My pastor reminds us from time to time of one simple truth when it comes to the making of laws in this country, and that is: “You can’t legislate morality.” And history and this present day society bears out that truth. Prohibition didn’t stop the production and sale of alcohol, and eventually it became legal to produce, distribute, and drink with only minimal restrictions attached for age of consumption and operation of dangerous machinery while under the influence of alcohol. Even then, with laws in place, do some children under the legal age drink alcohol? Of course some do. Do some adults drive under the influence of alcohol? Of course some do. Are there laws against those things? Of course there are, but laws won’t stop people from doing what they shouldn’t do.
Is the use, production, distribution, and possession of heroin, cocaine, crack, etc illegal? Of course they are. Do we have an epidemic in the country of overdoses from heroin and other heavy illegal narcotics? Of course we do. Parents’ photos are popping up on social media sites by police who respond to parents who have overdosed on narcotics while their children are in the back seat of the car, in one instance, and in a restaurant in another instant. There was a story of two parents visiting their child in the hospital and both parents overdosed in their child’s room and only one of them could be revived, the other passed away. It sure is a good thing those drugs are illegal isn’t it.
We act as though this incoming administration holds the answer to fixing the social ills of society. If only conservatives owned both sides of congress and the White House, and if only the judicial system nationwide were slanted toward conservatism, how much better this country would become. That’s what some have proposed and pined for over the last eight years. Well, those wishes, dreams, and prayers may finally be coming true, but with a disappointing result for those who are looking at things the wrong way. Laws won’t stop what we want them to stop.
Let’s take the topic of abortion. Will Roe v Wade ever be overturned. Not likely. It’s been over forty years and there have been so many precedence set that it would be nearly impossible to overturn. Even when Ronald Reagan appointed justices he thought would vote to overturn the abortion decision, the decision stood when Anthony Kennedy (appointed by Reagan) voted in favor of abortion and ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood v Casey in 1992. So even if the people we put in place are conservative, ultra-right wing zealots, there are no guarantees of an outcome that would help establish this country on a more godly path.
Do you think making gay marriage against the law will change the public perception of whether or not gays should marry? No! According to a Pew Research Center study done within the last few years, over 60% of those surveyed believed it was MORALLY acceptable for gays to marry…despite what the Bible says. A law prohibiting gays from marrying won’t change that sentiment, it will only cause society to be hateful toward those who made that law and be sensitive to those who are oppressed by that law. Romans 1:26-28; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13 all clearly state that homosexual acts are an abomination to the Lord, and the Bible makes no room for the homosexual acts to become legitimate and lawful within the context of “marriage.”
Look at the abortion issue again. Over 43% of those polled said it was MORALLY acceptable for people to get an abortion. Exodus 20:13 says it’s wrong to kill. Psalm 139:14 tells us God Himself made us. You want to be responsible for destroying God’s property? I don’t. Here’s a quote from President Reagan: “With me, abortion is not a problem with religion; it’s a problem of the Constitution. I believe that until and unless someone can establish that the unborn child is not a living human being, then that child is already protected by the Constitution, which guarantees life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all of us.” That was in 1984. Over thirty years later, nothing has changed regardless of which faith any of the past presidents have been or what were their individual political affiliations. It’s NOT in their hands.
So here’s where it stands. I don’t drink for moral reasons based on what I believe the Bible teaches on the subject of drinking. I don’t smoke for the same reasons. And the kicker is that both of those things are lawful according to the laws of the land. Still, I don’t use illegal drugs, or rob banks, or set fires, or kill anyone…not because these things are illegal, but because they are morally wrong. This is what I was taught directly from God’s Word and what others have taught me from God’s Word. Even if killing someone because they wronged you were legal in this country, I wouldn’t because it violates God’s moral law.
If you want to see a drop in the social ills of society, it’s going to take a 1:1 approach. God-fearing, Bible believing churches are filled with people who have pasts in these social ills who no longer partake in them because God has granted them a victory over those things. These are the people who should be willing to go 1:1 with another person caught up in immorality and through God’s grace, help them gain the victory over those things. Parents need to start at a VERY early age teaching that prejudices are wrong and that God hates racism or the putting down or elevating up of any people group. God Himself is not a respecter of persons. In the home is where we need to start teaching the morals of God’s Word so that our children are armed with the knowledge of what God says is MORALLY acceptable, and they don’t violate that just because something is lawful in this land.
Stop looking for laws to change believing that will make America great again. Stop looking for elected officials like Donald Trump to establish what is right and wrong. There is only ONE authority who can do that, and that is God. God’s laws are binding and don’t change regardless of what laws are passed in our country. God’s laws are designed to change individuals and make them different on the inside with different goals, and worldviews (2nd Corinthians 5:17). That inner change should lead to an outward change that will attract others out of their darkness, and through salvation, God can make the same changes in that person and perpetuate a never ending cycle. One by one a society can be changed if we work in concert with God, and not erroneously think that our only job is to vote every four years and hope we see the desired outcome.