Christian ethics and morals in our constitution

Overview Bishop is the title of an ecclesiastical dignitary who possesses the fullness of the priesthood to rule a diocese as its chief pastorin due submission to the primacy of the pope. It is of Catholic faith that bishops are of Divine institution. In the hierarchy of order they possess powers superior to those of priests and deacons ; in the hierarchy of jurisdictionby Christ's will, they are appointed for the government of one portion of the faithful of the Churchunder the direction and authority of the sovereign pontiffwho can determine and restrain their powers, but, not annihilate them.

Christian ethics and morals in our constitution

For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: Those who seek to separate morality from law, therefore, are in pursuit both of the impossible and the destructive.


The question before us is never whether or not to legislate morality, but which moral system ought to be made legally binding. The constant or determined repetition of an error does not make it true.


Errors are errors regardless of their prevalence or the persistence of those who advance them. Indeed, given the egregious foolishness of some of our most widespread beliefs in the recent past, the great popularity or predominance of a notion sometimes is enough to raise suspicions about its truthfulness.

The assertion that you cannot legislate morality is just such a notion. No matter how often one hears that you cannot legislate morality, the truth is that you can legislate nothing else.

All laws, whether prescriptive or prohibitive, legislate morality. All laws, regardless of their content or their intent, arise from a system of values, from a belief that some things are right and others wrong, that some things are good and others bad, that some things are better and others worse.

In the formulation and enforcement of law, the question is never whether or not morality will be legislated, but which one. That question is fundamentally important because not all systems of morality are equal. Some are wise, others foolish. Few are still in their first incarnation, nearly all having been enshrined as law at some time or place, often with predictable results.

For better or worse, every piece of legislation touches directly or indirectly on moral issues, or is based on moral judgments and evaluations concerning what it is we want or believe ought to be, what it is we want or believe we ought to produce and preserve. One or more of those belief systems permitted slavery, others did not.

No side in the slavery debate at the Constitutional convention argued that you could not legislate morality. They all recognized that notion as balderdash. They knew that indeed you could legislate morality, and they intended for that legislated morality to be theirs. Morality, after all, is not a church.

They would have laughed at the confusion of mind revealed in one who thought that separating church from state meant separating morality from law.

They wanted the nation to be moral.

Christian ethics and morals in our constitution

They wanted its laws to be just. But they did not want to give any one church a national legal advantage over the others. They did not want the nation to be Presbyterian, Baptist, or Roman Catholic, which is a far different issue from whether or not to have ethics-driven law.

In seeking to avoid a state-established church, they were not thereby establishing secularism or separating law from morality. The very fact that the Founders were creating a new Constitution for their fledgling nation arose because they understood the actions of King George to be morally evil, and politically unjust.

By seeking ordered liberty, the Founders were not seeking anything new or unprecedented in political thought or in political history.

They well knew from reading the ancient words of Aristotle, for example, that morality encoded in civil law helped to provide order, since law inescapably has a teaching function, or pedagogical effect.

Law teaches the citizens what is right and good, and it punishes those who cannot or will not learn that lesson. To make the point from a different angle, when we pass laws that require drivers to drive their vehicles at 20 mph or less in school zones, we do so because we have a value system that rightly puts greater worth in human life than in vehicular speed.

That valuation is a moral judgment. That moral valuation we properly and wisely seek to translate into binding and enforceable law. We punish drivers who do not do as the law requires.

No one, in the face of such proposed legislation, says to the local authorities that those authorities have no right to impose their morality on others, even though that is precisely what such laws do. Much less does anyone seriously argue that to propose such values-laden laws is an effort to tear down the wall of separation between church and state.SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH.


Christian ethics and morals in our constitution


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1. Aims and Methods of Moral Philosophy. The most basic aim of moral philosophy, and so also of the Groundwork, is, in Kant’s view, to “seek out” the foundational principle of a “metaphysics of morals,” which Kant understands as a system of a priori moral principles that apply the CI to human persons in all times and cultures.

Kant pursues this project through the first two chapters. If we are to talk about a possible basis for Christian Ethics we must be clear about what we mean by Christian and what we mean by have already defined Christian in general terms as one who consciously chooses to become a follower of Jesus, that is, to decide to use Jesus' life and teachings as a model for his or her life.

We will now look at ethics to see how it would apply to one.

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