Sunday, July 01, 2007

Theocracy; The worst of Socialism and Facism with none of the freedoms.

When Jesus said "feed my sheep," it was within a culture quite used to tripping over the damn things. Sheep are harmless unless they fall on you, inoffensive and have an amazing capacity for innocently wandering into death traps, stepping on feet and crapping indiscriminately. Furthermore, if not taken to where they are literally up to their ankles in food, they will helplessly starve while bleating pathetically. Jesus was a realist, and he was not complementing the flock, nor conveying power with out duty.

"Feeding the sheep" is a chore. A duty. An obligation of those capable of recognizing that for one reason or another, praise Goddess, they are NOT sheep.

I use the word Goddess to underline the fact that the duty is inescapable by simply choosing to become something other than Christian. Indeed, from my perspective, the ethics of the matter are clear enough that I'd be saying the same thing as an atheist.




Government is wholesale. Religion - and it's secular equivalents - are retail. By seeking to become major secular powers, influencing governments and dictating to people in wholesale lots, the various churches have both currently and historically become whores TO government, or become governments themselves.

But the shepherd does not get to choose which sheep they have a duty toward - they run after any sheep in trouble . The dogs may attend to the flock as a whole. And yes, we may indeed use that as a metaphor for Law.

The law is implacable, and for that reason alone it must be as minimal a restriction on individual liberty as possible, so that it does not interfere with our individual rights and responsibilities.

For instance, while it's Unconstitutional (a fact, though it's an often inconvenient fact in the face of the utter failure of our churches to do their rightful tasks) to forcibly take money from Peter to feed Paul, I see no constitutional impediment to it establishing mechanisms whereby Paul can choose to feed Peter.

It would certainly be Constitutional for it to invest in a universal insurance scheme that did not depend on borrowing from the future. Better yet, it could simply serve as a conduit for such schemes, to amortize risk, minimize overhead and serve to ensure that such services did not become schemes for profit or power.

No government - nor for that matter, religion - is truly wise and all-seeing enough to truly know what any of us need to meet our responsibilities, or even directly determine what our needs are and meet them. Were it possible to know, such knowledge would be so totally invasive as to completely strip us of all human dignity.

Therefore, state and church exist in separate, immiscible capacities to advise, and with our consent, provide information, resources and human contacts to help with those most personal and non-transferable duties. Nor may any entity, person, religion, corporation or government claim to be wise enough to know for certain that in the face of a poor outcome, their choices would have been better on behalf of any particular individual.

First attempt define what "better" would be for every single affected person with inarguable accuracy first, with absolute reliability from the viewpoint of those in need and you will see my point. Even the most obvious-seeming judgments rely on assumptions based on your informed guess as to what would be best for most people, with "most" being ultimately defined as "people you know."

Therefore, "judge not, lest you be judged also." It's not a prediction of future consequence, it's an observation of very immediate human reaction. The moment you make assumptions about individuals based on your assumptions about what people "should" do or be able to do, you reveal your own personal inability to accept realities and people outside of your understanding.

To you Christians out there who nonetheless refuse to feed Paul for various transparently false rationalizations - the Bible says that if someone comes to your town and is hungry, and he is not fed, clothed and given refuge, then they may take what he needs from the altar of the Temple. As I recall, it would ordinarily be a lesser offense under the Levitical Code you are all so fond of for them to steal from you.

The Constitution will not force you to act morally, ethically or even responsibly. It does not demand that you "hold up your end," nor will it force others to compensate for your lack. It will not protect you from the consequences of pretending you are when you are not. Nor is there any legitimate religion, system of ethics or morality that will pretend otherwise. Not even Satanism. What the Constitution does is to attempt to limit Government from interfering with your rights - and empowering it to protect your individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from the encroachment of others.

If you are genuinely unable by temperament, mental state, or circumstances to act responsibly in all things, then it is your responsibility to seek out help, just as it is your duty to help when called on by those in genuine need. There is a reciprocal responsibility to be helpful, and where government can legitimately make help from over here available over there it must - as our designated agent and adviser.

It's just that simple, and no, you really don't get to pick and choose between the "deserving and undeserving;" not as a Christian, and certainly not as a Deist, a Humanist or indeed, an irreligious, self-centered couch-potato. Refusing to recognize an ethical necessity does not make it go away.

As I study the Constitution, I realize more and more that it deliberately denies the People the comfortable apathy of a state that exists to "take care" of them. Even the sheep have the the minimum responsibility of finding a trustworthy shepherd. Those of you claiming to be shepherds, but who are but shills for the slaughterhouse - well, sooner or later the smell of blood will betray you.

Aint' that right, Messers. Bush and Haggard?

With such examples of "Christianity" in positions of power, it is deeply and damnably ironic to hear comparable asshats intone that "This Is A Christian Nation."

Note: This is a slightly edited excerpt from an earlier post. When I saw the Blog Against Theocracy alert, I realize that this chunk could stand on it's own, even though it's part of a larger post about our personal responsibility to act ethically toward others with the unique skills, talents and insights that we actually have - and that responsibility is something government cannot really absolve us of, nor can religion limit for the sake of our personal comfort.

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