Should a government legislate morality?


I have had a question for some time now, and have found it difficult to find clear answers in the Scriptures.  I know there are many Old Testament accounts, but as far as a New Testament church, it seems quite muddy to me:  Should a government legislate morality?  I attend a church that has very distinct political beliefs and to be quite honest, it has affected my attendance because of the way I feel when I leave a Bible study.  I believe abortion, homosexuality, greed, and adultery are sins and go against God's will; however, being given free will from God, should a government step in when one's conscience is lacking?  I know that murder, assault, and rape also fall under moral laws, but these acts directly affect the health and rights of others.  It is when the acts hurt only us and our relationship with God that concerns me.  I realize these sins, if accepted, will hurt the church as a whole, but what about living in a free society whose belief system goes against God's will?  Should the government step in and legislate laws that go against God and to what extent?  Remarrying for reasons other than adultery is not acceptable to God, yet our government allows this to occur.  Christians are not lined up on courthouse steps to stop or protest such laws, but for some reason allowing homosexuals to marry or allowing a woman to get an abortion brings them out in droves. Just how far should we Christians go?


Let's use your criteria that governments should only legislate morality when other people are involved. You list out murder, assault, and rape as examples of times when government should get involved. Governments don't regulate hatred, but they do step in when that hatred is displayed in acts of violence, such as assault, battery, killings, etc. Governments don't regulate greed, but they do step in when that greed is displayed in action, such as stealing, extortion, or Ponzi schemes. Therefore, morality is legislated, but only when it is observable.

What about abortion? Is this really just a personal issue, as you indicate? Are there not multiple people involved, including the child who is being killed? The reason Christians talk about such issues and are trying to get the government to change is that innocent lives are being taken for a woman's convenience. Here is an example of government legislating immorality and it has rightly gotten people upset.

What about homosexuality? Again, it involves multiple people and really we should include fornication and adultery as well because they are all variations of sexual sins. It was just over 50 years ago that sexual sins were illegal, but the popularity of these sins has caused the government to back away. Sadly, pressure is being brought to bear on the government to create a mockery of institutions like marriage all in the name of treating sinful behavior as if it wasn't sinful.

Active sin rarely only impacts one person. People are involved, but right now due to the popularity of these sins, people are turning a blind eye to the impact these sins make in society.

Yes, Christians feel they are being pushed too far and are speaking out. Isn't that what our government promotes? Freedom of speech and freedom to disagree with the government peaceably? But regardless of the current government's eager pursuit of popularity, Christians will continue to promote righteousness as defined by God and not man. "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). All belief systems are not the same. There is only one that comes from God and is righteous. It should be expected that churches speak out against sin and institutions that promote sin.

Governments, for the most part, are merely a reflection of the society they govern. Christians are focused on changing society, one person at a time, to following God. They are not directly concerned with governments because their allegiance is to the Kingdom of Christ, which doesn't have national boundaries. "There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:11). However, in changing society they will change government as well.

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