Friday, June 17, 2011

Faith is Inseparable from Politics

Yes. You read that right, faith is inseparable from politics. I've recently spent a lot of time in debates with agnostics and atheists who are telling me that I can't include my faith in the political discussion because other people don't share my views.  My response is of course I can!

Here's why: America is not made up of groups.  America is made up of individuals who form groups.  Each individual's personal beliefs effect their personal opinions on any given issue.  Those beliefs are based on life experiences and their religious beliefs.  (Those who are atheists, their lack of belief is also part of their opinions.)  To tell an individual to simply ignore their faith when making decisions is, in a word, preposterous.

Let me give you an example.  It's a hot button issue, but it's also one of the best examples in this case: abortion.  Deep down in my heart, I am staunchly opposed to abortion. I'm opposed to it because I believe the most fundamental right of a human being is the right to life.  I believe that life ought to be protected at all stages, including in the womb. This is something that scientific evidence, the Bible, and basic logic (by that I mean that I know life begins at some point after conception, it is safe to consider life beginning at conception in an effort to not destroy human life) has convinced me is true.

Given that I believe that unborn child is a human being and that I also believe that the arbitrary destruction of a human being is the most basic definition of murder, I therefore believe that abortion is murder and ought to be illegal (except in cases where the mother's life is in danger and the doctor chooses to save the most viable life), regardless of how that child was conceived.  (In short, I see the abortion issue, first and foremost, from the perspective of the unborn child and his right to live, and secondly from the perspective of the mother.)

How could I, in good conscience, not stand up and fight against abortion in the arena of ideas and support candidates who do the same?  How could I reasonably ignore the beliefs I hold so dearly when I go to cast my ballot, just because those values are not shared by all?  The answer is I cannot, and I will not.  Nor should I be asked to ignore those beliefs.

Now I am by no means recommending terrorist tactics like blowing up abortion clinics or murdering the doctors who perform the procedure (regardless of the immorality of that doctor's practice, right to life extends to that doctor as well).  What I am saying is that it is incumbent upon me to engage this issue in the arena of ideas in an effort to convince other Americans that I am right and to convince them to also vote that way.  Those who disagree with me have the same right to so work to change hearts and minds of those around them.

In a society where people decide who to vote for base on how pretty they give speeches or, in the famous case of David Brooks, by the crease in his pants, don't tell people of faith that the Bible is an impermissible way to arrive at your political values.  Quit trying to silence us, and just let the debate happen.  What are you afraid of, exactly?

Herein lies the real issue:  Liberals have been taught to silence their opponents as a rhetorical tactic, mainly because actual head to head debates between Conservative and Liberal perspectives have never ended well for the Left. Sure, there are certain front statements made, like attempts to take an intellectual high ground with the idea that opinions reached without a faith based perspective are somehow more scientific, but I say baloney. Let's have a debate, a public one, with the judges being voters.  Stop saying that certain paths to an opinion are invalid. 

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