Thursday, June 28, 2012

In the News...

A number of things in the news of some significance.

First, a German court ruled that parents could not circumcise their children because of the potential bodily harm without the consent of the child. It is unclear to me what real effect this ruling actually will have in the German legal system, but it reflects the perennial struggle between religious freedom and government as an arbiter of individual rights. Do Jewish and Muslim parents have the right to have their children circumcised when a child is too young to have a say in the decision?  The potential religious consequences of this discussion are staggering.

It reminds us of recent debates over whether a public catholic institution must provide insurance to its employees that involves contraception or previous decisions about providing life-saving intravenous blood transfusions to children of Seventh Day Adventists.  Or can a photographer refuse to shoot a gay wedding on the basis of religious principle?  I do suspect that we will do better in the future if we focus on rights to follow our own religious beliefs rather than expending our energies trying to force the rest of America to follow our religious beliefs.

Second, there was the recent decision of the Obama administration not to deport individuals who would otherwise have been able to stay in the country if the Dream Act had passed.  It's clearly a political move on Obama's part in light of the coming election, but it is also clearly something he believes in and tried to get passed earlier.

Finally, there were the Supreme Court rulings on Obamacare today.  I am not expert enough to know whether the health care law will be beneficial or not.  One thing is sure, there is no such thing as complete objectivity. I would like to think that Supreme Court justices are more objective than the vast majority of people.   But they regularly disappoint what "both sides" think is objective. ;-)


Angie Van De Merwe said...

I couldn't agree with you more; " I do suspect that we will do better in the future if we focus on rights to follow our own religious beliefs rather than expending our energies trying to force the rest of America to follow our religious beliefs." Isn't that a "libertarian position"?

Secondly, I think it is Chicago "strong armed" politics for this adminstration to abandon Arizona, or punish them for wanting to protect their sovereignty!

Last, I think Roberts was being true to use "both sides" to "change the subject" to taxation (a debated Constitutional question), which makes both the President and Congress accountable to the "people's judgment", while protecting the Court from "politicalization" (which this administration has a tendency to do with anyone or anything that stands in its way!).

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Though I agree with you about not imposing one's views on another, those that believe they have THE ALL TIME TRUTH will go to no ends to affirm thier beliefs, as it affirms what they want to believe (for whatever reason and there are many reasons). It is called confirmation bias.

It is appropriate in our society to acknowledge a political bias, but not to impose a particular bias upon everyone. Keynesian theory in economics has been "implemented" as the policy solution to our economic problems. But, government intervention has not helped, but has seemed to further our demise and has had corrupting influences on those in government. Corporate power and Labor Union power seem to battle for the podium in our political fights, pointing fingers in a 'blame game", while the American people are loosing. Liberty is the foremost value the American people defend, because it is so easily lost in the midst of these "power plays", while the media watches or furthers their own biases without giving the "full account" for the people to decide.

The outrage of healthcare is a case in point. Just because the need is there to reform healthcare, does not mean that leaders are to impose their ideas upon us all without public engagement. Americans do not believe in leading by dictating.

Tolerance has been a virtue in our country because of our common purpose and belief of and in the individual and individuality!

The affirmation of the individual's "inalienable rights", the protection in our "Bill of Rights" to dissent is of importance for any free society and the basis of "human rights". Brain science studies a particular brain, though science in general, seeks to formulate laws, or rules of a particular scientific discipline. Do all brains respond similiarly to similar stimuli? Or is there an individual element (consciousness and the self) that remains a mystery? We do know that indiviuals have differences in temperament, interests, life experiences, etc. But, what is "self awareness"?

Humans like to investigate, explain and create order, but when order (society and law) isn't open to debate, then order becomes limiting. Law is what defines our society's values, which should support individual sovereignty in choice. Though our society has allowed for religious liberty, the individual was to be "king of his own life", as self discipline and self responsibility were values the Founders all valued and tried to promote. We were to be a "nation of leaders", in that sense.

Sovereignty was a right of individual liberties (civil liberties), State's rights (federalism) and the Nation's rights (borders/security for its citizens). Sovereignty began at the individual level, as without individuals, who formed societies by free association, there would only be "thugs" leading as dictators.

Ken Schenck said...

I thought it was funny that your second comment was longer than my post ;-)

I greatly prefer consensus to majority vote with strong opposition. A pastor, for example, who gets 51% of a church vote with vigorous opposition, should normally resign. By the same token, a vote is a vote and I rejoice that the British Parliament sneakily abolished slavery by luring the chief opponents somewhere else.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Those that set policy are those that set "visions for our country". Today's vision has seemed to be government oversight over every area/detail of American life. Who would've thought that any politician would talk about limiting the intake of soda pop a few years ago???

The goal is "public health", which is global in scope, just as any other "resource" is viewed today, globally. Therefore, American's "way of life" will be sabatoged for the "vision" of an elite who don't have to "mind the rules"...and those countries that are impoverished will be the first to gain an "opt out" ....this is "equality" or fairness via environmentalism. So, it won't be aobut "good government", it will be about defrauding the American people! under the cause of "the common good"!

John C. Gardner said...

I agree with Rod Dreher that it is likely that acceptance of homosexual unions will come to dominate legally in the U.S. in the next two decades or sooner. We must stay in the arena to support the traditional concept of marriage or suffer the absolute decline of marriage(even further) that has occurred in Europe(see the research by Kurtz). But, we must also seek accomodation for religious practice and institutions(think the Salvation Army) that oppose certain practices that may become legal in our society. George Washington gave accomodations in the Revolutionary Army to pacifists and similar accomodations have occurred regularly in American history.