"Ah, Judge, your damn laws -- what good are they? The good people don't need them and the bad people don't obey them." -- Amon Hennessey

Wed, 22 Dec 2004

[19:37] Towards Real Faith-Based Politics

Let me start by saying that I believe in God. I may not believe in God the exact same way you do, if you do, but I don't think that actually matters.

I have to credit my mother-in-law's partner Rich (who is English) with pointing out that, in the United States, only conservative Christian Republicans ever bring God into political discourse. He suggests that this may be a mistake. I'm inclined to agree.

Although Americans are taught in civics or history classes about the separation of church and state, the Constitution itself merely prohbits the establishment of state religion. This is crucial for true democracy, but, let us make no mistake about it: America was founded by people with fervent spiritual beliefs, and it is still, today, a religious nation. Any political appeal will be lost on the American public if it is not grounded in, or at least makes reference to, a set of values and ethics that are born of honest faith.

For my part, I cannot believe that salvation in the Divine distinguishes between us on the basis of color, race, gender, sexual orientation, or other physical criterion, nor on the circumstances of birth, be it ethnicity, wealth, cultural identity, nationality, or language spoken. No just or equitable God could regard any human soul less valuable than any other. Therefore we must regard them all likewise. This is the start of true faith-based politics, politics that uphold justice, democracy, equality, and peace. We pursue politics that benefit the widest number of people, because, in some way, it must be God's will that we do so - that we seek to care for each other, and treat all souls equally and with respect.

The notion of a Chosen People who share a covenant with God must therefore be expanded to embrace all humanity. Likewise, the idea of a Promised Land must be brought to encompass the entire Earth, and not just a particular patch of land at a particular latitude and longitude and only for people who profess particular beliefs. We must recognize that God has chosen all of humanity for salvation, if we can work towards it together, and promised us a magnificent planet for our paradise.

Therefore our politics must be guided by that recognition. Our faith demands that we demand, and work ceaselessly towards, world peace, sustainable energy, clean air and water, community-centered development, safe working conditions, all manner of education, universal health care, and an end to hunger. These are the things that will care for all God's children, and not a select few chosen by birth, race, religious belief, or nationality.

As a consequence, the commandment to be fruitful and multiply must be regarded as obsolete. God cannot possibly want that any longer - humanity was meant to grow up in an earlier era. But as our species continues to spread, we risk ruining the beautiful planet that has been provided for us. God's handiwork is shown nowhere more richly than in the diversity of life on this planet, a diversity upon which we, in our overwhelming numbers, daily wreak ever more havoc. God's gift to us, which we have no means of replacing, must no longer be brought to the altar of capitalism for sacrifice without regard for the consequences. Similarly, religion must learn to embrace access to birth control, family planning, and people's right to consult their own conscience over giving birth to an unwanted child, or allowing a terminally ill loved one to pass into God's arms. We are not living in the Bronze Age anymore.

Coercion does not bring people to God and to salvation - only love does that. Why should not love of God's work and all God's children be the inspiration for political action? By invoking the Almighty as the basis for our political positions, we wish to appeal to the hearts of everyone, to what Martin Buber calls the "still, small voice" inside each of us, that connects the Divine to our sense of what is right. We can forge a paradise on Earth on behalf of all God's creatures, if it be God's will for us to do it.

I really wish some Democrat would have the guts to stand up and say the kind of thing I've just said. I know I'm not the only one who believes in this sort of thing, and I bet they'd get a lot more votes if they did.

[18:44] Anarchosyndicalism, the Computer Strategy Game

Jo & I are working on a computer strategy game called AnarchoSyndicalism. There are some design notes are on the University of Openess Faculty of Cartography wiki. The game is a inquiry into the motivations of action for individual versus collective benefit in society, a conceptual extension of Jo's mudlondon project into a game simulation, and more or less a response to being bored with FreeCiv, SimCity 2000, and Master of Orion 2, but wanting to play in a similar kind of computer strategy environment. I have already started implementing some agent behavior code and space modelling in Python, with vague thoughts about a cross-platform implementation in pygame. Please feel free to add your thoughts to the wiki page.

The Book

Items of Local Interest
· our Mapping Hacks blog
· my O'Reilly Net blog
· geocoder.us
· Locative US
· NoCat Wireless
· UO Faculty of Cartography
· Locative Media Lab
· World Summit for Free Information Infrastructures

Items of Recent Interest
· Knitting
· Tag Maps » SlideShare
· Storing RDF in a relational database
· Maps of War
· IEs4Linux
· Solar flares cause GPS disruptions
· Using Linux to Build Custom Topo Maps and Load Them into Your Garmin GPS
· Strong Angel III - Final observations « ICT for Peacebuilding
· Green Wifi - The Solar Wi-Fi Grid Project
· WFS Basic | OGC Network
· XSLT stylesheet for transforming GeoRSS to KML
· WMS: How does it work in Google Earth?
... more del.icio.us links

Prior Musings
[2006] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2005] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2004] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2003] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec
[2002] Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

Regularly Scheduled Programs
· jo's devlog
· Testing Range
· Idle Words
· mattw.fn_blog()
· AkuAku
· Anarchogeek
· Laughing Meme
· zephoria
· Aaron Swartz
· Praxis + Parfait
· Accordion Guy
· behind the times
· Oblomovka
· Lawrence Lessig

· freenetworks.org
· Ruckus Society
· Old-Growth Preservation

l337 h4><0rz
· Axis of Aevil
· Kirrily "Skud" Robert
· Meng Weng Wong
· Simon Cozens
· Steve McNabb
· Forrest English
· Drew Woods
· Sean Burke
· Nat Torkington

Friends, Romans, & Countrymen
· Limit of X
· San Matejo de Yabulda
· T.J. Mc
· Forecast Music
· Eric Schwartz
· Pseudopod

21st C. Living
· perl
· Squigby
· acme's recipe archive

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All original material on this website is licensed under the Creative Commons.
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