Well, it is 2008, which is a multiple of four, which means that we are in for a presidential election in the good old U.S. of A. this year. In case anybody hadn’t noticed yet.
Presidential elections bring up lots of issues: Taxes, education, Medicare, gay marriage, abortion, national defense, the trade deficit, the weak dollar.
Bill Clinton ran on a slogan (one of a few) that said, “You can’t legislate morality.” That was the stupidest thing I ever heard. I have written about this before, but I really want to make my position clear on this. You can’t legislate anything but morality, or immorality, as the case may be. All legislation, whether it is
how taxes should be spent,
how long a young person is required to attend school,
how fast one should be allowed to drive a car,
what theory of the origin of life should be taught in school
or whether it is legal to distribute birth control to teenagers,
all legislation is based on somebody’s value judgments. Value judgments are what people think is good, and what people think is bad; in other words, what people think is right and what people think is wrong. Therefore, value judgments are based on people’s senses of morality. They have to be. There is no escaping this. All legislation stems from lawmakers’ moral judgments.
Now, you surely can’t legislate a moral heart attitude. That would certainly be the ideal—for people to have an inner desire to do what is good and not to do what is bad. And that you cannot and never will be able to legislate. But you can still tell people that it is unacceptable to kill and steal, and that they are required to pay their taxes, and that there will be consequences for non-compliance. Indeed, you have to do this in order to run a stable society. And it all comes down to morality.
The problem with a democracy, of course, is that the majority is not always right. But then, that all hinges on your definition, or basis, of right. For instance, take abortion. Ann Coulter says, and I am paraphrasing here, that defending abortion is tantamount to defending the right of people to have sex with other people whom they don’t particularly like and whose offspring they do not care to bear, and the corollary right to undo the consequences of such actions when a child is conceived.
She is certainly correct on one level. However, I do not believe that all people who defend abortion see the issue this way. They are not always looking at the sexual participants. There are what I call “moral liberals” (and I use the term somewhat loosely, but I am giving them credit for a certain amount of social concern) who defend abortion because they are tired of seeing babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome and crack addictions, tired of child abuse and child sexual abuse and children who never have a chance to grow up and do anything but perpetuate abuse. And so they defend abortion because they want to lessen the suffering in the world. They really do.
There is a problem with this reasoning, however, a gulf where these thinkers and Christian thinkers will never be able to bridge the gap. The issue is the sovereignty of God.
If you believe in a sovereign God (God who has the right, power, ability and inclination to control the events of life), then you will also believe that you are not the person who has the right to decide who should live and who should die, whose life has hope and whose life is hopeless, what quality of life is worth living and what quality of life is not worth living. You will believe that those decisions are in the hands of God and God alone, and you will refuse to make those decisions yourself, and you will refuse to support others who think they have the right to make such decisions.
If you do not believe in the existence of God, or at least in a God who knows, cares and is involved in the intricate workings of all life, then abortion probably seems like a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you abort an unwanted child?
Anti-abortionists try to reason with atheists based on biblical arguments. You can’t use the Bible to prove something to someone who fundamentally rejects the idea that the Bible is the true revelation of a real and living God. It all comes down to whether or not you believe in God. Is there a God, or is there not, that is the fundamental question. If you can't agree on that, you can't find any common reference point on which to base a rational discussion of morality.
And there you have it. An impasse. A face-off that will never be solved until God comes back to earth, riding on the clouds in His full glory, proving His existence by His awesome presence, the day when the Bible says every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
So what do you do? You hope and pray and wait, and as the majority of society slips farther and farther away from Biblical values, and right and wrong are based on polls and public opinion rather than on truth and God’s Word, you pray for the imminent return of the Lord.
“To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant looks to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He has mercy on us.” Psalm 123:1-2