Main Index

Longer Articles:


Anselm's Explanation of the Trinity
How can the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each be God, but not be each other? This is Archbishop Anselm's explanation - the best I've heard so far.

Anselm at Starbucks
A new look at Anselm's argument for the existence of God.

The Divine Inferno
Why the existance of Hell is a demonstration of God's mercy.

1000 Easter Balloons
What if, on Easter Sunday morning, after services, every church in town released yellow balloons?

Scary Meditation
What is the difference between Eastern meditation and Christian meditation?

The Golfer of the Gaps
Have you heard that our God is a "God of the Gaps," only invoked to explain increasingly small gaps in science? Here's that logic applied to golf.

Esther's Japanese Origins
Using the approved "wild extrapolation" method, I've conclusively shown that the Biblical Book of Esther is of Japanese origin.

But I Was Born That Way
When people use this excuse, why do we keep trying to talk them out of it?

Digital Reality
Is reality digital? I couldn't care less, but if it is, maybe that's one point for the theistic view.

Church Economics
It's kind of fun to see companies becoming successful using the kind of financing churches have used for ages.

Legislating Morality
You can't legislate morality! Really? If you can't legislate morality, what can you legislate?

Paganism in Christmas and Easter?
A writer thought I ought to stop celebrating Christmas and Easter. It had pagan origins, he said. So what, I replied.

Shooting the Wounded
In which I launch a diatribe against a phrase I find particularly shallow and offensive.

Evolving Computers
What computers do - or don't - show us about evolution.

Are All Religions the Same?
A Buddhist's view.

You Can't Legislate Morality

It has become virtually an axiom that "you can't legislate morality."

This is wrong. In fact, it's backwards.

In fact, the only legitimate reason for passing any law is that it will result in a positive moral outcome.

Of course, it may not result in a good outcome. It may result in a wicked outcome. Legislators may be influenced by all kinds of evil. Or they may be trying very hard to pass a good law, only to find out later that it was terrible decision. Nevertheless, this does not affect the basic point: The only legitimate reason for passing any law is that it will result in some positive moral outcome.

Even laws that could be otherwise are intended for a moral purpose. For example, in the United States people are required to drive on the right side of the street. We could drive on the left, and it might work perfectly well, but we've standardized on having people drive on the same side of the street because we value human life and we don't want property destroyed, both moral principles.

For some people, it may appear I'm attacking a false foe, because what they're thinking when they say, "You can't legislate morality" is not that laws shouldn't promote the best interests of people, but that, "You can't stop people from having sex."

But I doubt if they really even mean this, for in my experience they don't intend that we should do away with laws against rape or child molestation - both instances of people having sex.

I think what they really mean is that it would be immoral to pass laws against particular kinds of sexual behavior. If I'm right in thinking this is what they mean, then we've come full circle. We're discussing (as we should have been all along) what is right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral, just and unjust.

© Copyright 2000 Brad Haugaard

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13