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November 18, 2008

I ran into an interesting article in the New York Times about Wisconsin. It seems that in Wisconsin a minor can drink in a bar or restaurant if the parent or legal guardian gives consent.

Now some Wisconsin health officials and civic leaders are calling for the state to sober up. A coalition called All-Wisconsin Alcohol Risk Education started a campaign last week to push for tougher drunken driving laws, an increase in screening for alcohol abuse at health clinics and a greater awareness of drinking problems generally.

Recently it has been argued that the legal drinking age should be lowered back to 18. Some argue that the 21 legal limit encourages binge drinking. The only problem would be that Wisconsin with its more tolerant view on the drinking age, a 15 year old could drink in a bar if mom and dad say it is okay, tops the list of binge drinking states. It seems that opening the liquor store at an early age doesn’t slow down binge drinking.

Not only that but Wisconsin is also high on the drunk driving list. Something strange has happened in our culture. The more we throw God out of the public forum the more we depend on the idea of God to guide our moral decisions.

What I mean is that we expect people to be responsible on one hand and yet we want no values to be responsible to. Unfortunately our culture just doesn’t get it. They don’t get you need both.

One of the problems we have run into is the idea that you can’t legislate morality. Without God in the public square you not only can, you must. Without some guiding principle things go down hill quickly.

In a culture that is crashing faster and faster the church must be careful not to be swept away by the waves. We must be more active in our teaching about basic morals. In a relativist culture they aren’t going to get them anywhere else.

No, don’t believe the lie that you can’t legislate morals. Don’t be sucked into the idea that people will make wise choices without them. That isn’t how the story goes.

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