Friday, September 19, 2008

Part One: Moral Imperatives

I generally frown upon making political commentary on my own blog. However, I'm still going to do two of them, but they won't name any names. Sorry. I'll make them as painless as possible.

Society has laws for two reasons. The first is to discourage behavior that is morally wrong, such as murder, kidnapping, embezzling, etc. The second is for the public good. Examples of this are speed limits, taxes, and sanitation laws. See the short video below for another good example.

About a week ago I was looking through headlines and saw something about how a certain politician answered a question about abortion. He had to apologize (don't they all?) because his answer didn't treat the question with much gravity as it deserved. A little further down the page in the article it gave a quote from another politician, who answered the question much more successfully. This politician's religious views state that abortion is flat out wrong, but he supports pro-choice legislation. I was interested to read his answer, which is as follows:

"I'm prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment," [Politician] said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society."

At first I was impressed with the answer and thought it was well thought out and tolerant of others' views. However, there was still something that bothered me. After thinking about it for a few minutes I realized what was putting me off. Aren't our religious beliefs supposed to be those that we hold more dear and sacred? Are we not supposed to stand up for what we believe to be true? Then I wondered what other beliefs this politician would put aside if religious beliefs were so easily cast off. That worries me.

We have a moral imperative to stand up for what we believe to be good and true, as well as to denounce what we believe to be wrong and immoral. If we simply allow things we believe are wrong to enter into our legislation, we allow our society to crumble. What would stop us from becoming like this?

And by the way, a pregnancy is not a choice, it is (except in the case of rape) a consequence of your actions. I know, I've been pregnant twice.


Della Hill said...

I see your point, but I have to disagree somewhat.
We have a separation of church and state for a reason. That is so that our laws that affect everyone will not be governed by the religious beliefs of one person or a group of people.
While lawmakers do need to make laws that maintain a moral society, they also need to make sure that the laws they create do not impose one person's ideal of morality on a group whose ideas are contradictory to that ideal.
So in many cases it can be a catch-22.
Now someone is going to read this and say "Well, what if one person thinks it is morally okay to murder? Do we make laws that allow that so that that person's beliefs will imposed upon?"
Of course not. That is why we have a legislation system that evaluates, discusses, adjusts, rewrites, and votes on laws -hopefully- for the good of the people before they are made.
Unfortunately this is not a perfect system, because we have situations (case in point) where a decision is not definitively reached for years.
(The system is imperfect for other reasons as well, but I'll leave that for another post).
On the case of abortion a final decision may never be reached because many people feel strongly, to a moral extreme about both sides. There is simply not a greater majority on this.
So, by way of conclusion, the politician in point has strong values, and allows his beliefs to guide his life and even his legislative voting, but also does not feel he can in good conscience impose his beliefs about this controversial issue on citizens who may disagree morally. Especially if they might vote for him.
But that's just my two cents. (How's that for a comment?)

Jordan said...

Della, actually I agree with you. I don't want just religion to dictate how our government works because I wouldn't appreciate having to live by someone else's religious beliefs. I guess the point I was trying to make is that we vote for our representatives according to their beliefs (not just the religious ones). When the time comes for them to debate or vote on an issue we want them to keep in line with what they believe or profess to believe. I do think that people should vote according to the values they hold dear, which really should include religious beliefs. I appreciate that we have a partisan government so that ALL sides of an issue can be heard. That protects people who feel differently than I do. My problem with a partisan government is when people stick to the ideals of their party rather than their religion. I think that's wrong. I don't feel like I can trust that particular politician to vote on what he says he believes because I know there is at least one issue where he will not. How's that for a long reply? Thanks for the comment. :)