Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Morality, Religion and the Law

I have heard it countless times from Republicans, Democrats, and others: "You can't legislate religion". What they really mean is that you can't legislate morality! If you point this out, you get a shrug, "What's the difference?"

I understand that religion is concerned with what you believe about God and how you worship Him.

Morality is the set of rules by which you live. Morality is based on Natural Law. We must legislate morality or society collapses. If we make laws which are an affront to Natural Law, those laws are unjust and bad for society.

Religion = Morality: Doesn't this go back to the beliefs of some of our country's founding fathers who were Deists? Isn't this idea rooted in American Protestantism? That is: "Religion is good because it brings order to society", not because it is good in and of itself as the worship of God.

Am I wrong about this? Why do I know so many "good Catholics" who equate religion and morality?

This deepset belief that morality equals religion and therefore is part of the so-called 'separation of church and state' (another discussion) results in this type of illogical reasoning:

"We can't legislate religion, it is un-American. But we will say (to get your vote) - and understand, now we are really sticking our necks out: Abortion is the killing of a fetus who is an innocent human being, depriving them of their inalienable rights; unless of course the father of the fetus is a rapist, then the fetus is not a human being at all and has no rights." Makes good sense huh? We can't legislate morality - it would be immoral.

Isn't this just another way of stating this gem from ethics class: "What is true for you may not be true for me"?; or Dick Cheney's recent comment on homosexual marriage: "As long as it does't hurt anyone it should be legal". (Note: not an exact quote).

I am confounded when I get into these discussions because there is no common ground to begin the discussion.

But today we should rejoice that the Mexico City policy remains intact with Mr. Kerry's defeat. We should rejoice that we have at least 2 new US Senators who believe that all abortions are wrong - no exceptions - and are pledged to fight this evil scourge.

Today let us pray for our country, and as always ....

Oremus pro invicem!

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