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View Diary: the issue of conscience versus dogma (50 comments)

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  •  let me offer my incomplete thoughts (5+ / 0-)

    I believe that a public official has a responsibility to the COnstitution over his or her personal beliefs, no matter how strong those may be.  If the beliefs and constitutional duties are in conflict, either violate the beliefs or resign the public office.

    That said,one can seek to use powers of persuasion.  One can and should seek to frame what one seeks to achieve in terms of the constitutional framework  And as we know there is more than one possible interpretation of the Constitution.

    I disagreed with Bart - whom I knew slightly - on what he was doing.  But I also did not interpret what he was doing as imposing from his viewpoint.  Rather, he would argue that by allowing tax dollars indirectly to be used for abortion was imposing on those of his beliefs.  You and I will disagree with that, but it is a valid point of view within our system.

    The answer is that all of us at times have as a matter of law our beliefs imposed upon, even matters of great moral urgency.  Quakers like me pay taxes that are used for wars of choice.  I could cite many others.

    The question then becomes one of balancing - recognizing that some are going to find their principles infringed upon versus the need of the community as a whole.   I would posit that there are no absolute clear demarcations of when something goes too far, in part because we have people of strongly held moral beliefs that conflict with one another.

    Where is becomes interesting is when those conflicts are within a tradition/organization, be it religious, political, or perhaps even military?

    That is the process that started the reflection that lead to this posting.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Thu Jan 27, 2011 at 06:26:36 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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