26th April 2012, 11:13 AM
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Manipulation Resistance Team
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Join Date: 5th February 2002
Reps: 2,196,675,323,812,329,984 (power: 2,196,675,323,812,419)
Are You “Personally Opposed, But…”?
Recent decades are rife with “opposed, but…” statements from Catholic politicians
who maintain that they do not wish to “force” their own personal opposition to abortion on their constituencies. Must they then stand aside, with their hands folded, while pro-abortion politicians grant a “license to kill” to pregnant mothers and medical practitioners?
It is high time to reconsider: how far does the obligation of a politician to further his moral commitments extend? It is generally recognized in democratic countries now that strictly private immorality is out of the boundaries of public control. Former laws in various states of the U.S. prohibiting contraceptive use and sodomy have fallen by the wayside. Some less private matters are also considered immune to legislation: no one is claiming that if a Mormon or Muslim, with strong views about abstinence from alcohol, were elected to public office, he or she would need to pursue ways of outlawing alcohol. We learned that lesson from the 1920s experiment with Prohibition. And if the mayor of one of the counties in Nevada permitting prostitution had strong moral objections against prostitution, would he be obligated to work to change the laws permitting prostitution?
On the other hand, moral positions are incorporated in some of our most important laws – laws against murder, theft, defamation of character, perjury, parental negligence, and – in the armed services and a few states – laws against adultery. Aside from non-legislation regarding adultery, it seems that last seven of the Ten Commandments were a major inspiration for our criminal code.
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Time heals griefs and quarrels, for we change and are no longer the same persons. Neither the offender nor the offended are any more themselves.