Monday, April 14, 2008

Individual liberty and state authority

I dislike the idea of a "faith forum" for candidates for elected office. It smacks overmuch of litmus test based on religion, something that cuts against one of the founding principles of this country.

Actually, though, it was at the CNN "faith forum" where Senator Clinton made a parallel point about the state and individual freedom. I highlight her comment because it shows a politician clearly expressing a sophisticated position on an issue of great personal and political concern to many voters.

"I believe that the potential for life begins at conception. But for me, it is also not only about a potential life, it is about the other lives involved.

"And, therefore, I have concluded, after great ... concern and searching my own mind and heart over many years, that our task should be in this pluralistic, diverse life of ours in this nation that individuals must be entrusted to make this profound decision. Because the alternative would be such an intrusion of government authority that it would be very difficult to sustain in our kind of open society."
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, April 13, 2008
Senator Clinton's remarks about a woman's right to choose draw the same line between matters of individual conscience and matters of government drawn by the U.S. Constitution's requirement for the separation of state and religion

Of course, the Constitution also guarantees individual rights to speech and freedom of assembly and association. Last night, Senator Obama, Senator Clinton, and the students of Messiah College exercised these rights. For local coverage of the students' reactions, go here.


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