Wednesday, August 18, 2004

OK, guys, bring it on. You know how I love a good debate!

Secularism and the demise of the Democratic Party

We were sitting in a bar with a notable political pundit. We were discussing how the Democratic Party had changed, how, since the days of Clinton and Gore, the party just seemed less principled, more self serving. This person said that this was something that they had turned around a lot in his mind, and that the only thing that they could come up with was that now the party had so many tiny factions to appease that contradicted each other that they couldn’t afford to really have a “stand” on much without really distancing themselves from one of their factions.

It triggered a thought that I have held for some time, though I have kept it to myself. I link the changes in the Democratic party with a loss of faith, or more accurately, making the self the decision maker of what is and is not morally acceptable, and therefore having no higher authority than oneself to answer to. Jimmy Carter, as loathed as he may be by some on the right, truly believes that he is doing his Christian duty in the way that he goes about searching for peace. He may be misguided in many opinions, but nobody questions his sincerity.

Though both Gore and Clinton can be considered “Baptist”, by no means are they the kind of people that you know to act on that faith, though more particularly Clinton than Gore. In fact, one of the most noticed items of Barack Obama’s speech by conservatives at the Democratic Convention last month was how he was not afraid to invoke references to faith and a higher authority in a sincere way. This discomfort with religion in our country has become almost epidemic, and it is more particularly pronounced among what I call today’s “self-named” liberals. These are not the Joe Liebermans or the Barack Obamas. These are the Michael Moores, the people that speak of tolerance while not acting on it. These are the dividers, not the uniters. And I, for one, have had it with them.

When did we become so thin skinned? So what if some people are comfortable with talking about their religion? It doesn’t affect you, they can’t eat their way into your brains like some alien, and they aren’t allowed to govern your life. And if it does affect you, you are welcome to politely say that you disagree, that you aren’t interested, or whatever else you like. But after a lot of thought when it comes down to the end of the day, I’d rather have somebody that believes that they will have to account for their actions to a higher power, whatever that may be, governing this country, than a person that has no higher authority to answer to than their own ego. After all, they can’t establish it as a “state religion”, this is America, and there is value for us all in that.

For an interesting followup on this read this article from the current issue of The Nation.

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