Here’s the article: http://www.dennisprager.com/a-note-to-conservatives-who-are-secular/
Let me start by saying that I am a secular conservative. I am not religious, and I have no idea if God exists or not. My label as a “conservative” stems from my belief in small government and fiscal responsibility.
So I have no religious axe to grind. But I admit, I find the subject of religion fascinating. People are willing to die for their faith! People make profound life choices based on FAITH. Billions of people!
Dennis Prager is brilliant, though controversial, and he always leaves me with something to think about whether I agree with him or not. This article of his, in particular, brings up an important discussion. I think everyone should read it.
First, I am often maligned as a conservative female. Those on the left cannot understand how a woman can be a conservative. Apparently I have aligned myself with old white men who want me barefoot and pregnant, and if I do dare to get a job, those same men will pat me on the ass as I walk by them in the hallway and will tell me they take their coffee black, one sugar.
Come on. My thinking is this: I vote based on my belief in small government and fiscal responsibility. Social issues have no place in government (I don’t want the government telling anyone what to do beyond the basic “do no harm”).
That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about the social issues. I do. And they’re on the liberal side. So I have a problem: no party fits me. I want abortion to be legal, gay marriage to to be legal, a strong national defense, and low taxes. I am left to vote for politicians who will support my fiscal policy concerns, and then to vote individually for acts or propositions that support the social issues I believe in.
I don’t think I’m alone.
And that brings me back to Prager’s article. I love the idea of secular conservatism. But Prager suggests this is not a good thing for society.
I automatically bristle at that. Must I be religious to be moral? Must a people be religious to form a moral society?
Liberals bristle at this, too. The left tends to be secular, yet of course the majority of people on both sides have a sense of morality. But the question under debate is, if morality is not defined by a higher power of some kind, then it may be defined arbitrarily. Subjectively. Anything can be moral.
Religious people believe God defines morality. They have an absolute set of standards to behave by. Secular people have two choices: look within for a code of morality (which is subjective), or look to the government.
The left looks to the government. Sugar hurts people, so we need a law that you can’t buy a soda bigger than 16 ounces! Smoking is evil so we need to outlaw it in public!
But here’s just one example of how that thinking goes wrong: the left wants to ban cigarette smoking and legalize marijuana smoking. We could debate the nuances all day, but the point is that there’s no real logic to this. It’s entirely subjective.
Or how about this: the left wants equality between the sexes, they tout feminism, and then…they vote for Hillary Clinton. She stayed with a man who not only cheated on her, but treated women like dirt. She maligned and sought to destroy the women that Bill had affairs with. I’m not blaming her for her husband’s actions, but I still wouldn’t hold her up as the poster child for feminism. But since she’s a “woman,” I guess her behavior is okay. We need a woman in the White House!
And this: Christians can’t even put a Christmas tree up in the town square, but Muslims should be allowed to wear the hijab everywhere. What happened to religious freedom for all?
You could say the same about the right. If the right believes in the sanctity of life, how do they reconcile a pro-life position with a pro-death penalty position? There are nuances here, too, but you get the idea.
The religious right would be able to point to their religion as the reason for their stance. The rest of us are relying on 1) innate reasoning, 2) science, 3) ???.
I don’t have the answer. I’m not saying one way is better than the other. But it’s interesting to think about.
And Dennis Prager takes it a step further. He asserts that godlessness has led to disaster in the West. He writes, “And why do secular conservatives think so many affluent and well-educated Americans have adopted left-wing dogmas, such as feminism, socialism, environmentalism and egalitarianism as their religions? Because people want to — have to — believe in something. And if it’s not God and Christianity or Judaism, it’s going to be some form of Leftism.”
I think this is true. And I think adopting any “ism” as your “religion” is problematic. But I don’t think it has to be this way. Just because I’m not looking to God does not mean I will become an evangelical socialist.
But this isn’t about me. Or you. It’s about society at large, about human nature. Without religion, is society doomed? Are we better off if the majority of people in America are religious?
The problem is some of the religious dogma that tends to be hateful, like the anti-gay marriage stance. Or the pro-life movement that puts a lot of young women at risk. Secular people cannot get past these issues.
So for now, I’m okay with secular conservatism. I wish there was more of it. Bring on the party that believes in:
1. Marriage equality.
2. Legal abortion before the fetus can live on its own outside the womb.
3. Strong national defense ’cause they are some crazies out there.
4. The right of the populace to arm themselves (because government is a threat to the people – see history).
5. A strong welfare system that helps those in need and encourages them to get back on their feet.
6. Helping the mentally ill.
7. Local control of education.
8. Freedom of religion.
9. Getting money out of politics.
10. Supporting the entrepreneur and the small business, and checking big business.
Oh party, where are you?