Tags: Morality | legislation | education | MLK

Heart and Soul Trump Legislation

By Alveda King
Tuesday, 18 Dec 2012 10:47 PM Current | Bio | Archive

It’s often said that society can’t legislate morals, and that hearts can only be changed through a combination of education and religion.

That’s only partly true. While morality itself cannot be legislated, behavior can be. It may be true that the law cannot change the heart, but it can certainly restrain the heartless.

Martin Luther King, Jr. believed that while the law cannot change the heart, it can certainly restrain the heartless.
(AP Photo)
My uncle, Martin Luther King, Jr., reached that conclusion nearly 50 years ago and he spoke about it during a Dec. 18, 1963 address at Western Michigan University, which was titled, “The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture.”

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also,” my uncle said at the time.

In other words, there is a place for executive orders in our government. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation at both the state and federal levels.

My uncle was correct. You can’t legislate morality. You also cannot legislate agape love (total sacrificial, unselfish and unconditional love) or salvation. Yet, until the human heart and soul becomes aligned with the agape love of God, there is a need for laws to regulate unruly behavior.

We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable members of our society — from little babies in the womb, to the sick and elderly. We need just laws to give a voice to those who cannot speak out for themselves.

A heart that isn’t centered in agape love will be able to rationalize behaviors that are often self-centered and have the potential to bring harm to others.

When I was a little girl, my toe once hurt so badly that I found some scissors and convinced myself that the toe had to be cut off.

It is truly a very good thing that my mother rescued me from my own devices. She showed me that all of the pain was coming from a splinter and that the toe did not have to be removed.

Of course I had a screaming fit when my mother took a sterilized needle to my toe.

Adults are prone to the same childish behavior at times. We might choose a harmful path for ourselves only to lash out at the very people who are trying the hardest to help.

This is why human beings need so much help. It will take a God-like love to rescue the American collective, the global community, and each and every individual on this planet — from ourselves.

While we wait for the human hearts of the world to line up with truth and light, we’ll need to rely on laws and legislation in the meantime.

Of course there is an excellent set of laws called the Ten Commandments that some of us are trying to ban from the annals of history. There’s also agape love that can grow in the human heart and soul.

This is the love that trumps laws and legislation. Let’s pray for revival folks!

Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King — Click Here Now.

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It’s often said that society can’t legislate morals, and that hearts can only be changed through a combination of education and religion.

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