Morality in Goverment
The beauty of our government is that it is made up of a population that consists of the five major world religions, smaller religions, agnostics, and atheists. It is a government set up to separate church and state and serve all people. But that doesn’t mean that the government gets to be devoid of morality. How then, does our government get to define and institute morality, on a population that holds different views on what is moral? Here, I would posit that the answer lies in the separation of church and state principle. In modern America, I would argue that the main morale code that the government operates by is “you can do what you want, so long as you don’t infringe upon the rights of anyone else”. This tends to be a philosophy that the American religious can get behind because they’ve operated under the separation of church and state for centuries. This plays itself out in the “culture wars” from generation to generation but for the most part it has allowed the religious institutions to maintain teaching their morals and the government to bend to modern whims without inflicting harm on the religious intuitions, notwithstanding arguments about moral erosion as a society. An example of this would be gay marriage. The Church can maintain that homosexuality is a sin but the government can say “homosexuals can get married because it does not harm other people”. While there are pros and cons to this method, it has allowed religions and the government to each maintain a right to claim “morale authority” to the masses, and American society has survived to this point.
By this metric, the only area where the Church and the government cannot agree to disagree is where “you infringe upon the rights of someone else”. This is why the issues of abortion and the death penalty such a big deal to Christians. There is a fundamental dispute between who Christianity defines as a person, and what the secular government defines as a person, in regards to abortion. I will delve into this topic more when I discuss abortion.
I will govern by the following ethics: I define my personal morality as laid out by the teachings of Jesus. I am a flawed man and a sinner, but I know the difference between right and wrong, and always strive to do what is right and seek forgiveness when I err. I will govern under the separation of church and state principle laid out above, except when there is a disagreement over how a life is defined (abortion). I firmly believe in upholding the rights and dignity of every single person, from the time they are conceived to the time that they die and that is the ultimate principle upon which I will legislate.