Friday, November 6, 2009

The Question of Social Justice and Democracy

We in America "fight" over social justice, as social justice guaruntees what some deem to be "bigger government" and an undermining of self responsibility. Is Democracy to undermine distributive justice? Or does distributive justice undermine democracy? These are questions that have puzzled many and continue to be at the forefront of our "culture wars".

Christians that believe in a literalizing of the Judeo-Christian Scripture believe in upholding distributive justice, as do Democrats. Distributive justice guaruntees education, healthcare, and minimun income. Social justice should be underwritten by "good government".

While these believe in government guarunteeing these rights, others think that civil and political rights should be enough to guaruntee human flourishing. Government should not intervene in the affairs of men, but should only protect civil and political liberties. The individual should govern himself and create a place for himself without government support.But, what is the responsibility of the government toward the young or those who cannot create the "good life" for themselves?

Public education is upheld as a right by most Americans, but lately the homeschool movement has gained ground in education. Parents believe it is their right and duty to educate their young. These homeschooling families believe that government would provide for a secularized education that they find appalling. Do these parents have a right to educate their children? Or does the State have a duty to see that the child recieves a full education, either through mandating what qualifies a parent to educate their child, or through limiting homeschooling altogether. These are issues that breed "culture wars".

Our nation is a religious nation, although we believe in religious freedom, therefore, mandating anything at the federal level is a "red flag" to an American. States in America have the right to legislate how homeschoolers will function, and what requirements will be demanded, if any.

On the heels of homeschooling is the issue of Scripture and the belief of "Creation" and the evolution debate. Evolution has been approved by the eduational community as a value that must be taught in our public schools. But, what of the homeschoolers? Are they to be under this legislation? Does government have a right to protect the education of its young? Or does government have a duty to protect the right of the parent and their duties toward their child?

The conflict over our Greek democratic ideals, and the Jewish/Christian understanding of justice is at issue. Do we limit individual rights or do we limit individual freedoms? Do we believe in freedom of religion, and at what costs, especially in the climate of radicals? Or do we discriminate against religious convictions and on what basis do we determine when to discriminate? Surely, we wouldn't want to discriminate altogether, would we?

The issue of Church and State has been a long and difficult one, but it is the basis of our democratic process and what forms our society's value of diversity. We just don't know where the unity lies...

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