Politics and Morality

Posted: April 30, 2007 in News and politics

Monday, April 30, 2007

In an Associated Press article by Christopher Torchia reprinted in today’s edition of the Kitsap Sun, page A7 (print edition), the protest in Turkey of 700,000 against the observant Muslim candidate for president, coupled with an incident I became aware of on 1960’s Norfolk, Virginia Navy base, become penultimate proof that secular and moral governance are compatible.

The article in today’s paper lists reasons Turks do not want religious people in their government. According to the writer the Muslim observant opponent, (Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s foreign minister Abdullah Gul, is widely expected to win the presidential election by the country’s 550-seat parliament.” Further, the article delves into Turkey’s history by recounting its founding by “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, an army officer in World War I”. The article goes on to quote a 67-year-old house-wife, Ayse Bari, “We don’t want a covered woman in Ataturk’s presidential palace. We want civilized, modern people there.”

I recall the story that a Turkish ship was visiting Norfolk and one of its sailors got mixed up with a local girl who accused him of rape. I didn’t see it, but I was told the ship got underway with that Turkish sailor hanging by the yard-arm. Was that a Draconian enforcement of moral code? You bet it was. But, it is the same country that doesn’t accept a religious leader for president. The religious faction, again according to the article, is supposedly making gains but the demonstration and expected results of the election would indicate that the secular government is still alive and kicking.

I am frequently hearing bible-thumpers say that you can only be moral if you are religious. Of course that’s the opinion of the extreme right-wing of the churches. Rational, but religious, people probably don’t believe that. I mean, it is rational to believe that if a person follows moral guidelines but doesn’t believe in a Supreme Being, then he/she must be moral. It is only if you suspend belief that you can believe otherwise.


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