Government and Morals

Here’s a discussion question for today (and totally unrelated to Boo Boo the chicken). Does government have the right to enforce morality?

In Black Jack, Missouri, population 6800, a local ordinance says three people or more people may not live together in a single family home unless they are related by “blood, marriage or adoption”. Olivia Shelltrack and Fondray Loving, unmarried for 13 years and with two children, purchased a single family home and then denied an occupancy permit.

Local officials told the couple that the fact they were not married and had three children, one from Shelltrack’s previous relationship, did not fit the town’s definition of “family”.

The couple were then left with the option of getting married, packing their bags and leaving town, or putting up a fight, which is what they decided to do.

“I think the city wants to send a clear message that they don’t want children born out of wedlock,” Shelltrack told AFP in a phone interview. “It has become a moral issue for them.

After 13 years and two children, they probably ought to just get married, but that’s not the discussion question. Here are discussion questions for today:

  • Should governments enforce morality laws?
  • Does it matter if it’s a small town like Black Jack or a big city like New York?
  • Can the US government enforce moraility?
  • Should other governments like Saudi Arabia or France enforce morality?
  • All laws are basically enforced morality, like murder, theft, embezzlement, trash collection, hazing, slander, etc. How do you choose which laws are permissible to enforce and which ones should not?