Sunday, November 14, 2004

Religious Decision-Making

A relative of mine told me that it was wrong for a politician to allow his religious beliefs to impact the decision-making process. His logic went like this: If you are elected to represent all the people but you use the religion of a group, you are then representing that group and no longer all the people.

Here’s the problem – people are people.

No one is objective. We all have our own presuppositions and experiences that impact how we think and how we make decisions. To tell someone to ignore who they are and to act as a vanilla automaton is not only silly, it is also impossible to comply.

There’s not a person alive who could take his religion out of his decision-making process. Remember, all people are religious; even the atheist believes.

Here’s another consideration. When you elect a person you elect who they are; you are not electing a person who can simply execute the textbook. Similarly the system uses judges to apply the black and white letters of the law to circumstances.

If you know someone’s character and then they abandon that character for the current direction of opinion polls, they betray the very thing you trusted about them.

And the take away is this: an official elected in a democratic republic represents his constituency as a whole. This can mean that the minority are underrepresented. The US Constitution doesn’t protect the minority opinion from underrepresentation; it protects the minority from no representation. After all: majority rule.

Finally, I’m sick of hearing the misquoted separation of church and state. Yes, it’s a real concept which the courts employ but it is not a constitutional right. Clearly the state cannot coerce the church – that’s right there in the bill of rights, but nowhere is the opposite, saying the church cannot coerce the state.

Considering the evils of a secular polity I want a moral influence.

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