Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It depends which side of the fence you're on

I don't know why I'm in a political mood lately, other than I am reading "The Audacity of Hope" right now. Here's an interesting exercise:
A democratic country in its last election favored the more secular of major political parties. 
The previous election had gone to the party most closely aligned with religious leaders and faith-based governing. Many claimed the election results were a sign that the creator favored the nation; laws based on religious principle were enacted. 
Have you recognized the United States? If the religion were Islam rather than Christianity, and the location the Middle East rather than here, how many people would be up in arms that the country was becoming a theocracy? 
Law and morality can overlap and have much in common, but our laws should be enacted to protect people's individual rights, not enforce the moral values of ANY particular religion. That is the reason we have religions - to help us as parents teach our children our moral values. 
If you can separate legal and moral as concepts, it makes it much easier to see where laws should be applied. Can we take religion out of the law and hope that people use their own judgement in that regard? Can we trust others to act as we would hope? It's amazing how often people live up to our expectations when we expect them to do so.

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