- 3 weeks ago
“You can’t legislate morality.” A common, sharp phrase quick on the lips of the modern political student or thinker, it has been an accepted interpretation of the “wall of separation between Church and state.” While normally in such an essay I review both sides of the issue, I will instead this time dedicate the whole to debunking the complete idiocy of such a belief, starting first with the context of the letter, talk about epistemology, provide a case study, and lastly close reviewing the role a church should have politically within its own congregation.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” so reads the beginning of the First Amendment. More conservative interpretations look at the context from which the founders came, and assert ‘religion’ refers to denomination, thus staking the United States as a Christian nation. Others take it for the more literal interpretation, including all types of religion. In either case, it is pretty clear that the government has no role in church regulations, and the government should not be turned into an institution like the Catholic Church. In absolutely no way does this claim to prevent religion from influencing decisions and laws, and much rhetoric and law back then was made off religious values.
The Jeffersonian letter which contains the oft misconstrued phrase “a wall of separation between Church and state,” was a message to the Danbury Baptists affirming the rights of churches not to be infringed by the state. The historical pretext was one of states controlling and manipulating churches for political control, and the initial letter sent by the Danbury Baptists addressed this. “Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals, that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions, [and] that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor,” reads the main concern of the letter. Nowhere in the whole of either the initial letter nor Jefferson’s response is there a remote trace of prevention of religious beliefs from affecting legislation.
As Edmund Burke said, “Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.” To try and divide politics and religion is to attempt to separate men and women from their very core beliefs, tell them to be unbiased in any way, and then set them to legislate freedom and justice. Every human being has an epistemology, a worldview by which they make value judgments. Those who subscribe to a religion are shaped by the values prescribed in it, thereby making ethical judgments through that lens. If one does not hold to a particular religion, they too have values, but base them on other experiences. When examined, the absolute absurdity of the notion of “not legislating morality” should come to light; every law that attempts to promote justice or freedom is in its very root moral. When religious values are attacked and prevented from coming into play, not only do you strip a person of their integral values and commit hypocrisy by not doing so for the secularist, but you also prevent such a person from legislating to the best of their ability.
My case study is the legalization of child pornography. A horrible premise, as most people would agree, however, if we are a society entirely based upon the fact that “you can’t legislate morality,” what would be the point of keeping it illegal? Proponents of “morality” legislation, I would hazard a guess, still would not be keen on legalizing such a horrendous atrocity. The facts, however, dictate that if they hold to their beliefs, they absolutely should advocate for such a legalization, due to the studies done in the Czech Republic, Japan, and Denmark. The Czech Republic, for instance, had a strict ban on all pornographic materials from 1948 – 1989, but in 1990 reversed course legalization all materials, including child pornography. In the following years, the number of reported child sexual abuse cases dropped significantly as well as other sexual abuse cases in general. Pragmatically, we should follow those nations and their laws – yet we, as a nation, have a moral prerogative to ban it, to set a standard of what we don’t condone. If we don’t set this standard, we say that as a nation, in essence, that it is okay if someone wants to view child pornography – and this, to me, is a heinous offense. Under no circumstances should such behavior ever be tolerated, it is perverse, abusive, and deficient of any moral value.
As a small disclaimer, this does not mean I advocate for creating laws “because the Bible said so,” but rather upon a basis of a society held to certain morals. We are not, solely, a Christian nation, but this does not mean we can’t hold to certain ethical standards set therein. Not everyone has to agree with those morals, and as a democracy those voices can and should be heard too – but the basis for their dissent should not solely be that a particular religious view holds the same ideals and standards.
Now that we’ve examined one side of the infamous “wall,” let’s take a look at the other, the responsibility of the church in the realm of politics. Politically, to have particular pastors or congregations support a candidate can generally be helpful for them in appealing to demographics, but many churchgoers are irked by the idea of church being too political. Indeed, there is a danger in such a voyage, and as C.S. Lewis illustrates in Screwtape Letters, we must be careful not to “wrap the cross in a flag.” Danger lies in doing so, as the message of the gospel becomes diluted among political motivations, views, and at its worst can pragmatically alienate potential and existing believers from the church.
Yet, this cannot be a universal rule, as there are times when a church must advocate for a position or stance involved in the political realm. To say they are distinct is to ignore the realities of the extent of the law and to altogether throw out the complete pervasiveness of ethics in all areas of life. Churches need not take a stance on every issue or even back specific candidates, but it is important that they take a stand on certain philosophies regardless if they are or aren’t in contention politically. The sanctity of life, for instance, is the most important issue politically which the church should take a stance on, defending the lives of the unborn. How much their involvement goes into the direct political field should vary, and rests in the specific congregation; if such actions were to divide a congregation beyond repair over needless politicizing, it may not be worth it. But those stances must be held regardless of the political repercussions.
The illustration of the wall is a misnomer; though not as eloquent, Jefferson would have done us a favor to use the term “a semi-permeable membrane between Church and state, with pressure built on the Church side.” If religion and morality has no place in politics, we live in a purely pragmatic society, one in which utilitarianism alone should reign. A nation exists to protect its citizens and their interests, and a moral standard is part of the interests of most citizens. To attempt to diffuse them is to attempt to wrench the core of humanity from those who govern it.
- 1 month ago
"I’m SUCH a 90’s kid"
"You got Captain America on the What Avenger are You? quiz!"
"I don’t listen to that song, it’s too mainstream."
These are some of the symptoms I see of my generation and our obsession with public identity. What I mean by ‘public identity’ is associating oneself with a caricature that is well known in society, whether that’s a trope such as a hipster or 90’s kid or an actual character such as Captain America.
The recent resurgence of BuzzFeed and Zimbio quizzes being posted on social media left and right harasses my soul! While it’s fun every now and then to do one for a favorite show or series, the constant bombardment and frequency I see people taking these makes me wonder: why is our generation SO obsessed with publicly identifying who they are? Why aren’t we content with acting as we will and letting our actions show who we are?
As an extremely nerdy metaphor, imagine our generation as a single person playing Dungeons and Dragons (Yes, I’m going there.). Instead of role-playing, acting, conversing and developing their character with the other party members, our generation constantly says, “Well I’m a Chaotic Neutral, therefore I’ll do this!” Instead of making this attribute be reflected in how they behave, they constantly seek to fit the paradigm or proclaim it.
It’s odd, to me, that in a generation of such self obsessed tendencies we seek to establish who we are with defined lines. Everybody wants to be “this guy” or “that type.” Perhaps it’s from a deep rooted insecurity; while we loudly proclaim “I AM AN INDIVIDUAL, I WILL DO AS I PLEASE!” we are simultaneously afraid of what people will think, and therefore continue our proclamations with, “I’M THIS TYPE! THAT’S WHAT I AM NATURALLY!” We aren’t okay with who we are, but want to be perceived as naturally this or that way.
Remember, it’s okay to have heroes, to strive for ideals, or to seek the embodiment of a characteristic. This, however, doesn’t warrant our declaration every three minutes that “this is who I am,” rather let yourself show that to people by how you act. And remember, even if you really want to be Captain America, but in being yourself you aren’t giving that impression, it’s OKAY. Being YOU can be a good thing too.
Now you techie, don’t be in denial,
The computer is often a trial.
If it’s starting to lag,
You can try a defrag,
Oh, but frankly resistance is futile.
Log off now! Power down! I’m not twitting!
Or you’ll sweat when your programs start quitting.
Send the error report, but it’s useless in short-
For the problem is most unremitting.
Just delete all your files and folders;
Bury desktop and all under boulders.
Live your life without tech, all it’s been is a wreck,
And a burden shall lift from your shoulders.
First of all, I’m a huge supporter of State’s rights. This, however, isn’t enough for me to justify WA passing a marijuana legalization bill.
While I feel more often than not a sweeping federal law is better replaced by State laws, the drug scene is difficult. While proponents for legalizing drugs cite ending the drug war as a major plus, the problem with a solitary State legalizing one drug is that it barely affects the drug war, and only allows mainline distribution of marijuana.
A federal sweep would be a different issue, though I’m not sure I could support it completely either.
My thoughts, surmised, on the immigration reform bill which just passed the Senate.
First: The bill won’t pass in the House of Reps. No way. The Republican Majority would have to lose 49 votes, assuming every Democrat votes yes (which isn’t unlikely, but still). While there may be RINOs (Republican In Name Only) in the House, I doubt there’s enough to shift the tide.
Second: The Senate bill could have gotten full support, but they shot down any efforts to be able to control what was enacted. While it is championed as a ‘bipartisan’ bill, the truth is that the Republicans who voted yes probably did so for the vote support. The 32 who were against called for a responsible way to ensure the border is secure. As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had proposed an amendment, this would look something like Congress voting on the security of the border, and if needed adding reinforcement. With the POTUS currently saying the border is secure, his judgement alone isn’t sufficient.
Third: In it’s current state, I see no reason how this bill could help anything. It seems to me, a facade. Sure, it gives a path to amnesty, but it limits work visas. The work visa was one of the most compelling reasons to cross the border legally, and now that the number is limited, getting amnesty through illegally crossing looks like a better option every day.
I’m for immigration reform, but giving out citizenship as a reward for illegal actions is questionable. Perhaps if we were able to curtail our problem, allow a healthy influx of legal immigrants, then we could allow amnesty to those illegals who are already in the country. I don’t think we should abandon people by any means, illegal immigrant or not people are equally valuable. But whether or not we are a nation which encourages legal and responsible behavior, or not, is in question when we reward breaking the rules.
- 12 months ago
For those that don’t know me, I’m the derp behind ask Nack the Weasel, ask K.K. Slider, toothylittlebastard and one or two others. I mostly seem to be known for my Sonic and Animal Crossing related art.
I recently had a ton of money stolen and at the same time, a bunch of bills popped up. Bottom line is I don’t know if I can afford to eat or pay rent, and there’s a chance the water company will cut us off too. This really sucks so I’m opening up commissions to try and raise some cash.
My main art blog (tw: g o r e heavy)
Any help at all will be much appreciated! If you can’t afford to buy one yourself then perhaps you would be kind enough to boost this around a bit for me. I will be extremely grateful to anyone that can help out in any way at all.
Thanks for reading.
(via sonikkukku)Source: plasticdynasty
- 1 year ago
A Vindication of the Responsibilities of Men
After contemplating the historic roles of men in society, a sense of embarrassment and shame comes across every fiber of my being when I consider what men have become. Upon viewing countless films, reading countless books, and hearing countless messages from our culture today, a consistently recurring theme can be found: that men and women are no different, and as such should have no differences in duties. This has resulted in raising up a crop of spineless males who dither about in indecisiveness and refuse to take up the mantle of maturity, preferring to keep to their childish ways. For centuries, men were as giant redwoods, growing tall to protect those for whom they were responsible, but now they are strangled from birth, choked by the weeds of societal messages affirming their absolute individuality, assuring they answer to none but themselves. As now I look about at my fellow men, I see a weakened breed, lurking in the mires of self-pleasure and reliance on others.
The major player in instituting this absurd degradation, I feel, is a feminism gone haywire. A movement with fair and noble beginnings, it all too quickly gathered more momentum and power than was healthy, and began to steamroll past the boundaries of equality. While it may be true that it has only continued because the sexist discrimination continues to some degree, we must consider that we humans are imperfect, and most every imperfection will exist to some degree. Now due to this extended growth, the ugly head of feminism has torn apart the social norms of men, trampled any sense of differentiation of roles, and left in the dust a sense of chivalry. Any sign of men taking the lead is met with scoffs, distaste, and mistrust, and any women who is subdued respectfully to her husband is jeered and scorned.
This is not, however, to say that I decry the leadership of women, nor do call for a halt of equality measures. Often my views will be chastised and dismissed by this point, and so I shall take an effort to address it as clearly as I can. The equality of men and women is something I endorse, but equality does not mean equivalency. To fairly treat women, not to discriminate, and to realize their full potential, this is admirable, but to blindly say that there are no basis for finding differences between the sexes is an obstinate view. In the work of nature, women since the beginning of time have had a keen instinct for nurturing their youth, and just so men have had the duty to protect and lead. By no means am I calling for a subduing of women once more, but only that we give proper respect to the roles with which they are naturally aligned.
In ignoring these natural virtues, we have come to idolize the all-encompassing doctrine of complete tolerance, essentially saying that a man who whimpers at the slightest adversity is as justified in his response as that man who takes a stand. And see how eager modern men are to accept this! For the natural born desires are ones of laziness and selfishness, and the unlearned man would much rather cultivate these than learn to grow and mature. We are given ideals in males who are bashful, emotional, and all-around uninspiring, and therefore we justify our own shortcomings.
No, I say this is not acceptable. Men must learn to once more take a stand, become the leaders of our generation. This unabashed call to mediocrity deadens our society, leading to a chaotic collapse of established order. To prevent this is my call, and to exceed those heroes of our past. When I call men to once more lead, I expect more of us than those heroes of ancient days. Do not mistake my rally as that of one which merely calls for the pure saturation of masculinity, but rather one who encompasses all that is noble. Build up the strength of Hercules, but also the cunning of Odysseus, the bravery of Sampson but also the Wisdom of Solomon. Once more lead your families with honor, strength, and fairness, for leadership is not pigheadedness, but fortitude, courage, and humanity.
This is a charge to earn back our respect, not petition for it. We must prove that we, as men, are worthy to be leaders, not to forcefully become boorish dictators. Respect the rights of women, and they will acknowledge the role of men. As you discard the idealized overemotional man, do not mistake this as a departure from sensitivity, but rather a re-prioritized role of emotion. Hold empathy and emotion close to your heart, but let wisdom guide your steps; serve others before yourself, but never lose self-respect.
- 1 year ago
Anthony Robbins is attributed with saying, “The way we communicate with ourselves and others determines the quality of our lives.” One of the first means by which our life quality is determined is relationships with others. For most people, joy in life is being able to share experiences, ultimately sharing your life with someone special. If we start cutting corners in our communications with those around us, the quality of those relationships will suffer.
If you couldn’t guess by the title, one of the main offenders is the advent of text messaging. Now don’t get me wrong, I text, and I do so frequently. Just last month I sent/received 3,219 texts, which is quite a bit lower than my usual. In fact, with only being three days into the billing month, I’ve already accumulated 804 texts. So, as I said, I’m an avid text user, and I think texting has wonderful uses and its proper place. That being said, it is way too emphasized in the modern person’s usage. Hardly any people I know call for chats anymore (which, depending on the person can be a good thing!) and texting has instead become king of casual converse. In some ways it’s more convenient, less awkward, and fun, but the detrimental effect it has, particularly on those in relationships is severe.
First of all, examine the pre-relationship teenage guy. Before the marvel of the telephone, if a guy had his eye on a girl, he had to muster up the courage to speak to her face to face. Fast forward to the telephone, and he could hide behind a telephone, but he still had to hear her voice, respond, react, and still convey many non-verbals. Today, all he must do is simply tap away at a keyboard, and he’ll be gleefully chatting away without the confrontation or challenge. One of the most repulsive things is when a guy asks a girl on a date via text message (worse yet, I heard of one case wherein a boy asked a girl to be in a relationship over Facebook!). The problem is this can be an extremely easy mistake to make. Now, never having been in a romantic relationship as of yet, I cannot say I’ve done this, but I can see how easily a text can be a simple coordination tool. While a simple “Hey, do you want to go to the movies Tuesday?” text may seem innocent, it is a completely disconnected poor excuse for an invitation. If a guy doesn’t care enough to even call a girl to ask her on a date, how serious can he be? (As I mentioned previously, though, I think it’s an easy mistake to make, and I don’t think every guy who does so has the intention of laziness or other poor motive). Not only is this a weakening of our culture’s young men, but the lack of non-verbal communication can be devastating.
If a relationship were described as a human being, then communication would be the skeletal and integumentary systems holding everything together and supporting it (I know, a really stupid analogy, but I’m running on five hours of sleep). One of the most tempting things is to text that special person in your life. Why? Because you love talking with them, and with texting you can do it frequently, over a long period of time, while still carrying out your other day to day activities. It’s also a very harmful habit. Just in some of my conversations with friends, due to unclear wording, joking phrases, or just the lack of tone of voice, I’ve caused misunderstandings and arguments. Most of the spats were petty, but caused and blown out of proportion by texting! It is all too easy to derive your own meaning from other people’s words in text, and too often this causes problems. This causes unnecessary angst, resentment, and even boredom in relationships. As Dr. Laurence Peter said, “Speak when you’re angry - and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
In conclusion, I would just like you to consider texting your dearest boyfriend or girlfriend a bit less, and when you do, take those texts in perspective. Serious issues over text can go so very ill, and the last thing you want is a destroyed relationship because of a monthly service for which you pay.
P.S. The only reson im writing this is beacuase I think my points where pretty good. But thats it!
P.P.S. Please pardon any spelling/grammatical errors in this post. Again, I’m running off five hours sleep, and it’s quite late.