Political Morality

In Webster's dictionary, morality is defined as "principles

of right and wrong in conduct; ethics." The principles of

morality have countless times evolved over the ages. In earlier

times, death was an easy penalty for many crimes. These crimes

today are considered minor and are penalized with a slap on the

hand. Is this considered wrong? Who is the correct authority to

consult on what is right or wrong? In today's society, two major

factors concern how the way members of society act and behave.

The first is our national government.

Members of our government in positions of authority decide

everything in our lives in the form of laws which determine our

behavior. One of the most important documents written by our

government is the Declaration of Independence. The monarchy was

taking away power from the colonists and putting more demands on.

In return, the colonists declared their freedom from their

tyrant. In this document, it states, "All men are created equal;

that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable

rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of

happiness." The great men who wrote this down had a strong sense

of morals. They believed that men were given rights by God that

no one could take away. This is essential to the issue of

morality because it determines the rights- that are agreed upon

all- are wrong.

This brings us to religion. Religion is a major contributor

to how we think and act because it mirrors our beliefs in what we

hold as right or wrong. An example of this is the native tribes

of africa and South America where a number of tribes practice

cannibalism. While this is considered a sin in most christian

religions, the tribes have evolved into cannibalism as a way to

survive in life and have no objections to their eating habits.

The problem arises when the line between government and religion

is crossed. While religion does not have to power to punish one

physically, but rather soulfully of one has sinned. The

government has the power to sentence punishment, yet should have

no power concerning God.

Many different religions have evolved all over the world and

in the process, have people have been prosecuted in their faith.

The first settlers in the new world came here to avoid

prosecution from the powerful church/government of that time.

Specifically, the Church of England headed by the king. Puritan

leaders led their followers to a place where they could express

their religion with no fear of other faiths. One such leader was

John Winthrop.

John Winthrop was a powerful Puritan governor in the colony

of Massachusetts Bay. He believed that this was a calling from

God for him to lead the new religious experiment-a covenant with

God to built a model for mankind. "We shall be a city upon the

hill." declared Winthrop. As governor Winthrop held considerable

power. He distrusted the commoners and thought democracy was the

"meanest and worst" forms of government. Anyone who brought

trouble or had indifferent thought were severely punished to

"save their soul." As one of his extensions of his powers he

banished Roger Williams, a popular Salem minister with radical

ideas and an unrestrained tongue, and Mistress Anne Hutchinson, A

strong willed women who challenged the authority of the clergy by

stating the truly saved need not bother to obey the laws of God

or man.

Several problems arise throughout this banishment. I am

for a democratic society in which one can express his or her

thoughts without the fear of prosecution. They did not have the

luxury of this. The need for the expressment of ideas is

essential for a growing environment. If no growth is made, then

expansion of the community is halted to a standstill. The limit

of new idea's must have a point, though. In recent news, the

Unabomber has issued a ultimanium with his manuscript. In the

past, such a request would have been rediculous. In his

manuscript he expresses his view on the evils of technology.

While a citizen is entitled to free speech and press, threatening

murder is not such an option. There must be limits set. In

colonial times these limitations were set by John Winthrop. Total

obedience was required and disobedience