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Monday, March 19, 2012

Further Reflections on Political Parties and the Religious Middle

I was thinking about things on my way to work today, and one of the things that crossed my mind is the fallacies that occur in the philosophies of our political parties, particularly in concern to social and moral issues.

I'm not a political genius, but here's how I see it breaking down.  The primary mistake Democrats as a whole make in their social-moral philosophy is thinking that social issues are actually individual issues, whereas Republicans, as a whole, overlook the value of free-will and personal choice.

Democrats believe that what happens in the bedroom or in the womb is an individual choice which doesn't affect the population as a whole.  Ironically, this is despite what the individual might think concerning the "moral rightness" of an act.  They say, "I believe abortion/Birth Control/Homosexual Marriage is wrong, but I have no right to impose that view on others, especially when it doesn't affect me".  Granted, some Democrats think abortion is a moral good, but that's not the point here.  What I'm trying to say is, we ARE our brother's (and sister's) keeper.  This is actually an act of love, despite what much of the modern secular world might think. Individual acts do affect the greater population both immediately and indirectly.  Abortion has negative effects on women, birth control in one woman can affect various sexual partners, the psychological ramifications of damaging acts affect how the individual relates with others, it leads others to do those immoral acts (through scandal), and from a theological standpoint it further corrupts the state of the world, increasing the presence of social sin.  All those baptized are part of the Body of Christ.  Sinful acts damage the world as a whole, not just the person(s) committing them.

However, some of these acts in and of themselves, should not be so far as outright banned on a federal level.  This is where, I think, Conservatives sometimes overlook the value of personal choice and free-will.  It's the same reason why the Church doesn't hold socialism as legitimate economic system.  Just as you can't FORCE people to give up their hard-earned money, you cannot FORCE people to uphold the positive norms in every and all instances.  While I agree that negative norms should be prohibited, we must still find a way to assure that people are able to live lives focused on a freedom to choose love rather than obey the religious law. 

Its a hard balance to tread.  I'm sure there are gaping holes in my argument.  I also realize that I'm arguing a primarily religious position.  Indeed, this is written mostly to my Christian brothers and sisters, those of whom think we should not hold each other accountable, those who think we need to control every action, and those of us who are stuck in the middle not knowing which side to take.

Being a Christian is hard work, often there is no apparent right answer.  However, I believe there is a middle way somewhere in this mess; a balance of Christian morality and civil law that helps people avoid moral evil and yet challenges them (without forcing) them to live out the fullness of the positive norm Christian Charity.  I have no answers, just observations about some of our problems.  I realize this was kind of a rambling post, but hopefully you found a nugget or two of Truth within it.