Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Consent of the Governed and Religious Freedom

Politics is the domain where we work, play, worship, and live our lives. The political realm is the network of our communities, colleagues, and other social connections. What our political policy and understanding of government that runs the policy is an important one, as it affects all of life.

We are no longer ruled by "the divine right of kings". This is the prinicple of our revolution of England's king to reign over us. Taxation without representation was an important "pivot point" because those who led the revolution felt that all people were created equal under law. That we were not to be a colony, but an independent government. This had/has major implications in understanding faith.

Many fled to America for religious freedom, but finding a place to worship as one saw fit, did not alleviate the need to form a "government'. Church government became a point of contention and led to many dissentions and splits. Some sects thought that the "heretical" should suffer persecution, or worse, death. Those who held such views had not given up on the "divine right of God" and how they understood man's duty toward the "transcendental realm". These believed in a personal God. Believers were not the only ones that made American history, but it was a value that is upheld in our Constitution and the separation of Church and State.

Everyone has an understanding or an "ideal" of what government should "look like" and this is the realm of political discourse. It is the realm of what "should be" and "how it should be accomplished". For the most part, Republicans and Democrats have a different view about what that should look like. Although the political parties have political platforms that formally describe their positions, these positions differ in particular individuals within these parties. Some have even attempted to form a Third Party, but not with much sucess.

Republicans believe in "free market economics" and family values, limited government, etc., while the Democrats believe in social concern in government programs, enlarging government and limiting the free market.

I find that our freedoms politically are the most important value to uphold, as without freedom there is little room for development of individual values, commitments, beliefs, lifestyle, etc. Political freedom is valued by all humans.

The consent of the governed is based on social contract, ethics, human rights, and political freedom. We cannot have morality, or ethical choice apart from political freedom. This very freedom was what some came to our shores to find. Today, Americans have liberty because of the commitment of men and women who were willing to lay their lives down for it. We should do no less!

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