Well, friends, it's been a while since I've gotten all philosophical, but I believe it's time to do just that. I debate with a few friends from my high school days regularly (often over my blogs) and one topic that comes up an awful lot is whether or not it is acceptable to use one's faith as a grounds for political decision making. The argument from one of them is basically that I can believe what I want but I should suspend my faith in my political opinions.
Honestly, friends, this is absolutely impossible. My faith defines me more than anything else in my life...more than my career, more than conservatism, more than my family. My identity, first and foremost, is that of a person purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ and saved by the grace of God. Due to this, the Bible is the primary document that sets my life in order.
There is however are two other documents that I hold only slightly below the Bible in terms of my ideas and ideals of what is right and wrong. The first document is the United States Constitution. The second is the Declaration of Independence. To give an analogy, if I said I hold the Bible in esteem of 1000 feet in the air, I'd say I hold the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence about 995 feet in the air in esteem. There is a difference, but I hold both very, very highly. As a matter of fact, I believe these two documents as they exist today (including the 27 ratified Amendments) best demonstrate in a modern sense God's perfect governmental style (now I said BEST not PERFECTLY, mind you) over all other forms of government.
So where is the balance? There are issues I am willing to go to the wall on. I also believe those issues are in line with both the Bible and the Constitution/Declaration of Independence tandem. One such issue is abortion. As Americans we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights (for those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, that means those rights cannot be taken away, period) amongst which are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I have asserted on more than one occasion that these three are a hierarchy, specifically, my right to pursue happiness ends at your liberty (I cannot enslave you as I pursue my own happiness) and my liberty ends at your life (I can do what I want, provided I do take your life.)
Since nobody can say with any level of certainty when human life begins (except for it's after conception...otherwise you show me a sperm cell or egg cell that grew into a person on it's own), it is best to error on the side of caution and not destroy a potential human life.
There are other issues, however, I must find compromise on in the political arena. I believe that all people have the right to equal protection under the laws of our nation. This is why while I will continue to insist that the word "marriage" specifically denotes one man and one woman, I cannot insist that other combinations of two adult humans cannot petition the government to recognize their union with legal privileges similar to those of the marriage union. I can even see considering the legal term for all unions "Civil Union" on the legal license, reserving the title "marriage" for those unions performed in church. (Yes, there will always be people who use the term "marriage" colloquially, but there's not much I can do about that.)
Why do I agree to this compromise? Simple. I respect our nation's founding documents. I respect the fact that the First Amendment not only gives me freedom of religion but also gives others the same right. It further gives me the right to share my faith with others and discuss our differences and yes, attempt to convince them that I am right (they have the same right).
I know I'll likely receive grief both from my fellow Christians and from those who disagree with me. But ultimately I believe this is the most equitable solution. There are other issues where the same type of pragmatism can be employed. (I've continued to argume to teach some form of Intelligent Design, not Creationism, alongside Evolution. Specifically focusing on complexity and signs of a designer without naming that designer.)
There is room for a middle ground without compromising one's faith. Because ultimately, if one respects the Constitution, they can find the balance between that and faith. I recognize it is akin to standing in the middle of a teeter-totter and balancing, sometimes with a person on each end who is not assisting in any way but just adding weight. However, it is reasonably possible to balance faith and the Constitution while being true to both and compromising neither.