, nor was our law system built upon some sort of religion. Religion was definetely a part of our founder's lives, but it is the freedom of religion that our founder's included in building our coutry. In fact, the term "seperation of church and state" was penned by the constitution writer, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to the Baptist Church. Christians often think that our laws were originally supported by some hardcore Christians or something, but it's quite the opposite. It was supported by people with political knowledge and common sense who had a dream that people wouldn't base everything off of religion. That is what they left behind in England.
Sasha said…
Oh, I heard someone on Talk Radio the other night that you would absolutely love. I'm going to see if I can remember who it was and e-mail you.

Sasha
Anonymous said…
to the anonymous who brought up slavery:

"In 1857, the Dred Scott case ruled that black people were subhuman, with a 7-2 vote. This meant that they could be property, and the owner would be free to sell them and kill them at will...without it being considered a crime. The south, as we know, supported slavery far more than the North did...their attitude, quite literally, being that "it's fine for you to not do it...but don't try to impose your morality on us". The North, as we all know, did not take this lying down."

if you read your actual history, the north was fine and dandy with this for most of the war. the civil war was about state's rights, not slavery. slavery became an issue later on in the war.

to the anonymous who wrote about jefferson and seperation of church and state:

jefferson was more worried about the state controlling the church than vice versa. the church of england was founded by king henry the 8th b/c the pope wouldn't let him divorce his wife when she didn't birth him a son. he severed ties with the catholic church and founded his own, in which he was the leader of it. when the state rules the church, it can (and usually does) issue religious decrees that support the government. the more power one person wields, the more likely it is that the person will abuse it.

to the anonymous who said that a mentally handicapped person is not ever an asset to society:

i take great offense at that. one of my friends when i was in high school had a mentally handicapped brother. that kid was a delight and touched everyone around him. he would bring smiles to peoples' faces with his great love and care for others. one of the kids i grew up with through middle and high school has a form of autism. the kid is a genious. his handicap has more to do with social norms. he is one of the smartest people i've ever met, and has a photographic memory.
Anonymous said…
I think you hit the heart of the matter... anytime someone is forced to do something, instead of being compelled, you will always run into problems.

I find that there's something wrong with a society that stigmatizes issues like pregnancy. I don't find anything wrong with the person that falls onto such an action as a first resort [well, in some respects I do, but it's society that conforms people to behave in such a way in the first place].

Anyway, I hope you don't get too much hate mail for what you wrote about. I was debating with myself when I was driving to work a few weeks ago about hot-button issues... I think Jesus was more of a modern-day liberal than most of the Christians nowadays. There is no way that Jesus would support higher taxes on the poor, cuts in welfare programs, and enforcement of moralism that many conservatives are touting as the salvation of America nowadays.

Keep up the good writing,

-isaac
Anonymous said…
To the "Anonymous", addressing my statement...

Let's get with the issues. I was not saying that mentally retarded people can't be a light in our lives...at all. I was, actually, trying to make clear how awful the reasoning behind abortion to better society is. Hitler wanted to kill the mentally retarded to do just that. If it's wrong to kill these people, doesn't that say something for how we should view abortion? Is it ever right to kill an innocent person, no matter the reasons(even in an attempt to better society), especially if they can't defend themselves? This is what I was getting at. Also: I apologize if my statements on the war were not completely clear(even though they were indeed correct). Yes, there was a period of time when slavery was not the main factor in the war...(which I admit, I failed to mention) but that did change (hence the Emancipation Proclamation), which I know you reaize. I was not disagreeing with that fact...I was simply trying to say that it DID indeed become an issue. However, I was not writing to debate that matter. I was writing to argue the necessity of stopping abortion, and how that should not be considered legislating morality.

Thank you for you thoughts, anyway.
John said…
Unless you follow relative morality, which is highly inconsistent with Christianity, then you must believe abortion is either wrong, or not wrong. Similarly, drinking is wrong, or not wrong. The difference is that abortion directly hurts (kills even) someone other than yourself.

So I agree with your basic premise, but would suggest that it does not imply that abortion should be legal.
Jacqueline said…
I think you're wrong. In one sentence you state that murder should be illegal for a society to last (which is a legislation of morality) but then you state the murder of unborn children is imposing on a belief system.
I appreciate your journey to becoming a moderate and not "imposing your belief system."
But its not about you.
Its about protecting children from pedifiles, saving lives that have yet to be lived and preventing a traffic accident with a stop sign.
It is easier to run a revolution, Stephen, than a government.

I enjoy reading your blog and though I tend to sometimes disagree, I think you bring up many topics that aren't usually discussed in this particular demographic. Thanks for that.

Jax
esteban said…
my brother's opinion:

'I am kind of in shock. If you would allow, I would like to supplement your argument with some interrelated analysis. I think a logical beginning point is to analyze the purposes of laws and the roots of morality

My opinion:
Laws are for society--this seems obvious.

Morals are for preservation of life-- this takes more thought (although we discussed it in Home Depot one day). The question is "what is good and what is bad." After all isn't that the central question posed when one makes a moral decision?
Long story short, all of our moral beliefs tend to circulate around the preservation of pleasureful life (even if you believe in an afterlife). Think about every moral dilemma you have ever had, it will hinge on this one seemingly simple question (which is actually extremely complex). This question requires a patient, logical, mental analysis that follows your thought trail to the end(s). What are the ends of your choices (life or death) (X's and O's?). So, in my opion morality is simply a matter of our innate programming to survive.


Now, how do we put that up to the abortion issue?:

Question 1:
Will abortion destroy our society?
Probably not. (Insert your opinion here)

Question 1A:
Will abortion destroy life(ie immoral)?
Yes (definition of life here).
Is life sacred etc...

Question 2:
Can we impose morality through laws upon people:
Only if it preserves our society.
Thus, I believe the only way you are going to convince someone (or yourself) that there should be laws against abortion is to convince them that the survival of society is at stake.

Is abortion immoral, I think so. Should we legislate morality? No.'
-paul edward
dreams&tears said…
Stephen,
the issues of abortion and our government have really been on my mind a lot lately. mostly
because of the silent day event, and all the things that sprung out of that.

while i am new to the abortion-issue scene, and i really dont know all, or even close, of
the facts, i am pro life. but i do agree that the problem lies in whether the government
should be able to control it. even a country like ours that claims to be built on the morals
of christianity is not without faults or mistakes.

when push comes to shove, i believe that it is the women's right to decide, and that the
government should not take that right away, but i'd hope and pray that no woman would make
the decision to kill her child, especially not for mere convience.

its really a difficult issue that so many people feel very strongly about, and causes a lot of controversy. but i also think that that doesnt mean that it should be avoided, sometimes
people need to be a bit provoked in order for them to really think through what they believe.
Anonymous said…
Hey Cori and Dutch not German.
I affirm your positions. Both your posts really resonated with me. Thanks! ~sarah
Anonymous said…
but aren't laws in place to protect the human race instead of destroy it?
one of the 'anonymous' posters is right.. we ask for freedom yet aren't consistent.
if there aren't laws in place about abortion being wrong, everyone would perhaps go get an abortion because its convenient. what does it matter if they feel bad about it afterward.
i think its ridiculous to keep demanding freedom to decide whether to abort a child but will not give the same consideration to a suicide bomber.
think about it, shouldn't he have the right to choose whether he wants to sacrifice himself for what he believes is necesary?
either way, both parties think its necesary to kill.. so how come one person has the right to choose and get away with murder and the other doesn't?
just a random thought.
Anonymous said…
(the same anonymous as above)
okay, so maybe that didnt make sense..
i dont know. i think its just a very whacked topic and we could go on forever..
brian anderson said…
my stance on abortion is that of not legislating it. in a perfect world abortion would not exist...but since this world isnt perfect we can strive to make it but will always fall short

as a christian i believe my job is to bring people to Christ and not stop them from having abortions. making a law against abortion only stops the abortion (but does it really do that? people will still have abortions. it will become unsafe for the mother due to no regulations and standards on abortion) and does not bring people to christ. i believe that if someone is brought to christ abortion will end in their lives. (god changes the hearts of those who love him)

i have been intrigued lately by biblical law and american law. and have come to this conclusion. biblical old testament law was only set in place in the time of Christ to bring people to him and then it became irrelevant since you are under the influence of Christ and not law. and American legislation and law does not hold to any higher being or God but holds to the interpretation of the Constitution. yes, our country was founded on the belief of a God, but was it the Christian God? to some yes, but to Thomas Jefferson who was Agnostic it wasnt. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Constitution in which all our law should be held to. And in that constitution it makes clear (ammendment 10)that unless it is outlined that the Federal Government have the power already given to them by the constitution, then that power is given to the people or states respectively. Abortion is only a small issue to be legislated, if the Federal Government made a law banning abortion (which is not possible because each state would have to ratify it because it would have to be an ammendment to be applicable in all 50 states)and the Supreme Court did not find it to be unconstitutional, then i fear that everything could be outlawed. It goes both ways with prayer in school and abortion. To outlaw one is means and reason to outlaw the other, because even though you can interpret the constitution so broadly to allow both to be outlawed, it wouldnt be holding to a strict,literal interpretation as our founders had intended.

i did not edit this for grammar so critisize what i said and not the grammar used.

brian
Anonymous said…
just a quick legal note. if Roe v Wade were to be overturned it would simply give power back to the states to allow their people to choose whether or not they desire abortion to be legalized or not. I'm in favor of a small federal government so for me this is a good ruling based purely on politics, religion aside. I also really liked what the person said about values versus morality. Our laws should reflect our values. That's why our government is representative. WHy even elect people if we're not going to use our values to determine courses of action? What, then should determine our laws? Emily Grace
Sleep Well said…
So then where does it stop? What happens with euthanasia to some is considered moral? Where is the line drawn?
Anonymous said…
I'm a libertarian regarding most issues. I may know something is wrong biblically, but if someone wants to do and it doesn't harm anyone else, that's their decision. It's the church's job to teach morality and help the poor, it is not the government's job to enforce certain moralities and take from one to redistribute to another.

Abortion, however, is different. It harms an innocent child who has no "choice" in the matter. The legalisation of Abortion in the US essentially created a legally protected right for the act of murder and hired murder. Based on this flawed logic, why is illegal to kill a child that was born yesterday vs. a child that will be born tommorrow.

----

There is no way that Jesus would support higher taxes on the poor, cuts in welfare programs, and enforcement of moralism that many conservatives are touting as the salvation of America nowadays.

Keep up the good writing,

-isaac

1:49 AM



Isaac,
do you really believe that Jesus supports having half of a person's income being confiscated by force, with the threat of improsonment or further theft, to be redistributed by others?

Do you also believe that it is righteous to force theft upon your neighbor against his will to pay for things that you and your government think is a great idea?

----

Re Abraham Lincoln:

In his debate with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said:

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in anyway the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

In his letter to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune, dated August 22, 1862, Lincoln said:

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union."

----
Anonymous said…
Well, I realize that this blog is very old, yet I am compelled to voice my opinion and hopefully someone will see it. I myself am totally pro-life. In our society there is punishment for murder, stealing, kidnapping, idenity theft, etc. The problem is because we as humans have free will, these things continue to happen regardless of the punishment or rules against them. No matter what we will and always have done what we want to do, and even if the government did come up with a punishment for abortion, they would still take place. No one can make anyone do what they dont want to do, and God wants us to come to him freely and out of love not because it is a law. Remember Constantine (a Roman Empereor who was a Christian), tried to force people to become Christians or they would be killed, people chose not to and were killed. Or the emperor Nero prior to Constantine who killed Christians but would spare them if they renounced God, well they knew they would die also and still remained Christians. We should not and cannot force anyone else to believe the same way we do, it is impossible because God created us that way. :)
strangelynormalsteph said…
Oh man I know this was posted about 2 years ago, but as I read this, I just have to say...amen! Couldn't have said it better myself Stephen. I'm strongly pro-life as well, but overturning Roe vs. Wade would only lead to more abortions, but this time, they would be occuring in back alleys. I say restrict it and most importantly EDUCATE! Government officials should never underestimate the power of education regarding this issue.
Story of a Girl said…
I love that you shared that. I wish ever Christian could read that. So many Christians vote Republican just because they're supposedly "pro-life" but you're right. People do what they want to do and we should try to force them to do the "right" thing through establishing laws that make you do the "right" thing.
Anonymous said…
Then again, a governments job is to protect its citizens (hence, why murder is wrong). So I do believe government has the obligation to enforce laws to protect its citizens from harm. If one believes that an unborn child is infact a human being, than then the concept of the general rite to abort should be made illegal. But our government doesnt understand what is their place and what's not. For instance, drugs, for the most part, do not harm other individuals so should be left to the decision of that individual. Same with gay marriage. Keep it out of politics regardless of what truth lays behind the matters. So its not a question of intertwining church and state, its a question of harm to individuals in a society. If one believes abortion is harming a person, then they should be in favor of generally illegalizing it and not to confuse that with what an individual has a rite to do or not do to 'themselves'. -James

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