Mark Steckbeck: Morals cannot be imposed by force

February 8, 2014 

Your Feb. 2 Sunday Forum letter-writers forget history when they criticize J. Peder Zane’s argument that governments are horrible purveyors of morals. The founders of this nation were certainly aware of the importance of morality and of virtuous people, both in private and in public life. But they never believed that truth, honor, virtue and morality emanated from government.

Liberty necessitates such personal attributes, but morality imposed by force on others is neither virtuous nor moral. What troubles me about the inaptly named “Moral Monday” protesters is not their protestations, but instead their insistence that their beliefs and morals should be imposed by force on others. “The pursuit of happiness” does not guarantee anyone happiness, only that one can pursue it to the extent they do not impede others from pursuing their happiness. It is immoral to impose on others by force one’s own sense of “morality” in pursuit of their own happiness.

What troubles me more about the protesters, and about the Rev. William Barber in particular, is that charity is first and foremost the responsibility of the church. I’m all for voluntarily helping the deserving poor, but that doesn’t mean the government can or should take on that responsibility.

Mark Steckbeck, Holly Springs

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