“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me … that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?” —Senator Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona, Congressional Record, September 16, 1981.
Humans, being social, improve their fitness through cooperation with other people. Even if survival of the fittest were taken as a basis for morals, it would imply treating other people well. From http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA002.html
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith
It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. (Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782)
Morality in religion is about doing what has been declared necessary to appease a god. Secular considerations involve relationships and social behaviors, usually as set up by a central authority. Neither is satisfactory for very long due to doctrine creep and avoidance of evidence. Doctrine creep occurs when religion, due to the normal prodding of viral memes, seeks to insert its edicts into the law, and when commercial interests seek to use religion to influence the lawmaking process. Avoidance of evidence occurs in all those cases, and when laws result from opinions, simple offenses, “what might happen if…”, conflated associations, or other vestiges of vested interests, fear, threat, deal-making, inappropriate influence, or a long list of other items of potential harm or imbalance. Only by acting in honest accord with objective evidence can government maintain rectitude. Calling science a religion does nothing to change that fact.
In general, laws that are moral have no justifiable interest in the private interactions in which people engage unless it can show how harm or loss has occurred in each case, or in identical previous cases where the accuser can demonstrate an identical nature. Otherwise, they originate in religion or religiously held opinions, without the certification of evidence. Innocuous acts, blasphemy, choosing other than the majority’s religion, hate speech against ideas (not people), whatever might offend somebody, what could go awry but never has been shown how, ought always first be recognized as beneficial to a society and to never make harmless minorities into victims of overzealous lawmakers. Acts done against people (including hate speech) which induce loss or harm, to paraphrase Jefferson, ought to be the government’s only licit concern about us.
Those same lawmakers spend untellable hours, effort, and public money figuring together how to mesh moral edicts that originate in religion into law to put the power of government enforcement behind them. Suspect must include all laws against private actions involving no one else, bedroom behavior, laws about sexuality, dress and undress, or no dress, faux nipples, body hair, et al…
What must be made more apparent is that some laws wisely mitigate against acts known to induce private damage that will lead to public expense, but enforce them unwisely. Unhealthy food habits, constant drunkenness, overindulgence of all kinds, make obvious examples of that. Does arresting those who become their own victims seem like the best way to deal with them?—or should we continue to just let them suffer until the inevitable occurs? Might it not be best to simply steer them toward effective self-help? What, then, about those who cannot, or will not, be helped?
Maybe we should impose a moratorium on the creation of new laws, and put the legislators to work at unwriting or rewriting the bad laws they have already created, and enforce some standards all laws they’d keep or create thereafter must meet:
- The Wall of Separation must not be bridged by government or religion:
- No more favoritism;
- No more freedom from taxes;
- No more tax-free real estate;
- Recognized standard of ethics must be upheld;
- Banish lobbyists; they do more harm than good;
- Bills must be considered individually—
- No more riders;
- Moral laws must be restricted to:
- Protection of children from predators;
- Define what constitutes harm done to others, cite supporting science; act on that according to evidence;
- Define what constitutes loss caused to others, cite supporting science; act on that according to evidence
- Apprehensions, opinions, expectations, fears of what could, may, might, etc happen do not constitute evidence; laws created without objective evidence to justify their need should be considered void (I would suggest holding such laws in an abeyance queue identified as “Awaiting Evidence.”
Now, while pondering that, think: We call the United States a constitutional nation because we have a constitution. Those who represent us in government, and we ourselves, have mistreated our constitution by acting as if it is a roadblock against our freedoms when we had shady business to conduct, or as too unimportant to care about when we failed to call out when others beat a path around it. Maybe we wrongly supported those paths and caused misery to others guilty only of disagreement. Such mistreatment appears evident from near to the beginning, with expression of a desire for paid clergy at meetings. Agreement about exactly when tax freedom for religious institutions began seems rare, from “very early on” to 1894 when income taxes began.
Funding to enforce illicit laws nationwide since the beginning must add up to a huge fortune. Add to that the cost of religion’s free ride, and ask yourself, “Why, other than being guilted into it, did our founders grant tax freedom to organizations they freely criticized as unproductive provokers of social turmoil?”
Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.