Second-class citizenship for those with deeply religious moral
systems -- oops
schweber at polisci.wisc.edu
Mon Nov 27 12:44:00 PST 2006
I inadvertently omitted the part that identified the post to which I was
responding as coming from Sean Wilson.
>At 11:17 AM 11/27/2006 -0800, you wrote:
>>... the thing that I have not understood about this viewpoint is the
>>claim that passions about world view should not be cultivated by the
>>political system merely because they are packaged into a "God argument."
>>There is nothing in constitutional theory(or the history of it) which
>>supports this. To the contrary, the whole idea of American
>>constitutionalism is that these and other fixations that cause humans to
>>rule one another are given an explicit license to compete in the
>>democratic ritual. It is other portions of constitutionalism -- checks
>>and balances, separation of powers, the codification of fundamental
>>liberty -- which are supposed to act against the urge to unfairly oppress
>>another based upon a God argument.
>None of those things are meaningful unless they are based on a prior
>commitment to the proposition that they trump the "God argument" in cases
>of conflict. But (western) religions teach that they take precedence over
>mere political commitments because God is greater than any human mind or
>will. If a president gets up and says "God wants me to have absolute
>control over our nation in order to further His work, and I call on all
>Christians to support God's will and on Christians in Congress to ensure
>that their colleagues do not attempt to use the Constitution to interfere
>with my execution of that will" then either he has done something improper
>and is unfit for office, or the American experiment is over.
>> In other words, it is one thing to say that Courts should not offer a
>> policy position based upon a religious a priori, but it is another
>> altogether to say that when a Congress person possessing such views
>> successfully survives the democratic ritual -- that he or she "should
>> not be in the Congress" or "is violating constitutionalism."
>No one said any such thing. Please re-read the previous posts. But how
>can you take the simultaneous positions that it is consistent with our
>constitution for a legislature to adopt a law based solely on a religious
>a priori but not for a reviewing court to adopt the same a priori
>preferences in reviewing that law? Is this an extreme form of judicial
>supremacy -- call it "judicial exclusivity" -- in which legislators (and
>the executive?) have no obligation to act constitutionally in their work?
>>I wonder to what extent this is an argument against a style rather than a
>>substance. "God says do this," versus "my values say do this, and I must
>>vote my principle." Is this in the end not an argument against merely
>>the STYLE of the assertion? (That Style A is now out of fashion?)
>"Merely the style"?? I think language matters quite a lot, actually, and
>that a critical consideration of the construction of language is
>inseparable from serious thinking about, inter alia, the requirements of
>constitutionalism. On the larger question of the relation between moral
>preference and religious moral preference, please see my previous post in
>response to Eugene's comments.
>Dept. of Political Science
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