Friday, July 2, 2010
Consent of the Governed
"How good to thank you, Lord,
to sing your love at dawn."
This is what greeted me Tuesday morning when I woke before sunrise. The colors gradually changed into brilliant white, but the cloud formations stayed pretty much the same.
This week I've been reading and reflecting on the Declaration of Independence. This extraordinary document does it's moral reasoning in a way very different from the way most Americans do it. Most do a kind of "law and order" reasoning which says, "To do the right thing simply obey the law."
In the Declaration of Independence we say very clearly that to do the right thing we must disobey the law and rebel against our king. We feel that we owe the nations of the world an explanation for such rebellion. The heart of our moral reasoning is that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed." In other words, no one has any more power over me than I give them.
We list all the injustices that we have experienced from England and declare our independence from such an unjust government. To do the right thing we must go beyond the law.
This kind of moral reasoning is a model for me in dealing with any unjust law, no matter what its source.