On the way into work today, I was listening to 660 AM WFAN, the former home of Don Imus — another victim of the Racial Injustice Media Entertainment Complex (RIMEC). It appears that the radio station is trying just about everyone to see if any one person would stick.
So today’s host was Lou Dobbs, and in one of the segments, somehow connected with Mitt Romney, he says something along the lines of:
- Republican Party has been taken over by the Religious Right.
- The Religious Right is infecting the body politic with religious beliefs.
- This is bad because the Constitution, our American values, and traditions mandate the separation of Church and State and government cannot establish a religion.
- People can worship whoever they want, but shouldn’t let religious beliefs dictate their political choices.
Okay, now, seriously, I knew Lou Dobbs was stupid but this has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.
Normally, such silly statements do not deserve my wasting time on them. Interestingly, however, I happened to have had exactly this conversation with a friend of mine who calls himself a Libertarian and cannot join the GOP because, as he put it, “it’s controlled by the God Squad.” Yet, his beliefs track almost entirely the Reagan conservative position of small government, return to values, and strong defense. Plus, my friend is a lot smarter than Lou Dobbs, and is otherwise a very rational person. So we began talking about it, and I hope he’s going to think about it some. I reproduce the argument here.
Basically, the notion that religion should play no role in politics is nonsense on its face. These liberal secularists seem to think that politics is some sort of a science with universal laws and theorems that can be scientifically tested and proven, and any intrusion of the personal or the emotional is a violation of the sanctity of the political lab environment. What nonsense!
As the feminists of the past were so fond of saying, “The personal is the political”. And as liberal secularists themselves love to point out, one’s economic status, educational background, and racial ethnicity are all incredibly relevant to how one might vote, and they should be. Hence, African-Americans who vote Republican are called “Uncle Toms” and uglier words, because the belief seems to be that blacks are owned by the Democratic party.
I agree with them that the personal is the political. One’s education, background, class, social status, sexual preference, ethnicity, etc. etc. all play into how one might think about an issue. My question is, Why is religious belief off that list of things that should influence political decisions? Is religion not personal, not formative of that person’s values and outlook, at least as much as, if not more than, where the person went to college?
And yet, according to these liberal secularists, voting for gun control because I was taught by my Sociology professor that proliferation of guns is bad for society is A-Okay, but voting against abortion because I was taught by my pastor that killing babies is bad for society is strictly verboten.
What gives? Why is religion alone singled out among influences on a person’s outlook as the thing that may not speak its name.
Furthermore, are liberal secularists even aware of the liberal churches in the U.S. (and elsewhere) whose theology is rooted in politics? I attended one such church for quite a while, because I like my politics conservative and my religion liberal. Every Sunday sermon was about some sort of political issue, and the church served as platforms for liberal politicians from Bill Clinton to Al Sharpton. To advocate for certain issues — public housing, universal health care, anti-war protests, etc. — was a part of the mission of the Riverside Church. Isn’t that violating separation of church and state?
Fact is that everyone makes decisions on politics based on his or her religious belief — including the non-religious or anti-religious beliefs of secularists. They base their decisions on their belief that there is no God, or that there may be a God, but he’s just an old man in the clouds. Other folks make decisions on the basis of the belief that 72 virgins await them in heaven if they die in course of Jihad. Some of our existing laws — such as the prohibition of polygamy or prohibition against murder — are based on Judeo-Christian values that we’ve inherited from our forefathers.
The Constitutional prohibition is fairly straightforward: no establishing a national church, as England has done. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how people of faith ought or ought not to vote in an election.
Lou Dobbs and his fellow travelers suffer from theophobia. The irrational fear of God, of religion, strikes secularists most particularly. I hope they will wake up and realize that they have nothing to fear. I hope they will realize that the theophobes are themselves religious zealots following the religion of Anti-Church. They have that right in our society. But they do not have the right to silence the rest of us who are not theophobes, nor do they have the right to insist that we leave our religious beliefs and conscience at home, anymore than they have the right to tell gays that they should leave their sexuality at home.