Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
President John Adams
We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
President John Adams
Metaxas, Eric. If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (p. 61). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
I used to think that we could not legislate morality, but then someone with a lot clearer thinking then mine set me straight.
If it is wrong to legislate morality then what do we do about laws that protect life? Thou shalt not murder is a moral principle that many of our laws are built around. Why is it illegal to speed? It isn’t because politicians are party poopers (well many are but that is beside the point). It is illegal to drive 100 miles an hour in a residential area because your chances of murdering an innocent person go way up when there are no traffic laws. We have laws that say you must go to school for a certain amount of years before you can practice medicine. The reason for these laws isn’t without reason. It is because when idiots practice medicine the chances of people dying go way up.
Thou shalt not steal is a moral principle, is it wrong to create laws to protect private property?
It turns out that most if not all good laws have a basis in someone’s morality. I am not saying that all Biblical laws should be made into secular law, a law forcing people to worship God would be a bad idea, because forced worship isn’t worship at all, it is acting. The trick is to recognize that personal freedom is a moral principle as well. While we can not divorce morality from the law, we do have to balance the idea of personal freedom, with the protection of others. One can not be free to murder, without taking away an innocent person’s right to live. One can not be free to steal without taking away another person’s right to private property. One can have the freedom not to worship, but they can not have the right of freedom from religion without taking away another person’s right to freedom of religion.