The relationship between the law and moral values of the society is very broad and an important issue of discourse, generating different reactions from different individuals. The both concepts may be thought to belong to different classes of knowledge, but the influence of ethical and moral values on the law cannot be overlooked. For some philosophers, the law sets the minimum standard for human behavior while ethics set the maximum standard for human conduct. In anyway, both of them set the society on the path of achieving more good and eschewing evil vices.
The refers to the specialized form of social control familiar in modern, secular, politically organized societies. These laws set the minimum standard for actions in the society and creating barriers to the freewill of man as to promote order within the society. Laws are enforced by the agencies of the state and there are penalties for breaking them.
Morality or ethics is a social burden that seeks to create a perfect society through proper pro-social understanding and behavior. They outline the correct and ideal code of conduct for a society. They are passed down across generations and are subject to change depending on the era. Disobedience to ethical values won’t bring about civil punishments but will attract social disapproval.
MORALITY AND THE LAW
The laws are made by humans to make life easier and promote social good of the society. Since law is not partied in a vacuum and the laws are made by persons who bear moral convictions, the law will surely be influenced by the moral and ethical standards of the society. Laws are a reflection of the moral disposition of any society, hence what is thought to be morally wrong will most likely not become law in that area. However some laws are unaffected by moral values because they lie beyond the reach of moral and ethical values e.g. the cars should ply the left side of the roads.
On issues where the law doesn’t stipulate what are right or wrong, moral and ethical values will likely become the next port of call for answers?
CONFLICTS BETWWEN THE LAW AND MORALITY
In societies, there is bound to be conflicts between morality and the law especially in areas where people of different religions co-exist. Too, the moral and ethical values may look too ideal for a practical world where we live in while the laws deal with realities.
In the case of abortion, ethical values prohibit it’s practice because it intends to kill an unborn baby. However, some laws allow for it because of the health and life of the mother which may be under threat, this scenario was not accounted for by moral standards. Also, some things will look wrong in the eye of the law but on being weighed by moral standards, they are justified e.g. robbing the rich to help the poor.
The inclination of man to being a moral being affects the quality of laws governing the society. The conflict usually arises when morality which seeks for a perfect order is not in consonance with the law that seeks to serve the highest good to greater number of people.