Sunday, February 28, 2010

Politics, Religion, Freedom

Since I have been the beneficiary of an Instalanche (thanks, Professor Reynolds) I thought I should try to post something substantive and meaningful. So why not take on the contentious topic of politics and religion.

Some believe that people of faith should not participate in the political sphere, or that those who do should put aside their foundational beliefs when crafting legislation. This is ridiculous, political figures cannot and should not be expected to disregard their basic moral principles upon election.

However, a Mike Huckabee type preference for revising our Constitution to conform it more to Biblical guidelines, is also anathema to our system of constitutional governance. Issues involving ethics and morality, such as the death penalty, same sex marriage, abortion, also exist outside of the framework of religion.

I am wishy-washy on the subject of gay marriage, in that I believe homosexual behavior is a sin as defined by my Christian faith, but it is difficult to argue that same sex couples should be denied the financial and civil benefits of marriage. I also waver on the death penalty, as it has been conclusively demonstrated that our justice system is capable of executing innocent people.

In summary, it is always better for government to have less power, the further it is from the people's direct representation. I believe that cities, counties and states should have the power, through democratically elected representatives, to control those facets of life not directly addressed in the Constitution. I fear the power of a federal Leviathan, whose interest in "health" may eventually claim authority to dictate and interfere with details of our private lives, such as dietary choices, physical fitness, smoking, drinking, BMI, etc. There is a legitimate public interest in controlling sexually transmitted disease, but I don't like public schools describing specific sexual practices. I resent public employees' unions, which seem to exist only to elevate their members above the citizens they supposedly work for. Law, jurisprudence, and governmental authority, whether based on religious or non-religious principles, should always err on the side of increasing, rather than limiting, individual liberties.

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