Monday, June 25, 2012

Democracy, Communism and Fascism

"The social aspirations of man cannot attain full originality and full value, except in a society which respects man's personal integrity." --Building the Earth by Teilhard de Chardin

Returning to the topic of religion and politics, we turn to the modernist ideas of democracy, communism and fascism. For those who doubt that religion, or even less spirituality, has a place with politics, permit here a simple enumeration: from the earliest religious history, politics demonstrates its part in the religious and spiritual milieu of mankind. As was common in the ancient world, the king or ruler of a tribe or nation had the "divine right" to determine, institute and force religious beliefs upon a population. They did this often, enforcing a state religion.

The Greeks and Romans, along with other Orientals, formed religions and spiritualities which predictably led to establishment of moralities for any of these given cultural groups. This practice continues with the moderns (1200-1800 in the common era), who as Kings and emperors forced their judeo-christian beliefs upon the population; indeed their kingship made them the heads of those faiths. In other words, the king was the state-church, so the church was represented in the body of the king.
It was this against which Machiavelli protested.
The Khalifs of the mid-east, Africa and other places arose to form what is now called Islam. They ruled in places by persuasion and by force; the United States of America was formed in part to protest against the state religion which during the colonial period was constituted by the King of England (King George III and others); today in the 20 and 21st centuries, there have been and will likely continue, governments which attempt to control, even police the population through forced religion.

Indeed we learn of places around the globe
where Islam is practiced by regimes in an oppressive manner; the 14th Dalai Lama has been forced from his native Tibet into exile through religious actions taken against the Buddhists whom he leads. It seems the Chinese government wishes to direct and control his faith and others as well. Then there are the Sikhs in India, in opposition to the Hindus. They have, like many others, sought their own lands to live and practice their faith freely. The Jewish faith cannot be overlooked. It is in the arbitrary political formation of the modern state of Israel which has cast conflict upon previously settled territories.

And just now, today, in the United States
the cry goes out for the practice of religion, freely or even not at all. The civil religion of the State wishes to suppose that it can most easily supplant the free will of the people and their freely chosen faiths for a legislated, legalistic spirituality and belief system. Today we are mired in conflict regarding forced participation in health care initiatives. The legislation which possibly thwarts the US Constitution, has made its way to the US Supreme court, the highest and final authority, asking to determine if Americans can and do have the liberty to practice their faith freely and the resulting morality they derive from it.

Many in this nation believe that government is dictating their moral stance in regard to health care. Many Americans who do not follow the state instituted Civil Religion represented in the law wish to practice a faith of their own free will and to determine what, if anything this should be; that the civil religion of the American state not be forced upon them.

It is these ideas and others, as such
contained within democracy, communism and fascism against which many struggle from the bounds of religion and government.

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