Rim Snake River Gorge, view East, Northeast Oregon [click photo for next . . . ]
On the road in the Northwest of America.


One of the great fundamental insights of the U.S. Constitution, derived
from the traditions of ancient Roman law, is the idea of balance of
power. Of equal importance is the principle of the separation of reli-
gion and state. Now, it seems to me, that we would benefit greatly if
we were to in a similar spirit of balance and clear structure separate
religion from ethics. Indeed, I would argue that a new set of demand-
ing moral problems makes such a division imperative.

Why? Because, in the view being roughly outlined here, the theater
of moral debate demands that we check our cloak of sectarian beliefs
at the door. For with moral questions, just as in a republic no one may
claim to be above the law, in democratic dialogue, no one or no argu-
ment may make claims to absolute authority.

How then are we to decide what is good, right and just? Well, I would
say by placing calmly the arguments, the evidence, or the competing
theories on either side of the scales of truth. And then weighing their
relative strengths and weaknesses within the widest contexts deemed
relevant. For if we really consider this process carefully, what is of
crucial importance—indeed, sacred, some would say—is the motion-
less, neutral center upon which the fair, unbiased balance of the scale

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All Photographs & texts by Cliff Crego © 2011 picture-poems.com
(created: XI.19.2008)