Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Betrayal by the Faithful - A Simple Lesson in Consistency

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"Food for Thought" is an original bi-weekly column appearing every other Tuesday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by Norman Imberman. Norman is a retired podiatrist who loves playing piano, writing music, lawn bowling, bridge, reading, classical music, going to movies, plays, concerts and traveling. Archived columns can be found here. FFT-only RSS feed available here.

It’s a curious phenomenon. Recently a contentious debate has developed between those of the Christian faith and politicians of the left and the right. Some politicians wish to coerce Christian employers to enforce healthcare policies antithetical to their Christian faith in the administering of their businesses, while the Christian employers rebel against such procedures because it would force them to betray their Christian faith. Such is the problem.

The position of the Christians is based on the fact that they are being forced (coerced) to betray their most cherished beliefs. However, why is it that a betrayal of faith is the only legitimate reason for refusing to abide by the coercive laws of the State? Isn’t it a question, not of faith-based values but of any values based on free will? Why is choice, just because it is based on faith more legitimate than choice based on non-faith on any issue? Any preference that is not influenced at the point of a gun or through fraud is a matter of free will. Such free will choice may be based on faith or it may be passed on reason. The reason for the preference is not what matters in this context.

Choices based on non-faith and choices based on faith are still fundamentally free will choices in reality. In other words, all non-coerced choices are free will choices.

As an employer who pays a wage that is lower than the law allows, I am exercising my preferences, just like the Christian who rebels against State regulations that force him to comply with State-mandated healthcare regulations. If a Christian wishes to be supported by others in his rebellion against laws that force him to betray his Christian beliefs, then he must support my right to pay a lower than legal wage.

As an apartment house owner who rents an apartment for a fee that is higher than the law allows, I am exercising my free will in the same manner as the Christian who wishes to exercise actions that are consonant with his faith. If a Christian wishes to be supported by others in his rebellion against laws that force him to betray his Christian beliefs, then he must support my right to charge a higher than legal rent.

As a person who wishes to open his own post office for the delivery of first class mail, I am exercising my free will just as much as the Christian who exercises actions or fails to exercise actions that are consonant with his faith. If a Christian wishes to be supported by others in his rebellion against laws that force him to betray his Christian beliefs, then he must support my right to open my own post office.

As an individual who wishes to sell or use marijuana (but is compelled by the State to refrain from doing so), I am exercising my free will in the same manner as the Christian who refuses to abide by the laws that require him to provide abortion and contraceptive services to his employees. If a Christian wishes to be supported by others in his rebellion against laws that force him to betray his Christian beliefs, then he must support my right to sell or use marijuana.

Any action perpetrated by one individual that doesn’t coerce another individual or group of individuals can be construed as a legitimate act motivated by free choice. Such free choice is just as valid as any other free choice action, including those actions perpetrated by faithful Christians, as long as coercion is not involved.

I strongly support Christians who wish to ignore those healthcare laws that force them to betray their own faith. Those laws should be abolished. However, I submit that any Christian who wishes to be taken seriously when he exercises his faith-based preferences, but denies the right to anyone who non-coercively wishes to exercise his non-faith based preferences, is practicing hypocrisy, thus making the claim to his position untenable. It makes his position a sham and a betrayal of my personal preferences.

Christians, think about it. Be consistent and stop favoring those laws (victimless crime laws) that make criminals of almost every American.