Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Where Do Laws Come From?

               During the last week, we have heard a lot about same sex marriage(SSM), but I wanted to add something that I have not heard anywhere.

               In discussing the subject, many people are ignoring the need for a foundation for laws.  If we do not have a foundation, then laws can be constantly changed at the whim of people, legislature, judges, etc.  A law that seemed just and necessary to one generation can be completely reversed by another generation simply because the new generation has redefined justice.  For example, prior to the second half of the 20th century, abortion was illegal in the United States.  Then, a generation arose that decided the rights of women were more important than the life of an unborn child, so abortion became legal.  The new generation detached abortion from its Judeo-Christian foundation and redefined justice.  Laws against abortion became detached from a true foundation, so it could be changed.  Since laws allowing abortion are not attached to a foundation, it is possible that a new generation could change such laws by simply determining that another value is more important than a woman's right to choose.  Theoretically, a new generation could say that a father's rights are more important than a mother's rights, so a father can decide whether abortion is permissible.  While I don't see this occurring, I am trying to show what has happened, and can happen, when there is no true foundation for law. Laws can change upon the whim of the law-makers.

               So, how does this apply to the same sex marriage debate?  Proponents of SSM claim that SSM should be legal because it is fair and equitable.  They make this claim because it sounds good and is impossible to argue against.  Who can argue against fairness and equality?  Surely, fairness and equality will overrule other values.

               On the other hand, proponents of traditional marriage most often cite the Bible and argue that God intended marriage to be only between a man and a woman.  They have correctly based their law upon an unchanging foundation. 

               However, they have failed to explain the necessity of a foundation.  Even the generally conservative Bill O'Reilly recently said that proponents of traditional marriage can only "thump the Bible" in their arguments and he believes that is not enough to defend traditional marriage.  He is right if there is no true foundation for law.  If biblical principles are simply competing against fairness and equality as acceptable foundations of law, then the Bible will, in this society, lose to fairness and equality.

               Proponents of traditional marriage have failed to explain the necessity for a true foundation for law, so they are losing to the ideas of fairness and equality. 

               Historically, the United States has based its laws upon a Judeo-Christian foundation.  Remember, the Declaration of Independence refers to inalienable rights provided by a Creator.  The Founders were saying that England could not pass laws simply because they wanted to. 
Rather, laws had to be based upon God's law.  Based upon this foundation, marriage has only been allowed between a man and a woman.  This same foundation is the basis of laws against murder, stealing, perjury, etc.  If you abandon the Judeo-Christian foundation, then any law can be changed.

               This may seem far-fetched, but it is not.  In the 1930's, Hitler abandoned the Judea-Christian foundation of law and based laws upon what sounded good to the German people.  He claimed that the world had abused Germany following World War I and that their troubles were caused by the Jews.  Therefore, they could ignore the world's values, such as territorial boundaries, and they cold annihilate all Jews.  This was the result of abandoning a Judeo-Christian foundation for law.
               Following World War II, numerous German military officers were tried for war crimes, such as killing Jews.  German military officers attempted to defend themselves by saying that they were acting in compliance with German laws.  They claimed the world could not convict them when they were obeying their laws.  It would be wrong for the world to impose its values and laws upon Germans who were obeying their laws.  Guess what?  This defense did not work because the German laws were wrong according to the ultimate foundation.

               Proponents of traditional marriage are losing because our society has decided to abandon the Judeo-Christian foundation for laws.  When the foundation if lost, then vague ideas of fairness and equality can win.  But, even those values, without a true foundation, are subject to change at the whim of law-makers.


  1. Of course, some laws need to be changed, regardless of their foundations. Slavery, Jim Crow era, inter-racial marriage, King sovereignty, polygamy, and child labor all leap to mind, but I'm sure there are many others. And many of these were defended on an unchanging foundation, sometimes Biblically. Regardless of someone's opinion on this issue, sometimes change in the law is good, despite it's history or how strong of a foundation has been built.

  2. Unfortunately, many have misinterpreted the Bible to support things that were contrary to God's laws. When laws are contrary to God's laws, then they should be changed. However, that is not the case with SSM.