Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ramblin' Thoughts

What is your idea of the function of government?

For me, as for Thomas Jefferson, it is to ensure I can exercise my rights as a citizen.

For example, if I want to operate a business, it is government's role to ensure that I am able to compete fairly, without being forced out of business by behemoths like Wal-Mart; if I want to operate a farm, I won't be forced into poverty by agri-monsters like ADM. Also, since I work for someone else's profit, if I want to join with my fellow workers to form a union so we can be treated more fairly by our bosses, then the government is the only advocate I have that is strong enough to ensure that I can.

I can't prosecute those who pollute my air and water for trespassing. My government has to do it for me.

I am part owner of the national parks, national forests, and other public lands. I have to rely on the government to manage them so that people like me can have the full benefit and enjoyment of these properties.

I believe we are all in this life together, the way the Old Testament prophets from Amos to Zechariah said, and whose teachings were brought to fulfillment by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have a government to make sure we are all able to take care of each other.

For other things, government has no business interfering: If I want to write a peaceable letter or e-mail to someone I know, government has no right to snoop into what I'm saying. Government has no say-so in who shares my bed, when, or what goes on there, as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult and not under any kind of coercion.

On the other hand, government does have an obligation to help protect our children from those who would exploit them for sexual or economic reasons. This includes ensuring monogamous marriages so that children can have the best advantages of a two-parent household.

Also, government has an obligation to see that my wife, or other person whom I designate, has every right to my person and estate, the right to visit me in the hospital or wherever else I may be, and the right to make decisions for me when I am unable to take care of myself.

I think it would be best if government got out of the marriage business. If two people want to share their lives, then they can get a certificate from the government affirming that, and if they want to dissolve that partnership later, then the courts can grant them a divorce. But if they want to call it a marriage, then leave that up to the churches, or whatever faith system the people involved may share. Churches should be free to recognize whatever marriages they choose, and not be obligated to recognize marriages that are not in accordance with the churches' creeds.

Ronald Reagan came to the White House proclaiming that "big government" was the enemy of the people rather than its advocate, so ever since then, government has stepped aside while big corporations have exploited the people. This is a violation of the Constitutional duties of the government, and it's time we got things back into the proper balance.


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