Member Rara Avis
But what then holds the Judicial in "Check"? Our system is woefully deficient to defend against judicial despotism if the Judges are only accountable to Judges
On the contrary. Judges are appointed by the Executive branch and need to be confirmed by the Legislative, both of which, of course, have been elected by the people. Check-and-balances. It's a system that has worked remarkably well for a few hundred years now.
Basically what you are describing here is "Secularization" which is, as Ravi Zacharias put it ... Where religious ideas, institutions, and interpretations, have no social significance or place in public policy.
Yep. Because I have absolutely no faith at all in ideas, institutions, and interpretations. Do you?
You beg the question Ron ... Then WHY is it immoral to hurt people and not chickens? Even that question is a moral one ... and one upon which the foundation of those type laws are based.
I don't need morality, which is too often open to interpretation, to know what I don't want done to ME. If I don't want it done to me, it would be shortsighted and foolish to condone or sanction it for others; because as sure as the sun rises in the East, it WILL come back to bite me. Or worse, someone I love.
Which is precisely why separation of Church and State is important. Without it, I know as sure as the sun rises in the East, that my children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren will one day be forced to bow to the wrong god. What goes around comes around is as inexorable as the laws of gravity.
I don't insist my Hindu friend down the street should be free to worship as he wishes because I think he's right. I don't do it because it's moral. I do it because it's the only way to make sure my children's children are given the same freedom of choice.
Empathy comes from individuals, not systems of law.
And systems of law come from individuals, too.
Empathy and compassion are absolutely necessary for a society too. But rules of law should be based on a mix of pragmatic and moral considerations ... and that has very little to do with emotion.
Pragmatism too often leads to expediency and morality inevitably leads to discrimination. Laws need only be just and fair to everyone. Emotion? IMO, every law should be weighed against the very real FEAR that it will one day be used against you or someone you love.
Despite your attempt to make it sound absurd by oversimplifying ... yes I am. Since biblically, the function of government authority is to reward and punish. And also to contain and limit the wickedness of the depraved and unregenerate. If those in authority are God's "ministers", then he does use civil authority to limit the sins of the people ... to "protect them from themselves".
Thus abrogating free will?
(There's so much more to say, but that discussion would take us far astray from this one.)
And remember Ron, I'm not pushing to make homosexuality illegal. But if it's wrong, it should not be elevated to a place of honor ... which, despite our failures, Marriage is in. "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure ..."
Government's role should never be to "honor" people by granting them more rights than others. Privileges, sure, but not rights.
In 1960, this country elected the first Catholic President, in spite of many predictions that our government would soon find itself ruled from the Vatican. Those old enough may remember it as one of the larger issues in the campaign. Turns out the fears were unjustified, but let's pretend for a moment they weren't. Let's pretend for a moment, as could very realistically happen, that the Pope determined the state of marriage in this country.
Certainly, there would be no legal recognition of homosexual marriages. But there would also be no legal recognition of second or subsequent marriages, either. And don't for a minute think the Catholic Church can't quote chapter and verse to support their doctrine. If marriage is a reflection of our union with Christ, after all, there is a very compelling argument against divorce. It all comes down to interpretation. One could even argue, I think, that unlike a homosexual marriage, a divorce will always result in someone getting hurt. Usually the kids everyone so wants to protect.
About fifty percent of our adult population would suddenly find themselves in the same situation as a homosexual couple. And, very frankly, I think it would be much easier to justify. Marriage is a commitment. People might be less inclined to make that commitment lightly if they knew they could only make it once. Break the promises you made to one person and you can live with another person, have sex and children with another person, even engage in civil contract with another person, but you will never ever be a family.
Am I seriously suggesting everyone should be limited to only one chance at marriage and family? No. But I would hope everyone can recognize the parallels. The arguments against homosexual marriage are pretty much identical to the arguments against multiple marriages, with the only real difference being that you might agree with one and disagree with the other. Why should we recognize your interpretation of sin and fail to recognize the Pope's? If you insist the Vatican is wrong, why should anyone believe you are right? Is sin now something to be voted into being? Our hearts and stance with God should be subject to majority rule?
If sin is to remain between an individual and God, as it must so remain if our relationship with the divine is a personal one, the only societal question is the same one that has been repeatedly asked and never adequately answered.
When two people commit to care for each other for the rest of their natural lives together, who is harmed?