Government And Sheep
Sheep and shepherds were the subject of the readings in yesterday’s mass, in particular, Jesus saying this:
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
That’s a fine image if applied to God’s relationship to people, or a parent’s relationship to his kids. But when the deacon prayed something like:
And may all government leaders remember to treat the people as a sheperd does his sheep,
I did not respond with “Lord, hear our prayer.”
I kept silent, because I think the shepherd-sheep image is a very bad way of looking at the relationship between government and citizens. In my view, government does not exist to meet all my needs, protect me from all harms, and raise me to be an obedient little sheep. No, it exists to do the bare minimum necessary to keep us all from killing each other. That’s it.
Unfortunately, my view is not the dominant view. Or even a popular view, as I am reminded by this story in the paper today:
State Rep. Pat Moore, R-Pleasant Grove, says some of her friends have been hurt as back-seat passengers of vehicles involved in accidents.
That’s one reason she’s sponsoring a bill that would require occupants of of a car, pickup truck, van or other motor vehicle, including people in a back seat, to wear a seat belt while the vehicle is moving.
“We need to be as secure as we can in the car, so that if it does suddenly stop, or there’s an accident, we’re protected more,” Moore said.
Right. This is the Shepherd-sheep mentality. The sheep – Moore’s friends and the rest of us – are too stupid to take care of themselves, hence the good shepherd – Moore – will protect us from ourselves.
Give me a break. I realize the costs of this legislation won’t be high, but still, doesn’t anyone care that Moore is telling us we are too stupid to act in our own best interests?