This week, I'm exploring our own American Revolution, largely due to the Iranian Revolution that's unfolding as we speak. I want to address the ideals that the founding father's laid out and determine whether they actually fit with the current state of affairs in our country.
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Yesterday, I decided that the size of a population shouldn't be the determining factor in whether or not the size of the central government grows- in fact, the idea of limited, representative democracy should work with populations no matter how large they grow (score one big point for Jefferson, Adams, and their crew).
Today, I want to address concern number two- are we TOO secular for Representative Democracy and Limited Government.
The argument goes something like this: The founding father may not have been "Christians" and may have wanted a separation of Church/State, but they assumed that people would be receiving moral guidance from some sort of religious entity. Since more and more people are abandoning the church or ignoring their precepts, can we really continue to live under the assumption that the people can make good, moral choices unless we legislating and enforce it?
Thank you "Moral Majority" for bringing this issue to the table...
Actually, this issue is equally a part of the Left and Right. Conservatives have a set of values that cannot stand for two individuals getting married unless they are a man and a woman- they want to legislate this morality. But on the Left, liberals see systemic poverty and climate change as moral issues- and they want to regulate it. Everyone, it seems, is hoping that Washington will legislate morality because as far as they are concerned, no one is doing "the right thing."
If I'm honest with myself, this is the issue that almost throws me over the fence. I've seen the evils that religion can perpetuate, sure- but for the most part, churchgoing folk of all religions are pretty moral people. Now, I'm not saying that my friends who don't attend church aren't good people- in fact, I know more than a few of them that put Christians to shame with their good works- but at the same time, I know that religion is one of the primary sources of morality and therefore abandoning a primary source of morality means that the people either become amoral or end up getting their morality from somewhere else.
That somewhere else often ends up being The State.
Of course, when The State dictates morality- they usually need to expand their influence (and their armed forces) in order to enforce the morality they've legislated. While the church has definitely done this in the past (Crusades, Inquisition), our friends in government almost ALWAYS do. Governments never let go of power- especially not the power to tell people what to do.
This is one reason that the founding fathers set out to create the least amount of government possible- they knew that the government wouldn't "let go" if they were ever in a position of dictating the actions of their citizens.
Part Two- coming to you live this evening!
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Nathan Key likes to think about faith and philosophy and talk about it with others. He lives with his family in New Hampshire. He doesn't always refer to himself in the third person.