GENTRY It sometimes seems there ought to be a law limiting the number of new laws. Why do we need to have so many laws on the books, anyway? We have laws telling us how to drive, when to wear our seat belts, not to text while behind the wheel, to mow our yards, to send our children to school, what we can and can’t do with our garbage, and on and on the list goes. It scares me to think what things new laws might try to regulate.
Yes, I know laws are needed in order to prosecute those who commit immoral and hateful acts - one couldn’t even punish a murderer if there was no law against murder. But why do we need so many laws regulating just about every minute aspect of our lives? Yet, it seems new laws are being drafted and adopted almost every day - just in case we’ve missed something and don’t have enough laws already.
I get frustrated by so many of the new laws because they seek to codify what everyone should already know and do just from common sense and decency. Could it be that common sense and decency are becoming extinct?
I keep waiting for someone to outlaw stupidity - but then, again, that could outlaw a lot of law makers, too, so they might be hesitant.
I’ve heard of states requiring the legislature to do away with one old law before it passes another new one. Maybe we could just set a numerical limit - say, 200 and no more. Then, before a new law could be passed, an old law would have to go. Of course, I expect the first law to go would be the law setting a limit on the number of new ones.
I’ve often heard it said that ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law, but even attorneys can’t keep up with all the new laws without pulling out the code books and doing additional study. So how can common folks who must devote their time to other things, like earning a living, not be a bit ignorant when it comes to the volumes of code?
I happen to believe the Bible is right when it says that the law is written for the lawless: “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:9-10).
Those who wish to live responsibly and do what is morally right don’t need to have laws to compel them every step of the way. They wouldn’t even have to be told to keep their yards mowed.
When asked which is the greatest commandment in the law, Jesus responded (Matthew 22:37-40): “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
And, do you know? It’s true. If a person truly loved the LORD God with all his heart and soul, he wouldn’t worship or serve any other gods, misuse God’s name or neglect to set aside time to hear and consider His Word.
And if folks truly loved their neighbors as they loved themselves, children would respect their parents. People wouldn’t harm and kill others; they wouldn’t abuse others sexually; or commit adultery, steal, give false testimony, speak evil of others or even desire what rightfully belongs to another.
Think about it. People would respect other people, their property, their name and their reputation. They would think of others first, and legislation requiring folks to be honest, upright, respectful and fair would be preaching to the choir.
But, take away the genuine love for God and others, and you’ll have to legislate every aspect of people’s lives - and threaten them with fines and punishments - just to get people to do what they would do gladly and willingly without the laws IF they genuinely loved others from the heart.
I guess that’s why we keep needing more laws. People pay little heed to the most important two, or to the Ten Commandments based on those two. And without that, we’ll soon need a law to regulate everything.
Opinion, Pages 5 on 10/07/2009
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