Legislating morality: An Example

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Dale-c, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. Dale-c

    Dale-c
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    Ok, we have had good discussions about legislating morality, here is a particular issue:
    Should there be laws against burning and other ways of desecrating the US flag?

    Is this legislating someone's opinion of morality where they have no business?
     
  2. Archeryaddict

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    the only time a flag should be burned is at a flag retirement cerimony.
    and there is a procedure how it is to be carried out.

    anyone burning a flag in protest to this nation should be dealt with as enemys of this nation.
     
  3. Magnetic Poles

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    If I buy a flag, it is mine to do with as I please. There is no right to not be offended. Burning a flag in protest has been, and rightfully, deemed to be free expression under the First Amendment.
     
  4. KenH

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    You are correct on all points, Magnetic Poles.:thumbs:
     
  5. menageriekeeper

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    Well, since it's my opinion that counts (see the other thread :D ) I say:

    It's a matter of freedom of expression. There should be no more laws against burning the flag than there are for burning books. If it belongs to you and you want to have a quick bon fire, go for it.
     
  6. npetreley

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    What she said. Her opinions are my opinions, assuming I have her permission. ;)
     
  7. StefanM

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    IMO, the only laws against burning a flag should be laws that pertain to public safety. If you burn anything (a flag, a log, etc.) in a way that dangers the public, then you should be stopped. Otherwise, it's free expression.
     
  8. npetreley

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    For what it's worth, it's unconstituional to outlaw burning a flag. But it's also unconstitutional to prohibit Bibles/prayer/etc in schools. People like those on the supreme court "interpret" (read: change) the meaning of the constituion to suit their personal preferences just like people twist the Bible to make it mean what they want it to mean. It seems to be part of the human condition.
     
  9. Dale-c

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    Very true.

    Very true! Hey we agree on something!
     
  10. menageriekeeper

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    Npet has my permission to voice the above opinion. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Amazing when that happens, isn't it? Must be the Holy Spirit which indwells both of us. :)
     
  11. Analgesic

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    Flag burning is perhaps not the best example of legislating morality, since it's prima facie a civil issue, not a moral one.
     
  12. Dale-c

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    But every issue is a moral issue really.
    If it is not morally wrong, then it isn't wrong.

    If there is no moral or Biblical duty to obey it, then it is not wrong to disobey it.
    Remember that Romans 13 says there is no authority but from God.
    So if God has not delegated, then there is no authority for that to be enforced.
     
  13. Alcott

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    It seems so. No one has any business in that kind of "morality."
     
  14. Alcott

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    As to legislating morality, what is legislated that does not come down to morality? Murder, robbery, rape, kidnapping, assault, and other felonies do. It's "immoral" by most people's standards (except where on a personal viewpoint basis 'we' can easily get away with it) to take what doesn't belong to us. So theft of any capacity is immoral, as is lying [fraud, perjury], grabbing a child stranger [molesting], or poisoning someone's well. These examples apply directly to disrespecting another's person or property; but these are moral topics, aren't they?

    So what then of the more 'minor,' less personally-directed laws? Speeding is based on the idea that's it's immoral to increase the risk of traffic mishaps. Indeed, decreasing risk is a morality issue, and its application is seen in laws regarding child restraint seats, burning in city limits, and building codes. In these decreasing risk laws there is not much conflict. But certain other laws which equally, if not more so, are enacted to decrease risks result in controverseys about "freedom" and big bananzas for shysters-- such as curfew laws, and police authority to disburse assemblies, and drug use laws. But all these also come down to one (or more) views of certain morality questions v. one or more others. It's "moral" to decrease risks of injury or property damage... but by how much and in what ways?

    Finally, the more recent historical trends in legislating are at least as much about legislating morals as they have been at any time... because IMO that's all that ever has been legislated. But these 'trends' to which I refer are environmental laws and its many subgroups [industrial waste, use/overuse of certain natural resources, animal rights and habitats], "affirmative action" [whether it's more moral to right the wrongs of the past by privileging the progeny of the wronged, or to treat everyone equally with no excuses], and perhaps most recently to "acomodating" people whose ways or requirements are out of the 'norm'-- the handicapped, "sexual minorities," and certain religious practices. Although these are primarily civil cases, rather than criminal, it's still one (or ore) viewpoint of morality v. others. Is it a 'morality' issue to protect the environment?-- yes. Is it a morality issue to prevent cruelty to animals?-- yes. Is it a morality issue to accomodate Muslim public school students who must (according to their religion) pray at certan times and wash their feet before doing so?-- yes, but these are the kind that become more tedious. Do Christians see Wiccan worship as an immorality?-- obviously that depends, but likely most Bible-believers think so. So then the question becomes whether a Christian majority has the right to outlaw that practice. The Constitution say no-- based on the morality that it's wrong to interfere with the deeply held convictions of others.

    If anything is legislated that does not come down to morals, post what it is.
     
  15. Analgesic

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    Oh, I agree, but when people talk of "legislating morality" they're speaking of the practice of imposing a preconceived moral rule on the population as a whole and not of ensuring that the legislation that exists conforms to Biblical standards of right and wrong.
     
  16. jajordan

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    If we based the argument on simply "freedom of expression" I might agree. But we as a country have decided that there are a few "sacred" things that represent us as a people. We have state flowers, birds, trees, etc. that are illegal to kill, hunt or pick. Would it be "freedom of expression" for me to start "burning" them or would the courts deal with me differently because those state flowers or trees are viewed differently.

    A flag isn't just a piece of cloth. It represents our country and the lives that have been sacrificed to preserve our freedoms. Burning a flag is an act, a behavior, and not a spoken word. Freedom of speech is verbal. Unless one here is willing to support pornography in the same way then we must believe there are some times when limits are acceptable.

    While the court has decided it's "constitutional", it's not the first time the court has decided incorrectly.

    So there. Burn me at the stake. :) I don't claim to be consistent but I feel strongly about burning my flag, the flag of the United States of America. And that flag is more important than the Lady Slipper or any other flower or tree.
     
  17. Alcott

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    Yeah, let's go to an Indian reservation and burn some eagle feathers.
     
  18. Dale-c

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    Be careful to the extent that you take your respect for the flag because it can become an idol.
     
  19. StefanM

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    I am very cognizant of this danger. For this reason, I refuse to pledge allegiance to the American flag when in church. I don't mind pledging in a civil context, but in worship God comes first. There is no second.
     
  20. jajordan

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    Do you really think God says "well, as long as he's not doing it in the building they designate as a place to Worship Me it's not a problem?"

    I'm pretty sure God doesn't see the Pledge of Allegiance as anything other than what it is, an act of respect for your country. Unless you intend it to be an act of worshiping your flag or country (which I wouldn't be advocating), I'm pretty sure it doesn't make any difference where you're doing it.
     

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