Morality: Do I Have To?

On January 22, 1973, Americans had undoubtedly won a new freedom for themselves. Our nation's Supreme Court decided that a right which the Founding Fathers implicitly included in our Constitution was the right permitting a woman to kill an unborn child. In an age where individual autonomy and rights are paramount, it only seemed right that this archaic yoke of morality should be thrown out with so many others that had already been left to the wayside. However, recent world events have shown that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to let lawyers be the arbiters of morality.

One of the major problems with the Roe v. Wade decision was that it was based upon the mentality that morality can change and evolve, or, even worse, that moral conduct is ambiguous or different for different people or circumstances. Abortion might have been wrong yesterday, but as long as the Supreme Court said it's okay today, then it's okay today. In legalizing abortion, many Americans showed that their mindset toward moral issues was that the only thing stopping them from doing anything was the statutory law and the possibility of punishment. As long as some lawyers got together, heard some testimonies, wrote a few briefs, issued a decision, and said that Americans would no longer go to jail for procuring an abortion, that was reason enough to no longer have qualms about abortion.

In such decision making, there is no regard for the unchanging laws and morality of God, which lawmakers are supposed to uphold and defend. Instead, what one ought and ought not to do is based upon the most current list of statutes. As long as the law gave consent, one was "free" to be the sole agent of one's destiny.

Fast-forward 45 years from Roe v. Wade, and a British judge is sentencing 23-month-old Alfie Evans to die as a prisoner in the Alder Hey Children's Hospital. A good part of the world was in an uproar. "Where is the parent's right to make decisions for their child?", many of them asked. The sad fact is, though, that in a world which opened its arm wide to pro-choice decisions coming from courts all over the world, a decision like this is only natural. In principle, the decision to kill Alfie Evans was no different than Roe v. Wade. The Alfie Evans decision might have been met with more force and resistance, but it was still essentially the same as the Roe v. Wade decision.

The principles at play in both instances are that the courts of the world are the new god, and they have the right to make decisions about morality. The Director of Medical Ethics at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics was bold enough to declare, amidst the tragedy that the Evans parents were living through, that “sometimes, the sad fact is that parents do not know what is best for their child". Apparently, the only safeguard against supposedly underqualified parents are even less qualified judges and ethicists who can't define ethics.

Although many people think that throwing out the law of God will make them freer and happier, that is never the case. The law of God simply does not change, and people will never be happier for trying to change it. The irony of it all is that the "tyranny" of God is there to protect us from the real tyranny of debased human nature that results when we divorce ourselves from the law of God. According to one news site which covered the Alfie Evans incident, the people who have been chanting "my body, my choice" for the last 40 better start chanting "my body, judge's choice." If people had stuck with the notion that God gave them their body, there never would have been this chanting in the first place.

To those who had their eyes open, the last 45 years has taught us a very important lesson. God has given humans beings plenty of freedom—the eternal fate of each individual hangs on his or her own free will, which should be enough freedom to make us quake in our boots. However, the choice of what is wrong and what is right was not meant to be included in those freedoms, since they are the specific domain of God. By imposing laws which we are bound to obey, God was actually setting us up to be free and happy. But step one foot outside those laws, and there is nothing but sadness and death—literally. With much prayer and sacrifice, it is possible for people to change for the better. Unfortunately, if people refuse to change, we can only lie in wait for the next much-needed lesson that the author of the moral law is God.

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