Recently, I asked a number of fellow layers a simple question: is the law a reflection of morality or merely a way to organize society? Every single one, from those who are pragmatic, non-philosophical types to those whom I perceive to be deeper thinking, more theologically oriented answered that the law is there to organize society.
That's more than a little disturbing. Law which orders society, but which is divorced from morality is dangerous. A society can be perfectly ordered and extremely well run and do terrible things. Imagine a United States wherein anyone who has not been employed, in a taxable job, for 6 months out of a year is put on probation and if they are not employed for 6 months out of the next year they are executed. It would have several salutary effects. The would be far fewer people on the dole. There would be a strong incentive for people to be productive. Additionally, since people would have a strong incentive to not work under the table, a large portion of the underground economy would surface and be taxed. And all it would take is to kill those among the 13.7 currently unemployed in the U.S. who can't find and keep a job.
I understand the impetus behind the lawyers' thinking. We see the flaws in the legal system day after day after day. Day in and day out, it is difficult seeing morality through imperfect statutes, enforced by less than perfect officers, manipulated by lawyers, and interpreted by flawed judges. It is so much easier to put one's head down and say they are just rules, nothing more and nothing less. The very fact that we see the flaws in the trees leads us to deny that there is a forest.
And yet the forest exists.