Should Religion Be Made Law?
Our legal system should comply with Christian morality.
This statement is likely a Q1 violation if you do not think that you should have to conform to Christian morality, you believe in the separation of church and state, you believe in freedom of religion, or there are some purely religious issues you do not think should be made into law.
This statement is a Q2 violation if you do not think non-Christian religious morality (or the morality of a Christian belief system that disagrees with yours) should be made law, unless you can demonstrate why everyone should agree that Christian morality should dominate.
For the purpose of this discussion I’m going to use the 10 Commandments (10C) as a model of Christian morality because many Christians use it that way themselves.*
If you believe that Christian morality should be made law, you have a number of issues to consider.
- Do you, yourself, follow the 10C? That is, do ever lie, covet, swear, not honor your parents, etc.? And when you do fall short of these commandments, do you believe that you should be subject to criminal prosecution?
- Are all of the commandments legally enforceable? For example, it would be very difficult to force people to believe in the Christian God. It would be close to impossible to catch people violating the 10th (or 9th and 10th, depending on your specific religion) commandment, as coveting is essentially a mental exercise. If you rephrase the commandments for the purposes of only including major, enforceable crimes, then you are no longer making the 10C law — you are creating laws informed by Christian morality.
- As you seek to make the 10C law, whose interpretation of the laws will you follow? There is significant disagreement about what some of the commandments mean. For example, some Christians consider remarrying after divorce to be adultery, praying to saints to be idolatry, or having a birthday party to be worshipping a false god — other Christians disagree. Can you effectively argue that your interpretation is unambiguously correct?
- Are there any groups of Christians whose morality you specifically would not want made into law (e.g., Amish, Christian Scientist, Mormon, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness)?
- Do you want to set precedent for basing laws directly on religion? Would you feel any differently if you did not think that people who agreed with you were the majority in the country?
- Would you object to laws prohibiting things that are considered immoral in non-Christian religions but not in Christianity?
- Do you see any value in people keeping their religious morality but only passing laws against those things that society must guard against, regardless of religious beliefs on the subject?
- Do you think that people who question religion should also question the law?
*Some Christians believe that the 10C does not apply to them as it is part of Jewish law, but even so they generally agree that these are good moral rules (with some disagreement about whether Christians are compelled to keep the sabbath).
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.