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To what extent is crime based on morality?

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To what extent is crime based on morality? Lord Justice Denning wrote that, "Ever since the time of Henry I, in order that an act should be punishable, it must be morally blameworthy. It must be a sin." The definition of a sin is a comparatively clear one, and since St Thomas Aquinas, has been regarded as any act against Gods law, and because of the very close association between political structures and religious doctrines, law and morals have had a close relationship. But this is not the end of the argument. How germane is the relationship between crime and our oldest and most orthodox source of morality? We hold property to be very important in our society, not only the acquisition of it, but also the keeping of it once acquired. But in the book of Mathew chapter 19 verse 24, we are tolled that it is "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." ...read more.


Does the crime always meet the public judgement of crime? The complex laws of obscenity and pornography are a further example. If there is a close alliance between crime and moral sentiment, and if we acknowledge that the association is a healthy one, it only seems clear cut in acts that are a menace to the system we support and the rules are set to serve. Murder, and Rape and theft for instance. But societies based on communal ownership, would find our reverence of property rather puzzling, and were does theft stand on the moral scale if a man steals milk to feed his starving infant. The sanction taken against him should reflect the mitigation, but the crime is still theft. A man may perjure him self to protect his family, but the crime is still perjury. So how do we define a crime? It is difficult, but it should, if defined properly, be recognised as one by some formula, and therefore acts that are not crimes may be recognised also. ...read more.


Once the prosecution has started, A cannot just have a change of heart. There is a general principle at stake, that if left unchallenged would place us all in jeopardy. There is a greater wrong being punished than the loss of a video recorder. To steal is morally wrong. But society�s sanction against crime is its self only moral if the crimes are committed with free choice. This makes the sanction just. So laws are not rooted in some common morality, or indeed in any common political or religious foundation, but against a constantly moving social and economic set of conditions. So the test of a crime against immorality may be a helpful one. Some crimes are 'wrong� as in murder or rape and theft, but lying, it may be immoral, but it is not a crime. Many summary offences are crimes, but are they immoral. When we compare adultery to putting your vehicle licence disk on the wrong side of the windscreen the test of morality becomes less helpful. ...read more.

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