Dear Lord, Covid19 has been creating havoc in the lives of so many people. So many people have lost their near and dear ones; their livelihood have been disrupted. O Lord, we pray for a solution to this disruption. In your wisdom and mercy, O Lord, let people be able to rebuild their lives again. Dear Lord, let healthcare professionals and scientist be given wisdom to find effective measures to contain the germ causing Covid19. Dear Lord, let people be given prudence to prevent spreading of the infection from one person to another. May you bring healing on this earth that you have created. Let people on earth realise their mistakes, and O Lord, in the days to come, let such germs remain where they should be. We pray for the leaders that you grant them wisdom to take political measures to bring healing and to stabilize society broken by Covid19. Dear Lord, in Jesus name we pray that your eyes would look on us favorably and our lives would once more be free of Covid19. Amen.
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Saturday, November 21, 2020
In a liberal democracy or any state, actions that are harmful to others are illegal. So killing is illegal; it is a crime because it harms others. So is stealing a crime because it harms others. But what about actions of an agent that do not harm other people?
Many of the actions that are not harmful to others are not considered a crime even if it is harmful to the self. This is because liberty is an important category for a liberal democracy. So many of our actions are not considered illegal even when they may be deemed immoral or unhealthy. For example, smoking is injurious to health. There is no dispute with this fact. Yet, in a liberal democracy, smoking would not be considered a crime. This is so because the person's liberty trumps over the potential injury smoking may cause to the agent. Many people in the society would also consider watching of pornography or consensual sex outside of marriage immoral. But again these won't be consider illegal because the liberty/freedom of the agent trumps over certain other people's idea of morality. However, there are certain actions that may be consensual or is chosen by the agent for herself/himself and yet is illegal or must be considered a crime. What are some of those actions?
Consensual cannibalism is an example when an action is consensual and yet is considered a crime. There is a story of a person who offered himself to be eaten when someone sent out an invitation to eat a human being. The two agree that it was consensual and there is no coercion involved at all. Yet, the cannibal was arrested. You can google or read the story here: Victim of cannibal agreed to be eaten | World news | The Guardian.
Pedophilic action is another consensual action that deserves criminalization.
On a slightly different note -- because here it is not about two individuals choices, but an action chosen by an agent for herself -- one may impose some form of punitive measure for driving without helmet or seatbelt. Here, the agent may not harm anyone just by driving on the road without wearing helmet or a seatbelt. Even if there was an accident, it may harm the agent iherelf, not anyone else. Yet, punitive measure for not wearing seatbelt or helmet is fair.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
When we say 'secularism', it is often understood in different ways by different people. For example, in India there is this idea among some people that secularism entails respect of all religions. So some these folks say that no one should say this religion is bad/wrong; people need to accept that all religions are equally valid and no religion is more correct than others. Now this is a wrong understanding of secularism.
In order to remove confusion, we need to differentiate between political secularism and social secularisation. Let me explain what these mean.
Political secularism does have some sense of respect of all religions. But what is meant here is that the state should not discriminate any citizen on the basis of religion; the state should not say people of this religion cannot vote or people of that religion cannot have access to justice in the Court etc. Political secularism implies that the state is not going to discriminate any citizen on the basis of his or her religion. (As an individual I might say this belief of religion A is wrong or that practice of religion B is morally bad. But that's my opinion, not the state's opinion. As part of freedom of conscience that any citizen has, I can have my negative or positive opinion about this religion or that religion. But the state is not going to discriminate religious believers on the basis on his or her religion.) This is an essential aspect of political secularism.
But political secularism also implies separation of religious institution and state. Religious leaders will hold the rein of power in religious institution; while political leaders will hold the rein of power in political institution. This is the second aspect of political secularism.
The third aspect of political secularism is that citizens have freedom of religion. This is closely related to the second point. This says that since the state has no state religion, as religious institution and state are separate, citizens are free to choose this religion or that religion or no religion. The state will not dictate citizens' religious belief.
Social secularisation on the other hand is the transformation or state of society that is devoid of religious values. For example, if the atheists are successful in converting all the citizens into their way of belief, then that society will be a highly secularised society.
If the state is politically secular, won't the society also be a secularised/irreligious one? Not necessarily. Apart from the state, there are other institutions. One is family. The state can't dictate what religion a family must follow. So families can choose to be religious. Also there is civil society, and this includes clubs, churches, NGOs, Gurudwara etc. These civil society need not be irreligious; they can be religious too. Freedom of religion that political secularism offers allows other institutions to be religious within the bound of public order.