Sunday, January 29, 2006

Evidently the Supreme Court Changes America's Values

Spoken from the popular Illinois Democratic Senator:

We need to recognize, because Judge Alito will be confirmed, that, if we're going to oppose a nominee that we've got to persuade the American people that, in fact, their values are at stake.

Since when did the Supreme Court change people's values and dictate what the American public see as right and wrong. Obviously, the Supreme Court and the Judiciary is behind discriminating against black people, disposing of fetuses, selling assault weapons, taking people's homes, sodomizing others, and denying certain people civil rights. What's really behind the shit that goes on in our country is not the courts but rather people, sinful people. Laws don't dictate values, morality does....but this is why liberals often determine their sense of right and wrong based on what's legal rather than by what is moral.

**Additions 1/30/06
First, to see another's intellectual support for the last fairly controversial statement please read the Prager's article.
Second, I did not mean to make such a bold statement without additional proof and I thought Prager's article was enough. I'll explain further... I did not mean to label "liberals" or "democrats" as immoral people at all but rather that coastal far left (probably 20-30%) in this country tends to derive their sense of right/wrong from themselves (personal experience/feelings), the law, and science rather than a religious or philisophical text. I know that there are a number of Democrats and left leaning individuals who believe in God or are principled/moral people. In fact, there's a strong contingent of the evangelical left at my church (Blackhawk E-Free) and I respect their political ideals (though on a number of fronts I won't agree with them mostly due to my economic/philisophical beliefs). But let's face the facts, there's a huge divide morally in this country which is mostly set along geographical/political lines. Here's a hypothetical study, many of the sort which have been done before revolving around morality. You ask a sample size of 100 people questions revolving around moral relativism, moral absolutism, God, etc. and go to the bluest of places (Portland, Berkely, Madison, West Manhattan, DC, Boston, Miami) and then to the reddest of places (Atlanta, Dallas, Salt Lake City, suburban Milwaukee, Tulsa) and see how their answers vary. You will find that on average that not only do people's views on politics and religion change but their morality is often based on entirely different things. The blue places will have a much more relativist stance with their beliefs not derived from God but rather from personal experience and society. The red places will have a much more absolutist stance with their beliefs more likely to stem from Biblical principles.
So indeed, you can be very liberal, Christian, and believe that the government should be a strong economic distributive force and be very permissive in terms of marriage, drugs, abortion, speech, etc. This is okay from my perspective if one can rationalize their political beliefs strongly and many people can. But obviously if they are a strong Christian (ie take the bible's teachings seriously) and if they are very politically liberal, then they are justifying the government not taking action on the basis of morality which brings me to my last and final point: Most people in the United States want the government to legislate their morality--both on the left and right. Generally, the left wants the government to impose state health care which they see as a public good and personal right. They like freedom in terms of drug use because they do not see drugs as immoral. They don't want religious thought in public schools or the public square because they'd rather see our society be extremely secular than faith based. On the other side, the right wants to see drug use curtailed because they see it as a sinful act. They don't want gays to be able to marry or even have civil union rights because they see gay relationships as immoral. They want abortion to be banned because they see a human being at conception. My point here is that people want to legislate their morality on others but even when the Supreme Court makes a decision, does it really change people's values on a subject? Not really because often the laws and statutes don't reflect the whole range of perspectives. I believe that the majority of this country derives their morality from something much deeper in the way of religion, philosophies, and social norms rather than the Supreme Court. So when Obama made this false statement, I wanted to share my opinion. I did not mean to label certain groups but the generalizations are clear and I feel I've backed them up fully now.


  • I tried really hard not to respond to this one, but alas I could not resist. I find your conclusion extremely appauling. First of all you label liberals as immoral people. Is it not possible to a liberal Christian, or how about even a liberal secularist who is still by all measures a moral person. Are the only ones who commit sins liberals, becuase I'm sure thats not what you mean but its certainly what you said here. Is it possible to be a conservative Christian and still not be considered moral?

    This is the problem that I see in the religious institution. I believe in God and I believe in Jesus Christ. Yet I can't bring myself to go to Church because I know I will be surrounded by some of the most closed minded people on earth. Some of the most hateful people I have ever come across have been Christians, who else do you think was able to come up with a saying "God hates Fags" I believe the God I love would want people to treat each other with respect and love each other, not draw deeper divides through hatred. But thats another long discussion.

    How about a little less stereotyping and harsh rhetoric. I believe its possible to be a moral person by all measures and not be religious just the same as its posslbe to be religious and still be sinfull, and I'm not talking about I lied to my mom about not going out last night kind of sinful either.

    Sodamizing others...I won't even touch that one.

    By Blogger Kellie, at 2:24 AM  

  • Timmy -

    I think I'm gonna have to go with Kellie on this one. While you are right that it is inappropriate to decide morality simply based on legality, or to equate law with morality, it is equally inappropriate to simply label "liberalism" as "immorality." Likewise, it is simply wrong to simply assert that the positions you pointed out are either (a) liberal at all, or (b) immoral.

    As Kellie gets at, religious people and religious institutions can themselves become immoral. Some of the worst atrocities in human history, not to mention many of the more mundane tragedies of everyday life stem out of religious intolerance. And, finally, you can indeed be moral without subscribing to the specific form of (christian?) religious that you seem to be espousing.

    I love your blog, and your thoughts on topics generally. And maybe this was just a quickie. But, please, give us a discussion, not just a bald statement.

    By Blogger Nate, at 2:32 AM  

  • Thanks for posting. I take your concerns seriously and hopefully I addressed some of them with my further commentary. I did not make that last statement up..it is Dennis Prager's main thesis in one of his articles. Continue to criticize some of my vauge or poorly worded statements. Also criticize my claims and evidence. This is how I and everyone learns more.

    By Blogger Tim, at 12:54 PM  

  • This brings up interesting points. I really don't think it's a fair assessment to make. There are SEVERAL religions out there. And there are SEVERAL interpretations of each. To argue that the liberals don't get their sense of morality from the Bible is wrong. I think a lot of them take the idea of love and respect from the Bible. In fact, if everyone were as generous as the Bible espoused, it's doubtful there would be poverty in America, or in the World. Just as conservatives seek to use the government here to enforce moralityon issues like gay marriage and abortion, liberals seek to use it to enforce morality on issues like charity. Given the huge number of people who study theology full time, and the numerous views that they collectively hold, it is impossible to say what the Bible does or does not say, and how that should be applied in day to day life or in the law.

    Are the MILLIONS of Irish, Italian, and Hispanic Catholic Democrats in this country immoral? Because, despite the Pope's repeated appeals to vote against anybody who supports abortion rights, these groups tend to vote Democratic?

    Because someone's interpretation of Christian thought, or their view on its role in determining morality, is different than yours (or the Pope's) doesn't mean they are immoral, or that their views are not legitimate. What about Christians who support imposing Christian values on gays who want to get married or women who want abortions, but go out and have pre-marital sex? Or use contraceptives or other birth control once they're married? The average Catholic and Christian family size is not what it used to be. Either Catholics have developed a lot more self control, or they've started using birth control.

    What about a Christian who never gives to charity, or does any kind of community service? Are they moral because they judge others' actions (gay marriage or abortion) as immoral?

    What about Conservative Christians who commit hate crimes against homosexuals, or try to ban gay marriage? Isn't there something in the Bible about GOD being the judge? Who are these Christians to play God and judge?

    According to your argument on its face, all of these Christians (the fornicators, the condom-wearers, those too self-absorbed to contribute to their Christian brothers, and the judgemental) are immoral, because they value the freedoms that we are given here on Earth, in America, and in our society more than the Bible's teachings.

    Yet the same Christians are morally superior when they use the Bible to justify judging others (again, something that the Bible leaves to God).

    And some very distinctly liberal views are, for many peopl, based, directly or indirectly, on religious beliefs, or personal decisions which IGNORE the law. Two examples:
    1) Marijuana use is illegal. Yet stereotypically, and in reality, many liberals choose to use marijuana. In fact, many use strictly BIBLICAL language or ideas to justify the choice of marijuana over other drugs or alcohol. The whole concept of marijuana being God's gift because it is natural is inherently a religious morality. Furthermore, I've seen people quote the Bible to justify marijuana use.
    2) Individuals who BROKE THE LAW to go protest wars in Iraq, or to take food and medical supplies to Iraq and Cuba. These individuals' actions were based on the Judeo-Christian values of universal brotherhood of God's children and charity, yet were illegal. When was the last time you saw a Conservative involved in one of these efforts?

    I think Conservatives are more willing to justify their moral views by saying that the Bible gives them a universal moral authority. I think liberals are just as likely to base their views on Biblical teachings. They just tend to view their morals as a personal interpretation, and view their decisions as holding moral weight because of the VALUE held in them, rather than needing to constantly and publicly lean on Church doctrine and dogma to support them.

    As much as I would say I hold overall Conservative views, and that I probably have one of the overall most grab-bag worldviews of anyone I know, I also can see another strength to the typical Liberal views.

    They tend to, if anything, lean more consistently toward the moral (and I think, as infrequently as it's directly quoted or cited as the source, Judeo-Christian values) than Conservative veiws do. Mainstream conservative political views tend to focus on a universal, Biblical morality when it's convenient. Abortion is wrong and so is gay marriage. However, at a certain point, economic efficiency, the free market, and individual rights and responsibilities take over. For instance, welfare is essentially the imposition by the state of a certain, Judeo-Christian value (love and charity toward ALL of God's children). Yet conservatives oppose this forced morality because it is not economically efficient.

    The "Religious Right" is no more "religious" or "right" (in the sense of being correct) than the average Democrat in America. They just tend to fall back on Church dogma and the Bible publicly when conducive to their purpose, whereas liberals tend to view their Judeo-Christian values as strong enough, and universal enough, that they don't need to be constantly backed up or justified.

    By Blogger BadgerZach, at 3:35 AM  

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