Sunday, January 10, 2016

Imaginary inauguration of a Louisiana governor

This is a letter the Advocate apparently chose not to publish, even after confirming two earlier versions. As our late friend, Bill Bankston said, freedom of the press does not imply a citizen's opportunity to express opinion.

I submitted the original version of the letter below on December 8, 2015. I also shared it with Jared Arsement on December 3, 2015 and a couple revisions thereafter. He kindly forwarded the original to the Gov.-elect Edwards’ media team for consideration. I submitted to the Advocate revisions every week thereafter.

I imagined, by virtue of my letter to the editor, to take the controversy off Gov.-elect Edwards if he, according to my dream, would decide to use the idea. However, I wanted everyone to act according to personal preference. Civic morals come only because people want civic morality.

When I learned inauguration day would start with mass at St. Joseph’s cathedral, I thought that was a perfect beginning for separation of Edwards’ private hopes--I guess, for an afterdeath in heaven--from civic hopes for each Louisianans' personal integrity.

It seems self-evident the only way separation of state from church will happen is if each person separates personal hopes from civic needs. And people don’t even know if they’d want their hopes: for example, heaven may entail witnessing what is happening on earth and that continuing experience might be hell. I want to collaborate for personal liberty with civic well-being.

I think the only reason we do not enjoy personal liberty with civic well-being is because no one has ever proposed it. Some people think their personal god will eventually prevail, lifting them to civic supremacy. They indolently wait for their god to take action, even unto the era of their personal posterity—their children and grandchildren. This folly has prevailed in civic USA for 227 years—more than eleven generations.

It seems neither the Advocate nor the Edwards team sees good in personal liberty with civic well-being as I express it. Maybe other, future people will like the idea the way they express it. Regardless, here is the latest version of the proposal for January 11, 2016 in Baton Rouge. I would have loved to read the Advocate caption and perhaps will, but apply mine, below.
For the inauguration of Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards:

Private prayer offers personal comfort and hope, whether in the heart, with authentic family or among public believers. Spontaneous, public prayer seems personal. However, “legislative prayer” divides a civic people—70 % factional Christians and 30 % holding other opinion.
Delegates to the 1787 convention in Philadelphia, appreciating personal liberty, did not impose prayer. However, the first Congress, representing nearly 100 % Christian citizens, restored Protestant morality. Louisianans, in 2016, can establish civic morality--for liberated persons living during the same years in the same land.

Opinion-based morals are not bedrock civic morality. For example, Greece v Galloway, a 5:4 opinion, tentatively condones legislative prayer.

Humankind inexorably discovers physics-based ethics. Physics is energy, mass and space-time, from which everything emerges—the cosmos then life. The more each person understands physics, the more humankind can benefit--discover ethics.

Some institutions create doctrine based on a god hypotheses. Physics often disproves the doctrine without negating the hypothesis. Some doctrine perhaps harmlessly helps believers cope with heartfelt unknowns--to privately pursue no-harm hopes. But hope cannot be the bedrock of civic morality.

A civic people collaborate for justice. Woe is invited when opinion contradicts physics.

For example, the Bible informs the slave and master relationship, so some Bible apologists endorse slavery. However, physics informs humankind that a person may own another person only by brutality.

Delegates to the 1774 Continental Congress considered stating opposition to England’s imposition of slavery. However, the ratio of slave states was 8:5, and unity was essential for independence. So constrained, the 1787 delegates scheduled ending the slave trade, trusting future civic people for abolition. In 1861, the slave-state ratio declined to 15:19. Religious opinion yielded to physics.

Undaunted, seven states, the CSA, expressed economic complaints and concluded “the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.” Defying their weak ratio, 7:27, the CSA, on religious opinion, invited woe.

Before the Civil War, in 1861, Abraham Lincoln vaguely cautioned reliance on religious opinion: “Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?” Near war’s end, in 1865, Lincoln plainly reproached Christians: “Both [sides] read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other.”

Civic prayer pits citizens against citizens; Louisianans may heed Lincoln and end civic prayer.

History and a civic people may inspire Governor-elect Edwards to assert that his god is in his heart, home, and church: But Louisianans elected Edwards to be civic governor. Perhaps Governor Edwards will challenge the people rather than their gods to provide “ultimate justice.” Louisianans would deliver.

Copyright©2016 by Phillip R. Beaver. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for the publication of all or portions of this paper as long as this complete copyright notice is included.