. elsewhere . . letters from the inaccessible .


29 November 2001

what kind of republican christian are you, anyway?

You probably already know I'm a Christian (though I frequently recoil from the epithet, it's got a stigma not unlike saying Buchananite or Imperialist), and you probably know I'm a registered Republican. And typically of these 2 traits, I am pro-life, firmly of the belief that abortion should not be undertaken except in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother's life, indeed, even in these cases (except for unforseeable threats to the mother's life), I don't see why an abortion should ever be undertaken more than 2 months into the pregnancy. Anyway, that's just an example of how I adhere to the expectation of a Republican and a Christian. Let me make a couple points as to how I diverge, and boy do I diverge, from the Religious Right.

I'm not a fan of Pat Robertson, who quickly backpedaled after saying the attacks on September 11th were a sign of God's removal of His benevolent, protective hand because of America's unfaithfulness, but only backpedaled a little bit. I'm not a fan of Ralph Reed, the Christian Coalition, or just about any Christian political group.

I don't believe that morality should be legislated. I believe in the widest separation of church and state possible. (Just so you know, in 1947, they added the words "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance. Not unlike many southern states added the confederate flag to their state flags in the 1950s.) The reason I believe morality should not be legislated is because it is impossible to define what is "right" and what is "wrong", from a moral standpoint, definitively. God's justice is perfect, but it also seems perfectly inconsistent at times. History is filled with conscientious and devout believers who disagreed. Who is right? Calvin or Armenius? St. Augustine or Thomas À Becket? God is. But I will defy any person on this Earth today or ever (Jesus Christ excepted) to definitively say what God's will is. And even Jesus didn't know everything. Questions? Let's talk.

Anyway, to get to the good stuff. Because I believe morality and legality are mutually incompatible notions (though we all wish they were more compatible, I think of them in a pretty Kantian way), I believe that the following things should take place: legalization of marijuana and gay marriage.

As far as cannabis legalization is concerned, I have not seen any conclusive evidence which indicates that it should remain illegal. Physiologically, alcohol is just as damaging to the system in high doses and over prologed periods. I have seen no conclusive support that marijuana is a gateway drug, from the condition that defining a gateway drug as something which necessarily encourages the use of more damaging substances. A high number of drug users started initially with marijuana... but before marijuana, they started with alcohol. Is, then, alcohol to be considered a gateway drug? Essentially, divorced from the physiological or moral concerns, I've seen no evidence that marijuana is any more detrimental to individuals or to society than alcohol, and if alcohol is legal for consumption, I believe marijuana should be as well, strictly regulated and heavily taxed. I've an open mind on the issue, though, and am certainly willing to change my mind if presented with enough evidence. I have before. Such as on the following...

Until recent years, I was personally opposed to gay marriage, primarily because my moral beliefs were defining my political stance. My current moral belief on homosexuality has become quite different (who or what a person is, by choice or by birth, is between them and God, and I believe I have no place to say what is right or wrong on this issue, a person must be true to themselves), but my increasing belief in the separation of church and state has made my moral stance moot. It is in the state's interest to preserve itself. For a state to preserve itself, it must maintain stability of society and preserve the welfare of its citizens (this latter is the way that murder is prohibited without the state taking a moral, and ultimately at least quasi-religious stance). With true separation of church and state, marriage is not, and should not be, a pact of two people before God (that pact is the demesne of the couple and their church, not the state); marriage is to be a social institution promoting the stability of a family and home environment. Marriage, whether it is between heterosexuals or homosexuals, is a socially stabilizing institution, one which encourages the spouses to care for one another's welfare and discourages promiscuity (both of which are in the state's interest to preserve the welfare of the individual citizen). Whether someone personally believes that homosexuality is moral or immoral is irrelevant to this discussion, as the state is not to legislate morality; morality is found between each person and God (or, as they may believe, no god). Are there higher causes? Is there such a thing as ultimately right (and moral) and ultimately wrong (and corrupt)? I believe so. But these issues have only tangential application to the question of the welfare of individuals, their health, prosperity, and ultimately the stability of the society we live in.

something I just thought of

I realized while writing this post above how easy it is to expound on an opinion... of course, they're like derrieres, everybody has one. What's hard to write is how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking of and what I'm hoping. And what I want. Wanting is easy, having is hard, but it's getting that seems to be damn near impossible.

musings of señor prod.

A little precession at the Revolution.


©2001 Timothy A. Clark -|-