But Who Will Lead Us?
The very first of our Bill of Rights is quite clear about where we are to look for moral authority and guidance even though it doesn't actually get specific. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" secures and guarantees our right to choose our own moral authorities and, by that measure, places the onus upon us, the people, to exercise our free will as the arbiters of our own consciences. Our government's purpose — protecting and defending our civil and human rights — is man-centered and man is not fit to be the source of authority for standards of morality.
The vast majority of Americans find their moral authority in God's own revelation in Scripture and on the surface it might seem logical and fair to use that standard in the application of civil legislation. However — besides the obvious First Amendment issues and the fact that not all Americans are Christian — Christians are a diverse group made up of many different denominations and sects (Roman Catholics, Protestants, Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, Unitarians, Methodists, Christian Scientists, Adventists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.) whose interpretations of the Word of God are greatly varied and sometimes even contradict one another. This subjectiveness makes the Biblical standard impractical for the purpose of civil law but that does not mean that Americans cannot/do not look to God and His Word in matters of morality or that churches cannot/should not impose Biblical standards upon society, only that the state has no place enforcing such standards with civil laws and punishments.
How Can We Be a Moral People Without Civil Deterrents to Sin?
My question has always been, how can we be a moral people when we employ civil "deterrents" to sin as if the conscience God gave us consists of nothing but our fear of the punishments an Earthly authority might impose upon our mortal flesh? How can we be truly free when our right to look to a Higher Power for inspiration to live a moral life is supplanted by secular laws that are intended to hinder our God-given free will? How can we call ourselves moral when we attempt to ban temptation with civil laws rather than finding the spiritual strength to truly resist it?
Well-intentioned but oppressive and reactionary secular laws are usually supported by the ridiculous notion that simply outlawing/banning something will make it go away and/or keep people from doing it. And no matter how many times history and pragmatism demonstrate that this approach is ineffective, impractical and unrealistic, the proponents of it can only deduce from those immemorial lessons that the prescribed consequences were not sufficiently harsh to act as an effective disincentive.