Sunday, October 26, 2014
Natural Law and Man
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” — United States Constitution, Amendment I
Almost every United States’ citizen has heard or is familiar with with the first amendment to the United States Constitution, either memorizing it in a government class in grade school or claiming the government is infringing on their rights. Basically, it guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids congress from both promoting one religion and also restricting an individual’s religious practices. This amendment is where the popular interpretation “Separation of church and state” comes from. There is a constant battle of government made laws versus divine laws, which can be seen throughout history, even in Sophocles’ play, Antigone, the character Antigone says “… I will bury him myself./ And even if I die in the act, that death will be glory./ I will lie with the one I love and loved by him—/ an outrage sacred to the gods! I have longer/ to please the dead than please the living here:/ in the kingdom down below I’ll lie forever./ Do as you like, dishonor the laws/ the gods hold in honor”. This passage is significant because it exemplifies that divine laws triumph over man made laws.
Polynices, Antigone’s brother, was seen as a traitor to Creon. When Polynices dies in battle Creon leaves his body unburied as a “city- wide proclamation” and forbids anyone to bury him or even mourn him. Antigone is outraged by Creon’s law stating that anyone disobeying his law will be executed. She then confides in her sister, Ismene, to help her give their brother proper burial rights. Ismene refuses for fear of Creon, Antigone then...
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