Prior to reading blakesimons’s post “Bye-Bye, Gaddafi…wait, who?” I was one of the many people who had never even heard of Muammar Gaddafi. And I certainly didn’t realize there was a revolution occurring in Libya. Embarrassing. Immediately I went on a internet search to find out more. I soon found myself on the New York Times website, which had just posted an article about the revolution.
Essentially, the article was announcing the END of the revolution and the beginning of a “new and more pious state.” Libya’s transitional leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, was quoted as saying “We are an Islamic country, we take the Islamic religion as the core of our new government. The constitution will be based on our Islamic religion.”
War has ravaged Libya for over eight months and now the nation quite literally has to start from scratch in recreating a government. (State of Nature, anyone??) The people of Libya are working on constructing their own social contract that will work for their society. What surprised me as I read the article was that Church and State will not be separated. This concept is so stressed in our heterogeneous American society that I have a hard time imagining that a government could even function while the two were not separated!
However, maybe that is the issue. The United States is so religiously diverse, no one faith could be accepted to play such a large role in government. Yet, 97% of Libyans are Sunni Muslims. In his “Letter Concerning Toleration”, Locke argued that “the care of souls is not committed to the civil magistrate, any more than to other men.” One of his main arguments for this is that penalty and force do not change a man’s religious beliefs. Yet, do you think Locke’s argument applies in such a homogenous society? Locke was writing during a time of religious conflict… would his argument have changed had he been writing for a population in which 97% shared the same religious beliefs?
It is clear that the majority of Libyan people want a religious based government, one that is founded in Muslim beliefs. Let’s just say, hypothetically, that 100% of Libyans are on the same page with this. Theoretically, everyone would be satisfied, right? But how will this play out in our interconnected world? What would immigration and emigration be like? International policy? Is it realistic today to have such a homogenous society exist in the long term?