Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Note to Both "Sides"

Politics (from Greek πολιτικός, "of, for, or relating to citizens"), is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic, and religious segments of society. It consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of public affairs within a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.

A few months ago a lot of folks started carrying copies of the U.S. Constitution so they would have a handy tool in proving their absolutely correct position on a variety of issues. It is the same tactic used by some Christians in defense of their religious views. Both are examples of what is commonly referred to as proof- texting. Proof-texting is the use of out-of-context quotes to support an argument. Most often, proof-texting is used in the quoting of religious texts, although scholarly texts are often used. The technique is somewhat related to and is often combined with sophistry, which uses garbled logic to support an illogical claim. Proof-texting is generally disdained by experts as an attempt to deceive a gullible audience, and is often considered a logical fallacy of authoritarian bias.

Most of us are guilty of such shenanigans upon occasion because it is so easy to do. With that in minds, I continue…

I wonder if those Constitutional-carrying patriots have read the following words from that document:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

I wonder, too, if they have read this portion of the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

If they haven’t read these words, perhaps they are beginning to notice many John and Jane Does across the country have been reading them.

Once again I am reminded, a church should not be partisan, but if it is truly a church, it cannot help being political.

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