Rankings Are In – Religion Beats Regulation

8 10 2006

And either way, the individual’s free will loses.

What does the Old North Church symbolize, merely freedom of religion or freedom from religion too?

When religion wins over regulation, is it an automatic victory for social and moral “good” over “evil” or maybe not so much anymore?– I’m noticing cases that don’t look like private freedom from public control as much as shifting dominance between the usual players atop the Control Poll ranking.

I see little to champion between losing my free will in the name of God’s Law or Government’s Law.

We who home-educate as part of our rightful sovereignty as private citizens, believing we’re free not only from allegiance to either party but from control by either Church OR State, never mind School, have the toughest row to hoe imo. So whose side are you on as a citizen, between Government’s Law and God’s Law? Are we all gonna be forced to pick a side or perish as Revelations prophesize, and is that time approaching?

Valerie who blogs for Home Education Magazine surprised herself (and Daryl!) by asking herself this question, after seeing the new Army-of-God movie Jesus Camp. Lawyer and homeschool dad Scott Somerville, recently of HSLDA, is blogging here about pro-life lessons for the next generation. Sam Harris, author of “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation” says history’s answer is clear and America had better learn the lesson and teach it to our young quickly, or

our delusions will kill us all.

Seems the NYT today backs up Sam Harris:

An analysis by The New York Times of laws passed since 1989 shows that more than 200 special arrangements, protections or exemptions for religious groups or their adherents were tucked into Congressional legislation, covering topics ranging from pensions to immigration to land use. New breaks have also been provided by a host of pivotal court decisions at the state and federal level, and by numerous rule changes in almost every department and agency of the executive branch.

The special breaks amount to “a sort of religious affirmative action program,” said John Witte Jr., director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at the Emory University law school.

Professor Witte added: “Separation of church and state was certainly part of American law when many of today’s public opinion makers were in school. But separation of church and state is no longer the law of the land.”

The changes reflect, in part, the growing political influence of religious groups and the growing presence of conservatives in the courts and regulatory agencies. But these tax and regulatory breaks have been endorsed by politicians of both major political parties, by judges around the country, and at all levels of government…

Are churches like the ever-expanding Methodist Monster church-entertainment-school-child care center-parking lot in my FL neighborhood running roughshod over the rest of us with our unwitting consent, or merely a few thousand of my neighbors doing God’s work by divine right that trumps whatever secular interests the rest of us believe Man’s Law and government regulations must control?

UPDATE – It occurs to me this all relates to poor Pluto, who was just minding its own business far, far away from the Controllers and Do-Gooders here on Earth (or whatever is politically correct to call our home in the universe this week.)

They scold us and say if I (and Nance, just to further confuse you by further clarifying) would just hush up and go along with their political strategy of distinct legal definitions as liberty, then the hsing world would be a peaceful, secure little Stepford place where we’re all free to be the same, and so would school.

Happy homeschools and public schools could live in perfect, legally defined and enforced harmony”, each person clearly defined on one side or the other with both sides patrolling the borders. Immigration laws strictly enforced, because that serves the interests of both governments. And it’s so easy to keep straight!

I should consent to government by unelected fundamentalist and authoritarian peers, because then our home education will be freer and safer? But this isn’t the point, they tell me, WE define the point, not you!

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7 responses

9 10 2006
Scott W. Somerville

I’ve got to quibble just a bit with you here…

Governments write “laws,” which set a “floor” for human behavior. Voluntary associations of all varieties, from churches to DailyKos, establish group mores (“morals,” if you will), which define a “ceiling” to which the group aspires.

In an ideal society, the government defines and enforces the “minimum requirements” for a society to operate peacefully. This may include things like “don’t burn down an abortion clinic (or a church).” At the same time, voluntary associations (of very different types) define and encourage the “maximum requirements” for differing visions of “the good.” This might be, “Take a homeless person home tonight,” or “Perform random acts of beauty.”

When government deals with beauty or homelessness, it takes my money to do my job. Moving those functions from the coercive sphere of government to the voluntary associations doesn’t reduce freedom–it increases it.

9 10 2006
misedjj

An appealing ideal but applied to our real life in post-millennial America, voluntary associations have fallen and they can’t get up off that floor!

So this is not a quibble to me but a key point(hi Scott, and welcome!)

Our secular legal government reflects voluntary association, in the sense that each person chooses to be “in” or “out” of variously governed groups and to accept the benefits and costs of those choices.

Where and how I live is both voluntary and a matter of laws and limits, yes?

Voluntary associations have power to abuse, and create laws to keep folks in line, even take their money and property, coerce and punish their choices (and kids!) etc. And they often *become* government and coercive too — not just churches but condos, curriculum accreditation bodies, cliques at school that perform hazing rituals etc.

My college town has a terrible hazing case in court right now with major injuries to the victim, a sort of Law of the Jungle or Lord of the Flies thing, where does law like that fit in this model?

And “voluntary associations” become entwined with actual civic governance too, maybe that’s the more coercive result of all – Man’s Law enforcing some twisted version of God’s Law on free will, but neither voluntary nor godly.

I do like the floor and ceiling frame you provide. Makes me think of human-harming floors and ceilings in standardized testing, which I think threatens to be a coercive form of Government all its own!

9 10 2006
misedjj

I saw a weekend entertainment bio of Oprah yesterday, in which it mentioned her becoming the first black female billiionaire. It got me thinking that she’s she is a force unto herself now, like Bill Gates, Ted Turner et al, and not afraid to use it! George Soros and Rupert Murdoch? I can’t just “choose” not to be affected by these folks and their beliefs and mores, or lack thereof (well, maybe if I were Amish, but even they were hit by mega-media this week against their own voluntary governance.)

I don’t exercise any level of equality with Oprah and her unimaginably wealthy peers through any kind of law I can think of, much less exert my will over them –the Pope rules with fabulous wealth too, and is untouchable by any government worldwide, right? L’État, c’est moi…;)

I can be coerced toward Armageddon by terrorists domestic and foreign animated by what they consider “God’s Law” and apparently no law afforded by either citizenship or associations of choice can protect me.  Plus I am one of the world’s most privileged citizens at that; speaking of billions, what about the other billions of poor souls?

Obviously this comment isn’t a polished argument for changing anything specifically — just some gut-level objections to swallowing whole the rule of law ideals voiced by Man or God, much less their indistinguishable collusion. (Self-governance? Fraternity? Equality? Yeah, right!)

3 04 2007
misedjj

So I was listening to the “Left Behind” authors being seriously interviewed about Biblical prophesy by Glenn Beck this morning (my brain was MELTING!)

Seems the last book of the series debuts today, about the reign of Jesus on earth after all the sinners have been burned or blown off its surface to their predestined eternal damnation. Favorite Daughter was with me, as I drove her to campus. Her brain looked overheated too.

Glenn and the Preacher quoted as strong evidence the End is Near, something from Ezekiel and/or Daniel (googling now) about how “knowledge shall increase” and travel with great speed, and people will too. This was a very bad thing endangering us all (but all according to plan!) — or so they said, based on all their own years of study and knowledge, with their prosyletizing able to travel instantly around the globe over these amazing technologies.
Turns out they all did a similar show on CNN the other night so there’s a transcript here..

And like in intelligent design, they are quick to use scientific, historical and statistical probability methods to bolster their case (But isn’t this “knowledge spreading” just making things worse, advancing the Tribulation times? Maybe because that’s what they WANT?)

The world-ending problem to be solved is that either way– whether you believe this is insanity or reality — world leaders speaking for us ALL are buying into this stuff and making decisions based on what they believe about Biblical prophecy arguments, or at the least what they believe the other guys believe.

Seems to me some increasing knowledge of GAME THEORY would therefore be useful.

3 04 2007
misedjj

Found this about the prophesy of increased knowledge and travel speed:

EVENT 6. INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE [Prophecy 534 BC]

Daniel 12:4 But thou, 0 Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

There is no doubt that in the last five decades there has been a unique knowledge boom. Knowledge is doubling in the scientific area every ten years. Discoveries in the areas of electronics, genetics, computers, communications and physics have been so phenomenal that no one can keep up with them all.

It is said that a man in the 18th Century boasted that he knew everything there was to know about the mathematics and science of his day. A statement like that today would be unthinkable even when related to a very specialised field. Such a knowledge boom is a definite sign of the end times.

The boom in knowledge is also illustrated by the fact that 75% of all scientists and technologists in the whole of human history are alive at this time.

EVENT 7. INCREASE IN TRAVEL [Prophecy 534 BC]

Daniel 12:4 But thou, 0 Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

The period since the late 1950s has been the age of the travelling common man. Prior to this period it was only the rich who could afford to travel or had sufficient leisure time to travel. The frequency of travel and the speed of travel illustrate the prophecy “many shall run to and fro” With the advent of the package tour, travel by the common man has boomed.

3 04 2007
misedjj

It occurs to me to wonder as power of story — could it be that Christian fundamentalists today have already been “rapturing” themselves by their withdrawal from common secular life and losing touch with all reason, and that this state of affairs and social division is arguably (if I were going to argue it, or write the story in my own style) fulfillment of that prophecy? That they won’t be bodily raptured, just spiritually, and that it’s well underway?

16 10 2009
Never Mind That Using Kids Is Immoral in Any Belief System « Cocking A Snook!

[…] I might add disturbing parent-teacher stories I’ve blogged as power of story, Glenn Beck and Jesus Camp and Sarah Palin for sure, and […]

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