O.K. – I know that this is a controversial subject, but at times it is worth taking the time to explore choices, consequences and opinions.
Earlier today a report came out in Fox News of – what they referred to as – a Holy War in a little town in NC (the state of my residence). The article stated the following:
A meeting of the King, N.C., City Council was packed on Monday with dozens of citizens who asked city officials to put the Christian flag back up at the local Veterans War Memorial. The council had voted to take down the flag rather than spend the estimated $200,000 to $300,000 it would cost to fight the American Civil Liberties Union in a First Amendment lawsuit.
“The city received inquiries from the ACLU and the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State suggesting that the Christian flag flying over the Veterans Memorial at Central Park violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” City Manager John Cater said. “At the advice of the city attorney, the City Council voted to take down the Christian flag at last night’s City Council meeting, citing the enormous cost associated with fighting a potential lawsuit on the issue.”
Katy Parker of the ACLU in North Carolina told FoxNews.com, “The city council did the right thing to take down the flag because it was endorsed by the city as part of a public monument. Now, if private citizens want to hold the flags, it is absolutely their right to do so.”
As an ethics speaker and author, I often pose questions that seem to illustrate the conflict between law and what many would call ethical behavior. If you define ETHICS as “that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions,” one might easily say that the values of this community – their human conduct – represents the ethics and values that they hold fast to and to remove (as is the case here) the Christian Flag from a public display lack ethics, values and does not represent the code of human conduct that is pervasive in this tiny North Carolina town.
QUESTION: When testing the outcome of an action (the removal of the flag in this case) between the ethical beliefs of the community in contrast to the law – which should win?
Should the offense of one or two outweigh the desires of the many?
BUT LET’S LOOK FURTHER…
Today, according to a CNN report, top constitutional authorities in France approve the banning of the burqa and other Islamic face coverings. The report states the following:
In September the French senate approved the law – making France the first European country to nationally impose such a measure. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by the lower house of parliament in July.
French people back the ban by a margin of more than four to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey earlier this year.
In this case the question, like the one above, rests on the law vs. the ethical choices of a group or religious beliefs of a group and popular legislative beliefs and actions. Female members of the Islamic faith in France are faced with a real conundrum. Do they comply with Islamic law or expectations or do they comply with the law of the land in which they reside?
QUESTION: Is it ethical for a government to take an action that addresses the ability of an individual to practice their religion when the interests of the population is take away that religious compliance option?
It is not my intent to express an opinion one way or the other, rather, my hope is that we raise the discussion regarding religious desire, practice, compliance, law and ethics.
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