Last week, known as Holy Week for Christians, a video and a shoe celebrating Satanism were on full display across the Internet, and many of us are troubled by what this says about where we are as a society. How should we respond as Christians or conservatives when ideas are promoted that we see as harmful or even dangerous? Or when those ideas are not only expressed, but are shaping public policy in the form of laws that we are all forced to obey, and into public school curricula to be taught to our children?
It is true that the expression of every viewpoint, no matter how unpopular, enjoys the protection of the First Amendment. Does it follow that we must allow every such viewpoint to have equal voice and equal sway in the shaping of public policy? It is critical that we know the answer to this question. And, if we look to our Founding Fathers, the answer is a definitive “no.”
Our Constitution provides for a representative democracy, under which the majority determines the laws and policies we choose to live under. While our Constitution protects the freedom of every citizen to hold and express viewpoints that do not align with the majority, this freedom does not extend to dictating (or even shaping) law or policy. Put simply, our Framers did not intend for government to enforce policies that are offensive to a majority of Americans (such as giving voice to doctrines that celebrate harmful behaviors).
Sam Adams warned about this very thing:
“If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approval, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.”
We need to know and understand these concepts that underlie our system of self-government if we ever hope to put the reins of power back into the hands of the people.