When I ran across a recent article at “Air America” online titled: Abortion Restrictions In House Bill Show Power Of Organized Religion In Politics I broke into a sweat! (Well not literally!) However, how could it be that I, a self-professed proponent of Conservatism, could agree with ANYTHING that the “wacko Libs” at Air America propose. Perhaps I need to reevaluate my dedication to Conservative values as well as my blanket condemnation of “Libs.”
The Air America article begins like this:
The Catholic Church successfully helped deliver a crushing blow to the abortion rights movement on Saturday by insisting that abortion restrictions be inserted into the newly passed House health care bill. But this isn’t the first time that a religious organization has used its power, money, and influence to merge dogma with public policy.
Well, damn it all, they’re ALMOST absolutely right!
Two things: 1) Their naming of the “Catholic Church” as the culprit is a bit questionable — Evangelicals do deserve a big share of the credit; and 2) While they are correct that abortion restrictions ARE based solely on religious dogma and they are also correct that this isn’t the first time religion has influenced government actions; (same-sex marriage restrictions are now, thanks to religious influence on government, imposed by most states and are fully supported by federal fiat.) They are NOT right however when they suggest that the health care bill should have no restrictions on abortion. Taking religion out of the equation, abortion, in the majority of cases anyway, is a completely elective procedure and, as such, neither abortion or any other strictly elective procedure should be paid for by U.S. taxpayers. (Of course if sanity prevails, there will be NO Federal Health Care bill and this discussion will be moot.)
What about those Conservative values that deserve my reconsideration?
After just a bit of investigation I quickly discovered that I am not a textbook Conservative but I’m not far off. “Conservapedia” — the Conservative version of Wikipedia — lists 19 specific Conservative agenda items that a true Conservative is supposed is supposed to embrace:
– Classroom prayer *
– Prohibition of abortion *
– Abstinence education
– Traditional marriage, not same-sex marriage *
– Respect for differences between men and women, boys and girls
– Laws against pornography *
– The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms
– Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)
– The death penalty
– Parental control of education
– Private medical care and retirement plans
– Canceling failed social support programs
– No world government
– Enforcement of current laws regarding immigration
– Respect for our military … past and present
– Rejection of junk science such as evolutionism and global warming
– Low taxes, especially for families
– Federalism (less power for the federal government and more for local and state governments)
– A strong national defense
The four asterisked (*) items above are where I personally take my leave from this particular set of values; allow me to clarify my reasoning. Conservatism is, to me, a strictly political realm and while this list reflects a great set of personal values, those four asterisked items, IMO, have no place in the world of laws or politics. You may have also noted that these items are near the top of their list — a clear indication of how religion has already perverted political thinking.
My bottom line is this: Religious values are important to many (or most) people but they properly belong only where people willingly accept them: in the church, in the home, possibly in some microcosm of the community (where they are accepted by all members of that community) and, in general, in the lives of those who embrace them; they should NOT however have the force of law. Our great nation is NOT just populated by Christians or Jews or Hindus or Moslems or by any other single religious group and our laws should be strictly secular — not reflect the beliefs of any religion.
There are, of course, logical exceptions to a general statement like the preceding and they are, without exception, already codified into all of our laws: restrictions against causing physical harm, taking someone else’s property, etc. These may all be religious values, at least in most religions but in the context of law, they are the rules of any civilized nation.
One final note on abortion: My view, embraced by those people who are falsely label pro-abortion, is that an unborn baby is not subject to the laws of the United States (or any other entity) until it is born. People who believe this are pro-choice, not pro-abortion; they recognize that abortion does indeed terminate a potential life and that act (or “sin” for you religious folks) is the responsibility of and the rightful decision of the woman carrying the unborn child and the man who took part in the conception. That’s called “choice” and an individual’s choice is far more valuable than the religious proclamations of any religious or government body. You can “damn a woman to Hell” for her choice but arbitrary laws should never be able to prevent her from making that choice. That would be (or should be) completely outside of the realm of government.
We seriously need to keep the gate closed between the worlds of religion and politics — not doing that will, eventually, draw our system of government closer and closer to theocracy.