Bob Tamasy: Do We Really Need More Laws?

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

When was the last time you heard someone say, “There ought to be a law!” concerning some problem? These days it seems we need more and more laws, to control guns and address escalating violence; restrain people from distracted driving; protect children from all manner of dangers, and many other things that come to mind.

Laws are necessary. If we didn’t have speed limits, what would keep people from driving 100 miles per hour through residential areas? If we didn’t have patents, copyrights and trademark laws, people could steal and capitalize on the hard work of others. If the FDA didn’t monitor food production, how would we know things we buy at the grocery store are safe to consume?

But having laws doesn’t mean those regulations will be obeyed. Some of our largest cities have the most stringent gun laws, yet hundreds die from gun violence there every week. Many states have created legislation prohibiting texting while driving, and yet we often pass someone trying to drive while exchanging texts with friends. Speed limits don’t seem to affect drivers who pass us on 55-mile per hour interstates driving 90 miles an hour or faster.

I have a radical thought: Why don’t we just do a better job of obeying and enforcing the laws we have. And maybe, consider revisiting old laws we’ve cast aside that served humanity well for many centuries.

Take the Ten Commandments, for example. Back in the 1960s, court rulings and legislation began systematically removing all references to God in our public schools and institutions. When I was in school back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, we began each day with a brief reading from the Bible, a short prayer, and I dare say, we might even have made occasional reference to the Ten Commandments. As a result, principals and teachers had to deal with such heinous acts as chewing gum in class, running in the hallways, and throwing spitballs.

Fast forward to today, when certain segments of society have smugly succeeded in eradicating any reference to the Ten Commandments and other biblical teachings, all in the name of political correctness and “tolerance.” Isn’t it scandalous to be taught and reminded of such precepts as “honor your father and mother,” “you shall not murder,” “you shall not steal,” “you shall not give false testimony” (lie), and “do not covet” (harbor envy over other people’s stuff)?

Now nobody worries about gum-chewing, scampering through hallways or tossing harmless wads of paper. Nope, classrooms are in chaos, and even the best-intended teachers find themselves hard-pressed to instruct rebellious students. Drugs, guns, knives and other tools of mayhem are concerns they must confront on a regular basis.

Any teacher worth her or his salt will tell you one of the most effective ways to teach is through repetition. Through consistent review and practice, facts are memorized, principles grasped, and methodologies mastered. Maybe what society needs is an undiluted dose of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, God’s laws that He established not to be restrictive, but for our own good.

True, the “olden days” of education were hardly perfect. Kids got unruly from time to time, stealing wasn’t unheard of, and an occasional fistfight broke out. But we all shared a common sense of right and wrong. When we did wrong, deep down we knew it.

Laws don’t stop bad behavior; they only consciously inform us of what we already know subconsciously. As Romans 5:20 tells us, “The law was added so that the trespass might increase….” If there’s no posted speed limit, for example, and I drive 90 miles an hour down a street, I already have a sense I’m going too fast. But when I see a sign that says “Speed Limit 35,” that confirms it.

Of course, the biggest problem with the Ten Commandments are the first three, stated in Exodus 20:3-7 and Deuteronomy 5:7-11: “I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything…. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God….” These commandments remind us we are to worship and serve the one true God, which irks many of us no end. Who does God think He is, anyway?

But these commandments focus not only on behavior, but also on the condition of our hearts. When someone asked Jesus what He considered the greatest commandment, He replied, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Laws and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

He was saying, in essence, “Do these two things and you’re good to go.” Until then, we can pass all the laws we want, establish ever more stringent regulations, and we’ll still have to deal with human depravity in all of its depths. As Romans 1:28 declares, “since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”

----

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.


"Poverty Mindset" Is Sermon Topic Sunday At Metropolitan Tabernacle Church

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Gary Hathaway To Be In Boxing Match On Saturday

Annual Lutheran Advent Choral Festival Will Be Dec. 2


Metro Tab Church, 2101 West Shepherd Road in Chattanooga, invites the public to join them this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Senior Pastor Dr. Steve Ball will preach from his book "Secrets Of A Giant ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church's Pastor Gary Hathaway will be in a boxing match against Jay Bell on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The match will take place at the Red Bank Boxing Gym, 640 ... (click for more)

The 37th Annual Lutheran Advent Choral Festival will be held on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 822 Belvoir Ave. Savior of the Nations Come is a hymn festival by ... (click for more)


Church

"Poverty Mindset" Is Sermon Topic Sunday At Metropolitan Tabernacle Church

Metro Tab Church, 2101 West Shepherd Road in Chattanooga, invites the public to join them this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Senior Pastor Dr. Steve Ball will preach from his book "Secrets Of A Giant Killer" on the subject of "Poverty Mindset." Music ministry will be led by Rob Alley and Metro Praise. "Children's Pastor Olivia Aziz and the Metro Kidz staff would love to host your kids ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Gary Hathaway To Be In Boxing Match On Saturday

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church's Pastor Gary Hathaway will be in a boxing match against Jay Bell on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The match will take place at the Red Bank Boxing Gym, 640 Morrison Springs Road. Cost for the match is $7, which includes a hot dog and drink. (click for more)

Breaking News

Attorneys Ask Lifting Of Home Confinement For Hazelwood After Higher Court Allows Him To Stay Out During Appeal

Attorneys for former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood are asking Judge Curtis Collier for the lifting of his home confinement after the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said he could remain out during his appeal. In the alternative, the attorneys ask that he be able to leave his Knoxville home between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The motion also requests that Hazelwood be ... (click for more)

State Chooses Not To Proceed With Road Rage Case Against Longtime Talk Show Host Jeff Styles

The state is declining to continue the prosecution of longtime Talk Radio host Jeff Styles in a road rage case. District Attorney Neal Pinkston signed a "no bill" on the aggravated assault charge. Attorney Lee Davis said, " Jeff Styles called 911 after he was shot. He cooperated in the police investigation and testified in court. Jeff has done everything possible to be fully ... (click for more)

Opinion

Ron Littlefield: County Building 2nd Animal Shelter Makes Absolutely No Sense

I do not wish to diminish in any way the excellent work of Humane Society volunteers and staff, but the organization’s ancient physical facilities are another matter entirely. Several years ago Chattanooga suffered a steady stream of withering and well-deserved negative publicity relating to deplorable conditions at the Society’s property near downtown. Some of that bad publicity ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: When Coach Mike Gundy Went Off

Back in late September of 2007, a gutsy Oklahoma State football team had just won a wild 49-46 slugfest against previously unbeaten Texas Tech in Stillwater. In the loser’s locker room, this after OSU’s Zac Peterson drilled a 54-yard TD pass in the waning minute to come from behind, the soon-to-be legend Mike Leach tore his Red Raiders apart. I mean, the man with the lifelong obsession ... (click for more)