A truly good government is one that serves citizens; that is, a good government is one of the citizens, by the citizens, and for the citizens. A good government is one tamed by civil liberties, which means civil liberties have been translated into laws that require government to treat all citizens as though born equal, and to preserve, protect, and defend the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as though they are unalienable. A good citizen is one who practices civil liberties as a personal moral code even though it means having to suffer the burdens of tolerating behaviors that offend and of enduring intellectual battering in the free market of ideas. In other words, civilized behavior for both government and citizens is that which establishes justice, ensures domestic tranquility, promotes the general welfare, and secures liberty as though liberty is a birthright for all humans. These are the essential tenets of Freethought, and finally in Europe and its colonies in Western culture's 18th century these truths became self-evident for many citizens. The first government to be dedicated to Freethought was created by European colonists who wanted to be governed by a government tamed by civil liberties.
Among the most important civil liberties is separation of government and religionism, which is the precondition essential to making a Freethought culture possible. Freethought is impossible in any nation where the government is entangled in religionism. Sectarian governments always have been, always are now, and always will be the enemies of Freethought.
There it is.
How do I know this? For literally thousands of years governments and religionism have been entangled in theocracies (the religious leaders of the dominant sect rule directly) or in theocratic governments (the religious leaders of the dominant sect or dominant religion rule indirectly) and „in no instance have they been seen the guardians of liberties of the people." (James Madison, „Against Religious Assessments", 1785, The Annals of America, Vol. 3, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1968, p. 19) If religionism exerted beneficial moral influence, which is the triumphant urban legend about religionism, a theocracy would be a paradise of eunomy where all citizens enjoy the freedom to pursue happiness throughout their lifespans. There has never been a good theocracy in the past, there are no good theocracies existing today, and there never will be a good theocracy in the future. There it is. Theocracies are always horrorshow because religionism exerts detrimental moral influence.
There it is, and there it always shall be.
W. Bush's faith-based initiative will be a cultural disaster because it will increase the government's entanglementin religionism, thus eroding cultural secularism and increasing the efficacy of religionism's detrimentalmoral influence. Faith-based organizations will be given vastly expanded opportunities to commit the crimes that have been, are now, and always will beunwritten SOP for them. The government will be made more vulnerable to theocratic corruption, thus ensuring that it will increasingly engage in all the oppression, repression, and suppression that have been, are now, and always will be official SOP for theocratic governments. Instead of leading the U.S. towards becoming a more moral, thus more civilized, culture, W. Bush will be leading the land intended to be of the free deeper into the mire of uncivilized, immoralreligionism. W. Bush's faith-based initiative will create a cultural environment that encourages religionists to be more savage. There it is.
The Founders of our nation knew that religionism exerts detrimentalmoral influence, which is why they created a secular government. The law known as the First Amendment separates government and religionism because religionism has been, is now, and always will be the biggest threat to We the People's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Separation requires the government to be neutral towards religionism, meaning the government protects equally both freedom of religionism and freedom from religionism. Separation limits the government to punishing the faith-based crimes religionists commit by forbidding the punishment of religionists who believe in theologies that inspire faith-based crimes. The Founders intended to liberate the government from entanglement in religionism, thus requiring religionism to earn whatever cultural importance it would have in the U.S.
There are things to realize, and the most important of them is that the U.S. desperately needs the White House, Congress, and Supreme Court to begin preserving, protecting, and defending the wall of separation between government and religionism. A seculargovernment is essential because only a seculargovernment will preserve, protect, and defend the civil liberties that are necessary to create and maintain a civilizedsecular culture. Only a civilized secular culture can successfully establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare, and secure liberty as though liberty is a birthright for all humans. If We the People want to live in a land of the free, there's no other way to go. There it is.
Published in the 2002 January/February issue of the American Rationalist ©.
(Last change: 25-11-2003)