Monday, November 30, 2009

The Religious Nature of the Right of Rebellion

by Kristo Miettinen

I've written my own view on this topic about a year ago (here).

But I'm now engaged in reading and digesting a different argument on the topic, here:

I don't agree with the author's presentation through the development of the divine right of kings, but since his credentials are more impressive than mine, I thought others here might want a gander...

___________________

Appeal to Heaven: On the Religious Origins of the Constitutional Right of Revolution


John M. Kang
St. Thomas University School of Law

William & Mary Bill of Rights, Vol. 18, pp. 281-326, 2009

Abstract:
This Article explores the religious origins of the right to alter or abolish government. I show in Part I that the right was widely accepted among the American colonies as expressed through their constitutions and, later, the federal constitution. In Part II, I usher the reader back in time and across the continent to seventeenth century England. There, I introduce two men who would have abhorred everything about American constitutional democracy - King James I and the philosopher Sir Robert Filmer. Both men, prominent in their respective domains of authority, devoted themselves to the governing axiom that kings were bequeathed a right by God to absolute rule. Part III sketches the seventeenth century arguments of two other Englishmen, also prominent--the philosophers John Locke and Algernon Sidney - who challenged James and Filmer. Locke and Sidney argued that God had never sanctioned the divine right of kings and instead had justified the people’s right to overthrow tyrants.

The arguments of Locke and Sidney will, as I show in subsequent sections, influence the American clergy who supported war against Britain and the right of revolution in general. Indeed, the development of this connection will occupy me for the remainder of the Article, but, in Part IV, I take a brief respite to summarize the historical circumstances that severely hampered governmental control over religion in colonial America and thus provided partially autonomous spaces for people to reflect on religion, including in ways that would inform their right to alter or abolish government. I illustrate in Part V how several prominent American clergymen, following Locke and Sidney, rejected as impossible the divine and supposedly infallible status of rulers. God, the clergy insisted, was the only one who could claim such infallibility; the clergy warned that rulers would do well to devote themselves to the people’s well being, not the former’s aggrandizement. In Part VI, I argue that, again echoing Locke and Sidney, a prominent group of American clergymen insisted that, contrary to the anti-democratic jeers of monarchists, God had given people the capacity for reason which enabled them to make meaningful decisions about their political future. I conclude in Part VII by illustrating how the federal and state constitutions following the American Revolution sought to protect conditions for the faithful to contemplate the religious meaning of the right to alter or abolish government.

[The full article is downloadable here on PDF. Please, no comments until you've read it. Let's keep it clean.---Ed.
]

10 comments:

Jonathan Rowe said...

I'm glad you got to this.

I was going to link to it; I still have to digest it...slowly.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Nice to hear from you again, Kristo. It warms me cockles.

I saw the essay via InstaP, and forwarded the link to some of those here gathered but we ain't got to it yet. I'm gonna insert his abstract into your post to pull it all together so we can discuss it.

Hey dude, we've missed you around here. Hope your duties are keeping you safe.

The discussions are really excellent of late because everybody's inspired to do their own digging. The results have been exc.

Nancy Jones said...

Besides my C course, I have a job and family, both of which compete to get my time. I couldn't find sufficient time for the challenging C assignments, and these people came in and saved my skin. I must commend them for the genius Programming Assignment Help. Their C Homework Help tutors did the best job and got me shining grades

Nancy Jones said...

I am looking for a Statistics Assignment Help expert for Statistics Homework Help. I have struggled enough with statistics and therefore I just can't do it anymore on my own. . I have come across your post and I think you are the right person to provide me with SPSS homework help. Let me know how much you charge per assignment so that I can hire you today

Nancy Jones said...

Matlab Assignment Help helped me to complete my seventh Matlab assignment, which was also the best-performed! It scored 92/100, which I've never scored before on any other assignment/exam in my lifetime. Otherwise, their service was as quick as usual. The delivery was also on time. I'm now requesting to use this same programmer multiple times. He seems the best in Image Processing tasks. Meanwhile, I'll ask for more Matlab Homework Help soon

Nancy Jones said...

I have just come across your post and I believe this is exactly what I am looking for. I want an economics assignment help from a tutor who can guarantee me a top grade. Do you charge per page or does it depend on the
bulk of the economics homework help being completed? More to that if the work is not good enough do you offer free corrections.

Maria Garcia said...

The ardent Programming Homework Help tutor that nailed down my project was very passionate. He answered my Python questions with long, self-explanatory solutions that make it easy for any average student to revise. Moreover, he didn't hesitate to answer other questions, too, even though they weren't part of the exam. If all Python Homework Help experts can be like this then they can trend as the best Programming school ever online.

Maria Garcia said...

Hey STATA homework help expert, I need to know if you can conduct the Kappa measurement of agreement. This is what is in my assignment. I can only hire someone for statistics assignment help if they are aware of the kappa measurement of agreement. If you can do it, then reply to me with a few lines of what the kappa measure of agreement is. Let me know also how much you charge for statistics homework help in SAS

Maria Garcia said...

Me and my classmates took too long to understand Matlab Assignment Help pricing criteria. we're always grateful for unique solutions on their Matlab assignments. Matlab Homework Help experts have the right experience and qualifications to work on any programming student's homework. They help us in our project

Maria Garcia said...

Hi, other than economics assignment help are there other subjects that you cover? I am having several assignments one needs an economics homework help expert and the other one needs a financial expert. If you can guarantee quality work on both then I can hire you to complete them. All I am sure of is that I can hire you for the economics one but the finance one I am not sure