Archive for law

Our Legal Environment

Posted in Atheist, culture, history, life, politics, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by chouck017894

Rules of the game: That is what cultures and societies establish and speak of as “laws,” and which, ideally, institute a framework of conduct that presumably serves to protect the majority.  But when a minority faction becomes the majority that occupies the seats of law policy for the nation, the likelihood of impartial interpretation of law becomes dubious.

As noted in the earlier posting, Democracy Under Siege (June 20), perfidious factions (extreme religious right) have for years sought to chip away at the safeguards that were established in the United States Constitution in a disloyal attempt to jam their religious interpretations into government rule.  If a wall is not maintained between church and state the result is theocratic bedlam, and gross orgies of persecution and harassment are enthroned as divine justice.  The clerical rule of Iran through the last few decades is a good example of such a divinely brutal system.

The United States skated close to the edge of disaster through eight years under a president that thought he had been divinely chosen to direct policy and the course of action that the nation should follow.  But his appointment had not been by majority choice of the people as it should have been, but by a Supreme Court that was heavily indebted to a Republican power base which had stacked the court with five doctrinally “conservative” Catholic “justices” out of nine seats.

When that court-elected president neared the end of his detrimental term in office, the US Supreme Court under Chief Juistice John G. Roberts, a doctrinally conservative Roman Catholic, openly indicated that the court was s willing to render wide-ranging decisions that would reverse time-honored trends in jurisprudence.  Those desiring a theocratic takeover of the nation were ecstatic at the decisions of the court that limited citizens’ rights to challenge government support for religion!  Anti-evolution propaganda thus gained muscle to combat well-proven evidence of evolution and inject into schools the biblical myth of creation as “scientific creationism.”  The Supreme Court also chose to ignore medical  evidence as a consideration in some abortion cases thus imposing  theocratic limits upon rules that had been established in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade.   And true to doctrinally conservative interpretation of law, the court increased pressure on scientists and educators to alter or even suppress scientitic research and findings that conflicted with the schema of the religious right.  Religious theory was/is being wedged into government policy.

With the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court the nation is now confronted with having still another Roman Catholic added to the Supreme Court, making the religious beliefs of SIX out of nine justices a drastic imbalance in the court’s point of view.  Having a Latina woman on the court is, in itself, a wonderful declaration of democratic principles.  Unfortunately, we should be excused for wondering can such an ideologically imbalanced Supreme  Court remember that narrow dogma is NOT the mark of wise democratic justice?

Burden of Proof

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, humanity, politics, random, religion, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by chouck017894

In a court of law, at least in the United States, there is declared an obligation to prove affirmatively a disputed claim relating to an issue that is being contended in court. Because it is always the plaintiff (claimant) that brings the action, it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to persuade the court of the merits (truth) of his case. The plaintiff must therefore establish his case beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a civil case, however, the claimant is allowed what is called “a fair preponderance of the evidence” to establish the truth of his claim. In other words, reasonable doubt can be muddied and manipulated by legal theatrics.

How do these rules of “justice” stand up when questions regarding religion are presented? Unfortunately, history shows repeatedly that in cases debating issues of “belief” the scales of rational justice too often suffer considerable abuse.

In a theocracy, for example, where some religous faction holds iron-fist control of the state, “justice” is balanced against a defendant’s acceptance of the in-power’s religion. In such a religion-dominated governing setup, if one is charged with even a misdemeanor and does not subscribe to the prescribed manmade dogma, the defendant has virtually no chance of receiving genuine justice. When a faith system—any faith system—exerts muscle over the balance of national inquiry, neither spiritual nor human welfare is being served: only those in the seat of power benefit.

So it was considerably alarming in the United States when, in the opening days of the 21st century, the citizens of the U.S. found religious fundamentalists actively seeking to destroy the whole foundation of democratic principles in hopes of imposing their narrow concepts of a “Bible-based” nation. Through their clamor and forgery of the nation’s true history they thus placed themselves in the role of plaintiffs in the court of popular evaluation. Unfortunately for them, the claim of “revealed” wisdom and guidance made by these would-be controllers is not a premise that can be advanced beyond reasonable doubt. Presenting the Bible as their authority is not persuasive either, even in a civil court, for there are countless translations and interpretationsof that book. Moreover, the original authors of those stories were convinced that Earth was the center of all Creation.

But there still remain reasons to worry about the religious fanatics seeking to chip away at the principles set forth in the U.S. Constitution and in the Bill of Rights. The heavy-handed manner of the Supreme Court in the 2000 election belied the noble principles of “goverment of the people, by the people, and for the people,” and by Supreme Court rule a man was set in the Oval Office who brazenly claimed to be chosen by God! Inspired by biblical tales no doubt, he and his cohorts quickly mired the nation neck-deep in an illegal war; those who were taken prisoner were held without charge and without access to legal counsel; torture was approved and indulged in; citizens’ rights to privacy were betrayed—and numerous other biblical niceties were extended. Meanwhile the rich quickly got richer as they sank even deeper into spiritual poverty.