Mixing religions with government

Henry writes:

Every explicit choice has an implicit (and usually invisible) loss of choice (opportunity cost). The so called universal health care is essentially a trade-off between quantity and quality of service. Diplomacy without the option of military action is often impotent, and military actions are generally an extension of diplomacy, the ultimate purpose of which is a nation’s self interest (which is not easy to define). Secular government, that is, government without the influence of religion, is a fine thing if most of the citizens it governs are non-religious. But if many of its citizens are religious, then the cost of a secular government is the willful neglect of the wishes and desires of the governed by the governing entity. Environmental protection laws reduces negative externalities in a society, but often they also lower productivity, which transpires to reduced quality of life for those involved. A friendly immigration policy invites labor mobility and new ways which may improve the overall wellbeing of a society. But a lax immigration policy also makes easier for undesirables and enemies to do harm, which at times could be catastrophic. And as for same-sex marriage, gun control, abortion, etc, if such social measures are decided in courts rather than by democratic processes such as majority voting, then social cohesion is in danger because of disregard for social preferences, especially if the measures are decided in a federal (or national) court system. But if all social measures are decided by local majority rule, then a nation risks losing its national identity based on a set of constitutionally recognized basic rights.

So what are the Democrates and Republican for? Before answering this it is probably in one’s interest to ask what they are not for, and see if one is fine with that first.

My reply:

Henry, I am deeply impressed by your observations. I am currently taking care of some duties which will leave me little free time for the coming days. I want to come back and read and reflect upon your post.

The ONE point I feel uneasy about is the one regarding a predominantly religious nation under a secular government with strict separation of Church and State. I feel that NO government can be fair if its action are driven by religious values REGARDLESS of the religion. One reason I say this is to counter the notion of majority rule and representation with the equally important task of protecting the rights of a minority however small when those rights pertain to freedom of expression and belief which INCLUDES freedom FROM expressions of belief. For example, our American judicial systems forces us to perform a religious act when it asks us to raise our right hand and SWEAR to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God. FIrst of all, NO ONE knows WHAT the truth is. I personally can only be conscious of my intentionally telling a lie, or committing a lie of omission by not saying something. I cannot know that what I assert is the truth. And it is foolish to ask someone to SWEAR, since swearing an oath is simply a religious superstition. What makes MORE sense is to ask me to state my understanding that I am subject to all the penalties of perjury if I am caught telling what I know to be a lie. I can think of many more reasons why it is a bad idea to have a government driven by religions, but I am pressed for time these days and this oath taking business is something which particularly annoys me.


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