Saturday, January 19, 2008

I read the right-wing wack jobs so you don't have to

Okay, I know my postings have been a bit light lately. Especially the past few days, ever since I split my head open playing racquetball. (I was going after the ball, ran into the wall, and, like the song says, "I fought the wall and the wall won.") So I've been moving a little slowly lately, but getting back into it.

Anyway, you probably know the latest from the Huckster. That's right, he's asking you to let him swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, but it's just that our Constitution doesn't sit right with him. Not biblical enough for him. So he wants to change it to make it all godly and stuff.
Apparently his big problem with the other Republican candidates is that they don't want to "amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards". I guess he doesn't like the fact that the only mention of religion in the original body of the constitution is the part where it says there can be no religious test for any public office, and the only mention of religion in the amendments is the part where it says we have freedom of religion, so if you think the biggest problem with our Constitution is that there isn't enough God in it, now you know who to vote for.

But he's not the only religious wack job with these ideas. No sir! Our friend Charity has a page up that she's calling the Carnival of Principled Government. I'm not going to pick a fight with that. It's her page, she gets to call it whatever she wants.

But anyway, I want to mention one of the essays in this carnival, one about the enforcement of morality. Here is the central passage of this paper:
1) A just government enforces God’s moral rules, including rules regarding personal/consensual abuse and immorality.

2) Individuals have a moral obligation to submit to such a government’s rules. To do otherwise is to go against multiple (and divine) moral obligations, including the obligation to submit to a just government.

3) Individuals are not in supreme control over themselves; they are subject to God and his laws. To this extent, government receives authority from both a Scriptural and natural law perspective to intervene in an individual’s decision if he is abrogating his own (or other consenting individual’s) natural rights, including his own pursuit of happiness.

I have a couple of comments here, and I have to say that someone who takes a position like this is pretty scary, at least if he gets power in his hands. Lots of conservatives claim that they're in favor of limited government, but here we have someone who says that a just government has complete power over anything that anyone does that conflicts with god's plan for that person. Of course, you would only make a claim like that if you also thought you knew what god's plan for you and other people is, so you can set yourself up to make those decisions. So if you're this guy, maybe you like Huckleberry's idea that we need to shoehorn god into the Constitution somehow. Then, we have god in the Constitution telling the government what to do, the government telling all of us what god wants us to do, and as long as we all do what god wants us to do nobody gets hurt.

Except it sure doesn't sound like America anymore. I know that conservatives aren't nearly as crazy about the Constitution as they are of the Declaration of Independence, and that really was a revolutionary document for its time, and maybe even for now. Here's what the Declaration says about government authority: That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. So if he's arguing that government is legitimate only if it follows god's plan, regardless of what the people want, then he is explicitly challenging the Founders. I'm afraid I have to side with Thomas Jefferson on this one.

Oh yeah, there is one other thing. Jason, the author of this enforcement of morality essay, presumably thinks he has a pretty good idea of what god wants. After all, he's got this book that tells him what god wants. The problem, though, is that there are a lot of other people who also think they have a pretty good idea of what god wants, because it's in this book they have. Only their book is the Koran, or the Book of Mormon, or Dianetics, and, funnily enough, they don't match. So there are just a couple of problems here. One, do we want the government of the United States to work the same way that the governments of Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or pre-invasion Afghanistan work? I sure don't. Two, if you take Jason's ideas seriously, and if you believe, as he must, that he and his god are right, then doesn't that lead you to conclude that none of those other governments, religions, and gods are, and that it is not only our right but our duty to overthrow them and impose our (oops, I mean god's) will on them?

And how do you distinguish this from the kind of thinking that got us into a bunch of the problems we're facing right now?


Anonymous Charity said...

"It's her page, she gets to call it whatever she wants."

I didn't name the carnival. It was started by the blog Principled Discovery. ( It posts monthly and the host changes, as with most blog carnivals.

This was my first time hosting, but I have contributed before.

January 19, 2008 10:19 PM  
Blogger Leney said...

OOooo, Jack she flamed you back. Watch out now!

Anyhoo. The thing that really scared me about the essay:

"A just government enforces God’s moral rules, including rules regarding personal/consensual abuse and immorality."

That sounds a little bit like rape culture to me. It was a bit of a slap in the face when I read it. "consensual abuse" am I misreading that term, or does that mean what I think it means?

January 21, 2008 8:46 PM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

I don't think you're misreading it. I think they are claiming that humans are oppressed or victimized by sin, even if the sin is something that one does in private and that affects nobody else. In their view, a legitimate (i.e. Christian) government has a valid role in preventing people from being victimized, even by themselves, by sin.

And yes, I agree that it's pretty scary.

January 22, 2008 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Ad-Man said...

Heck, I sure don't want to live under that sort of government. In fact I'm not crazy about our current one. But you know if the gov. started imposing God onto the Godless, I would still make the most of things. Their already imposing war on the peaceful and greed on the selfless. And I try to vote against it and live in spite of it.

January 23, 2008 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel.

March 20, 2008 4:28 AM  
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