For decades I have listened to the morally naive declare, “You can’t legislate morality.” It does not take a college education to recognize that every law and every ordinance is a declaration of someone’s moral code. Even a stop sign has a moral reason for its placement.
It occurred to me that I have not heard that old mantra in a some time, yet there seems to be a tidal wave of laws that declare the moral necessity of health care, gun control, “equality,” abortion and immigration. Ironically, the majority of the new laws are coming from those who have been saying you can’t do that!
Either I missed the seismic shift in legislative standards or we have a new “state religion,” justifying the need for laws that reflect the new morality of the state. All the while, most of the Judeo-Christian standards that gave birth to this nation are ridiculed or outlawed.
What is really happening here? I believe as sin abounds, the laws that attempt to control sin equally abound. The unbelieving world does not know that grace abounds as God’s response to man’s sin. Since law is the only tool unbelievers have to deal with sin, they pass more and more laws.
Yet, the laws are very selective. They target the “sin of the day.” If the current social discussion is about mass killings, then a wave of new laws to control guns are put on the table.
Our problems are much greater than guns. A thousand new restrictions on guns will not change one person’s heart. These laws put a band aid on the serious wounds of sin, stopping the bleeding for a only short time. Soon the problem surfaces with a different face.
If we want to discuss the problem of weapons, let’s examine some facts. Every year in the U.S., an average of 31,390 people die from guns, according to The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. That breaks down to 10,950 murders, 19,345 suicides, 730 gun accidents, and 365 deaths due to police intervention. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] reports the number as 31,755 annual deaths.)
On the other hand, the CDC reports 100,000 alcohol related deaths each year. That’s three times the number of deaths by guns. Have you heard any legislative activity that addresses this moral problem?
Alcohol is a much more pervasive problem. So, why is it being ignored? The blind eye to the devastation of alcohol is testimony of the hypocrisy of sin and the greed of corrupt motivations.
According to the CDC, the facts are:
5 percent of all deaths from diseases of the circulatory system are attributed to alcohol.
15 percent of all deaths from diseases of the respiratory system are attributed to alcohol.
30 percent of all deaths from accidents caused by fire and flames are attributed to alcohol.
30 percent of all accidental drownings are attributed to alcohol.
30 percent of all suicides are attributed to alcohol.
40 percent of all deaths due to accidental falls are attributed to alcohol.
45 percent of all deaths in automobile accidents are attributed to alcohol.
60 percent of all homicides are attributed to alcohol.
You see, alcohol is a problem, also. It yields far greater casualties every day. But laws alone will not stop the problem.
Perhaps politicians are frustrated in their search for the cure for man’s sin problem. They are like the circus performer who keeps ten plates spinning at the same time. He moves quickly between each spinning plate to insure they don’t fall. He can’t do it forever, so eventually, they will all fall.
We do not oppose reasonable laws that have the potential to limit accidents, crime, disease or death. We should be addressing problems. Lawlessness is not acceptable. But, why are we making a big deal over some problems, while ignoring more serious issues? We can’t be selective if we are serious about the problem.
I was taken to this scripture passage this week, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, NKJ). God acknowledged man’s problem in the first book of the Bible and gave the solution in the other 65 books of scripture.
While we acknowledge that government has a moral purpose, it is powerless to cure sin. James Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
Government should avoid any attempt to establish a state religion, and work diligently to insure that churches have the freedom to do their work without intimidation. Both the church and the government are essential for balanced social order. We are all equal at the point of complete failure. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, NKJ).
The world is filled with sinners who do not need to be reformed or better educated as a remedy for sin. The gospel is the only hope for sinful man. All Christ followers have the responsibility to faithfully proclaim the grace of God through Jesus Christ to every person of every tribe, tongue and nation.