This is one of those just throwing it out there posts.
There was a good bit of debate over the God or the lack thereof being mentioned at our recent Political Party Conventions a couple of weeks ago.
Rachel Evans had a good bit to say about this at God and our political platforms...
As with many of her pieces I sort of agree up to a certain point and this is no exception. While she focuses perhaps on some common sense dangers , there is perhaps another part of "Caesar's Coin" she misses. One is that in this thing called a democracy ( really a Republic) you , me, and the man behind the tree are ultimately Caesar nowadays or at least a chink in his armor if we are civic minded Americans.
Second , related to that great power we all have I think is the useful nature of all this God stuff. That is both the obligations and limitations that our power as Caesar has.
I thought back on Evans post when I read Hadley Arkes piece at the Catholic Thing called God Among the Delegates . I respectfully disagree with Arkes conclusion that perhaps Cardinal Dolan should have skipped out on the Democratic Convention , but that was not what caught my eye in his piece.
....The outrage was fueled by disbelief, for it was clear to anyone with normal hearing that the voice-vote did not come even close to the two-thirds vote required to amend the platform. But the managers were compelled to call for a voice-vote: They could not possibly want a roll call, with a record jarringly precise of the number of delegates who were willing to vote against even a passing mention of God.
But it wasn’t simply a matter of adding a word to the platform. The issue ran far deeper than that. It ran back to the beginning of the American regime in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration appealed first to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” as the very ground of our natural rights.
The drafters declared that “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal,” and that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” George Bush was not embarrassed to insist that these are “God given rights” – not rights that we had merely given to ourselves. For if we had given them to ourselves, we could as readily take them back or remove them.
And there was the heart of the question. If we could take surveys of the delegates to the two political conventions, the delegates would no doubt divide sharply. My own guess is that about 80 per cent of the Republican delegates would regard it as a settled truth that we were “endowed by [our] Creator” with certain rights, and that roughly the same portion of the Democratic delegates would find the notion laughable...
Now before the Democratic convention I would have gone well I think Hadley is exaggerating . In fact even at the time of this posting I would think 80 percent would be very high.
Still I go back to some rather unscientific observations on my twitter timeline during the Republican Convention. When Paul Ryan in his VP acceptance speech said :
Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government – to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America's founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.
There was a light explosion to say the least a slight explosion on my timeline from the more "left" folks. One University of Penn Religion Prof that is in a slight bit of controversy today on if a preacher should be in jail over a movie would have done of it.
However one tweet from a Episcopal Christian that was slightly indicative of what I was seeing elsewhere really took me back. He said " OUR RIGHTS DON'T COME FROM GOD OUR RESPONSIBILITIES DO !"
Well why I agree yes our responsibilities and indeed those of Government ( we are Caesar ) come from God , but don't our rights come from him also?
It might be I have lived in Catholic land with talk of natural law and natural rights for so long that the fact the notion of rights coming from God seems pretty non controversial for me. Perhaps though I have been living in some bubble.
Now it's true that not all rights perhaps come from God. I am big supporter of the Second Amendment , but I am willing to debate if my ability to own a machine gun comes from God. Further I am big believer in the rights to open Government but I am not claiming that my right to attend a school board meeting under a sunshine law comse from God either. When we are talking RIGHTS I think we are talking about something more essential.
Again GOD puts limitations on Caesar , and is another side of that coin.
If the situation is as dire as Arkes thinks it is I am not sure. However there is no doubt there is more of a effort to perhaps eradicate this discussion from the public square. See Sarah Posner's Nine Reasons Why Democrats Shouldn’t Invite Nuns on the Bus to the Convention.
I understand Evan's concerns when she says "Ironically, we render God’s name more meaningless each time we use it carelessly to advance our own agendas. ". However if Arkes is correct we might have a much bigger problem.
Both concerns of both Evans and Arkes are valid and I think this is NOT a case of either/or but of both/and to tell you the truth.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
This is one of those just throwing it out there posts.