Legislating Morality: A Trip To The Dentist

Over the years my behavior has gotten me into loads of trouble usually with my parents. Even more my mouth has gotten me into trouble so I usually keep my mouth shut when not invited to speak. Yesterday April had a follow up dentist appointment and I went with her. In the waiting room in a dentist office is most definitely a place to keep to myself. This couple had two very cute children and the kids spoke to me first. I passed the time playing and joking around with them.

Finally April was called in and about ten minutes later the two children were called in simultaneously. The mother took them back and that left just the father, myself and a teenager. I told the man he was lucky to have such a wonderful family. How we got from that to discussing politics and morality, I don’t know but we did. The man made it a point to let me know he was a liberal democrat and that from his perspective on one has the right to tell him how to live his life.

I should have just listened and made it a one sided conversation, but I asked him if he meant there should be no rules, no laws at all? He went further into his beliefs and told me he was a humanist. He believed himself to be the master of his domain and the god of his existence. Believe me, the man said so much more, but what struck me was when he told me he had the right to decide what was moral. He and only he, had the right to determine what was right and what was wrong.

I was half listening to him and half trying to order my thoughts for a question. He was all over the place with his rhetoric. From Christians to Muslims to Republicans to the Tea Party and George Bush. Somehow he even managed to throw Tony Dungy in the mix. Finally when he took a breath, I asked him if I had the same right to think the way he did. “Most certainly!”, was his response.

I thought of something clever to say because I didn’t agree with his thinking even though I agree that he has the right to think what he wants. Before I could respond, the teenage girl interjected herself into the conversation. “So you wouldn’t have a problem if this man decided he had the right to kill your wife and kids when they are finished getting their teeth cleaned”, she asked.

The man turned to the maybe 16 or 17 year old girl and with a look of indignation said in a very course tone, “Of course I would have a problem if this guy (me) touched my family in any way!”

The girl asked, “But you freely admit if he wanted to do it, as the master of his own world, he has the right — and if he had the right lawyer, judge and jury that thought as you do, he might get off without any sort of punishment.” Believe me, what she said was far more eloquent than I worded it.

The man rolled his eyes, crossed his legs and rustled through the stack of magazines and didn’t speak another word. I moved closer to the young lady. I learned her name was Nicole and she was a sophomore at the high school. I shook her hand and thanked her for ending a conversation I didn’t want to be in anyway. She told me she had written a paper on legislating morality. She had been told by her teacher that you cannot legislate morality. She said, “Abortion, rape, theft and murder are all moral issues and were all legislated. Then she left me with a quote. I forgot the exact quote but thanks to the library and the book she used to do some of her research, The Family Under Siege, I found it.

She said our founding fathers built morality into our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I told her I had a blog and asked if she minded if I blogged about this conversation. Obviously she didn’t mind and obviously I didn’t tell her the name of the blog. What do you think about all this. April just laughed and reminded me to keep my mouth shut next time.

Morality is the only thing you can legislate. That’s what legislation is. It is the codification in law of some particular moral concern — generally so that the immorality of a few is not forcibly inflicted on the rest of us.
~ Dr. D. James Kennedy

Galen Sterling-Smith from KVGess’ Blog will be guest blogging on November 6, 2010. Galen is Jelisa’s husband. She was a guest blogger earlier this year and I thought it would be a great idea, since both had blogs, to have Galen guest post as well. He agreed and we will be able to read his post in one week. In the meantime, stop by Galen’s site and check it out.

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  1. #1 by Gally Lines ~ LestISmiteThee.wordpress.com on October 31, 2010 - 11:48 AM

    Very interesting post. He doesn’t sound like a liberal democrat or a humanist at all. He sounds like a libertarian. I think he’s a bit confused. Regardless, we have laws for a reason. If it weren’t for the government finally passing legislation for women, for example, I know my future would be confined to a kitchen.

    • #2 by Tom Baker on October 31, 2010 - 12:27 PM

      If you had heard him, perhaps you would have thought he sounded a bit crazy. Thanks for stopping by again. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  2. #3 by Ava Aston's Muckery on October 30, 2010 - 2:23 PM

    Love the blog, love the quote…gonna find a way to use it on my blog.



    • #4 by Tom Baker on October 30, 2010 - 2:30 PM

      Thank you for coming by Ava. Glad to see new faces. It is a great quote and I’m gonna have to find out who Dr. Kennedy is.

  3. #5 by Cherlyn on October 30, 2010 - 8:29 AM

    An interesting post for sure. I don’t agree with anything that man said – despite being more “liberal” myself, from just point of view standpoint not a political one (I’m very unhappy with all political parties here in Canada). I can’t stand it when people have such a narrow point of view, from either sides of the political spectrum – and while they have every right to think what they do, standing by so stubbornly with their “beliefs” just makes them look idiotic. If someone is too stubborn and arrogant to even consider or openly admit flaws in their political view points, then it just makes them look naive. To say any viewpoint is 100% right or perfect is moronic, because if things were 100% correct, there would be no need for change. Change is what evolves our society, so we should be open to change, to new points of view, because that is what will better humanity. If I was you in that situation, I would have stopped talking to him probably a lot more rudely than I’ll admit, because I don’t like talking to someone so set in their ways. Good for you for at least not getting mad at him lol. And yet again, I’m very proud of the youth for proving that they all aren’t brats getting into careless shenanigans – she sounds like a really great young lady!

    Interesting post Tom :)

    • #6 by Cherlyn on October 30, 2010 - 8:29 AM

      I hope that made sense, I havent had my coffee and my head is mush lol

    • #7 by Tom Baker on October 30, 2010 - 9:53 AM

      She was very interesting and very smart. I wish I had had a camera to take a photo of the receptionists face when the man decided to shut his mouth. Things like this never happen to me. It was like I was in a movie. Weird.

      • #8 by Cherlyn on October 30, 2010 - 1:44 PM

        Well it sounds like you held your own! Sometimes people like that just want to hear the sound of their own voice! lol

  4. #9 by Scent of my heart on October 30, 2010 - 12:41 AM

    Nice post Tom! I like the quote on the end!

    • #10 by Tom Baker on October 30, 2010 - 12:58 AM

      Thanks Blaga, it was a very interesting conversation and the receptionist was smart enough to stay out of it.

      • #11 by Scent of my heart on October 30, 2010 - 12:40 PM

        Well I don’t agree with the guy at all and if I was the receptionist I wouldn’t be able to stay away from the conversation! But you know different people, different views … again good post!

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