Monday, October 1, 2012

The tyranny of the secular state

I have often heard the claim that America was founded as a "secular state."  Religion was specifically excluded from the Constitution because our Founders thought that a state founded on religion caused great harm to society.  Thus religion has no place in American politics.

Let us set aside the question of if "religion was so dangerous why is it the first freedom afforded to us under the Bill of Rights?"  Clearly the Founders saw some merit in religion if it appears at the top of things the government should not infringe upon.  

But let us take the claim that religion has no place in politics.  If taken to its logical conclusion this would mean that one should not legislate anything that derives from a moral viewpoint.  This is where we get that phrase that couldn't be more wrong "One cannot legislate morality."

A government that has no moral outlook is like a man without a soul.  It lacks the ability to justify why it should be allowed to prohibit or compel action on behalf of the people.  The secular government cannot justify its use of power except by the fact that it has power.

To see the point I'm driving at consider some "theocracies" of the past.  The Caliphates of the Islamic world justified their rule by appeal to the Prophet.  The Western monarchs appealed to the "Divine Right of Kings."  Both point to a higher source of that authority.  

This is not to say that these principles were followed to a T.  The point is that there was the principle to point to.  And more importantly (at least in theory) a higher power that can bind the lower authority.

The secular state has no such claim to derived authority nor any bounding on that authority.  The state seeks no justification for its actions, only what it can get away with.  It seeks no purpose for wielding that power, only that it can.  The citizens are not which are served by the state, but who serve the state.

We are now seeing the fruit of the secular state as it continues to encroach on the freedoms this country once cherished.  But it is not surprising that the state will not guard them.  It neither recognizes them nor the source from whence those freedoms came.  It is sadly, the natural course of the tyrant.  

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