Watch Aaron in the film Holy Wars

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Clarification on government imposed morality

I want to clarify something I wrote in my post on government and morality. When I say that it is the government's job to impose morality on its citizens, I mean it to the extent of the government's obligation to protect human life and secure basic human rights for all (moral judgments I believe the government does have a right to impose on its citizens) So, if a government rules over a people where the majority or minority of the people believe in ethnic cleansing or killing religious apostates, then the government not only has the right, but the duty (according to the New Testament perspective on the role of government) to secure the right to life and religious freedom for all of its citizens, even if the majority of the people do not want these rights and liberties. This is why I can say that, once a politician recognizes a fetus as an authentic human being, he or she has the obligation to defend that life, howbeit through means which are consistent with the government in place.

When it comes to moral judgments outside of the realm of protecting its citizens and securing basic human liberties, then I agree that these kinds of judgments should reflect the will of the people. Although I do not believe in total democracy (where everyone votes on everything), I do believe that in a representative government (a republic), people have a right to vote for politicians that reflect their moral views-and moral views should not be a priori excluded just because they come from religious conviction.

Bottom line: there are sane limits to the idea that the government should not impose its morality on unwilling citizens. When it comes to protecting human life and securing basic liberties, all governments should strive for these things regardless of what the people want.

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