Courts Are the Heart of the Nation

US_Supreme_CourtI applaud the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, issued on June 30, 2014. Through this case, it was upheld that the people who found a company have the right to run their business “in accordance with their religious beliefs and moral principles.”

My reasons for supporting this decision have to do with the importance I attach to the values of the heart and conscience. My comments stem from the Back-to-the-Body perspective. I will comment on the Supreme Court decision, and I will expand on the Back-to-the-Body perspective.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

dancing_heartI think the case would have been different if Hobby Lobby had required that anyone working for them should refrain from using contraceptives; or if Hobby Lobby had somehow forced its employees to continue to work for them in spite of the company’s refusal to provide contraceptive coverage. Hobby Lobby has done none of that. Instead, Hobby Lobby has refused to do something that they believe is against their religious faith.

I believe that personal or corporate stands stemming from religious values or principles of conscience should be nurtured and protected. We entrust the courts with the task of being the “heart” of the nation (in the Back-to-the-Body perspective), expressing those sentiments that have given rise to the founding of the US as a nation. In this case, I side with the majority opinion. Next, I will expand on the understanding of the Back-to-the-Body perspective.

The Courts Play the Function of Heart in Government

brainOne of the postulates of the Back-to-the-Body perspective is that the government plays the role of “brain” in a society; the people (das Volk, el pueblo, o povo) play the role of “stomach”; and the culture (writers, free press, artists, intellectuals, teachers, religious people) play the role of “heart” in society.

However, the triad “stomach,” “brain,” and “heart” can be found on many levels. For example, if we focus our attention on the government itself, we can see in it also a triad. Thus, we can view the government itself as having three parts, as follows:

Stomach: —> the legislative power
Brain:       —> the executive power
Heart:      —> the judiciary power

legislativeThe legislative power is made up of representatives of the people. They are the ones who control the “power of the purse.” In the US Federal Government, Congress has money, which it receives from the people. The other branches of government receive money from Congress. Also, Congress passes laws and expresses the will of the people. These are all characteristics of the “stomach.”

The executive branch of government is the “brain” in the sense that it does not have money, and it does not set the laws of the nation. The executive branch “executes” the laws passed by the legislative and administers the money approved by the legislative. The will of the country, as expressed by Congress, is executed by the Executive Branch.

Through the courts we achieve balance between the legislative and the executive branches. We expect our judges to be impartial and nonpartisan. We expect the judges to be the heart of the nation and to express the spirit of the nation. We want our courts to be the heart of the nation.

courtroomThus, we turn to the laws to preserve and protect the sentiments that motivated the creation of a nation. We look at the Constitution of a nation, its legal traditions—but mostly, we look at the judges as people, as individuals, to be like weathervanes for the sentiments of the nation.

The judges are there to follow the law, but the laws are constantly changing—and in many cases, those changes have come as a result of decisions issued by the judges. Thus, the spirit of the nation remains alive.

I finish with a quote

Do not weep when the most excellent withers! Soon it will rejuvenate itself! Do not mourn when the melody of your hearts falls silent! Soon a hand will be there again to tune it! (Friedrich Hölderlin. “Hyperion.” iBooks.)

Paulo-Juarez Pereira
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
July 1, 2014 (one week before I travel to Brasil)

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