Douglas Hill
opinion, humor and small town common sense
Friday, November 05, 2004

Religious Morality vs. Secularism

The left tirelessly scorns the morality of what it refers to as the religious right (as opposed to other Judeo/Christian faiths?), implying that the religious right has designs to impose its morality on them. The left argues, properly, that not all Americans subscribe to a singular notion of faith. Agreed. Our country welcomes people of all faiths – in fact, one of the first freedoms sought by people coming to the newly discovered Americas was the freedom to practice their faith in peace. There are more varieties of faith practiced in the United States than space permits to list here. We are also home to agnostics and atheists – philosophers of every persuasion. So just how is it that evangelical Christians have become the whipping boys of the secularist left -- denigrated as red neck, bible-banging zealots hell-bent on imposing their notions of hellfire and damnation on us all? Perhaps the left has singled out that particular faith for ridicule because the sect’s belief in the literal word of the bible represents for the left the most extreme contrast of faith and rational secularism. But what exactly is it about the morality of the faithful that the left scorns, is seemingly so afraid of?

The core moral values of Judeo/Christian morality are expressed in the Ten Commandments. Moreover, our country was founded on those moral precepts. Those moral commandments inform our civil affairs as well, and are codified in our secular law. The religious/moral proscriptions against killing, stealing, etc. are paralleled in our civil laws. I do not know exactly what it is that the left finds so objectionable in such reasonable proscriptions. To object to such a moral/legal code would be to argue that it ought to be an option or a right to kill, steal, etc. In the absence of such a moral code, right or wrong does not exist. Freedom without moral parameters is anarchy.

There is no philosophical conflict between Judeo/Christian morality and secularism in this country. The two concepts conform to one another, as hand in glove. The core moral values of church and state, as discussed above, align without opposition or antagonism, and, as one, inform our moral compass.

Both capital punishment and abortion challenge our core values. There is a core moral proscription against taking life – killing another human being – but civil exceptions have been created by the judiciary. (Though even in this the judiciary has acted unevenly with regard to those two issues. In the case of capital punishment the supreme court has merely held that the notion of execution is not unconstitutional, and leaves the matter to the polity of each state to decide whether or not the political will of the people is to condone execution or not; whereas, in the case of abortion, the supreme court has taken the matter out of the hands of the polity, and prescribed by decree that abortion is sanctioned in every state of the Union. The political will of the people is not considered relevant by the court.) Both judicial exceptions to the moral proscription against killing another human being challenge a fundamental core value of our culture. (I say of our culture, as opposed to of religious morality, because as noted above, our moral sense is predicated on core values shared in parallel by notions of religious morality and by civil society, which include a proscription against killing, whether we are a person of faith or not.) Killing another human being is as morally offensive to an enlightened secularist as it is to a pious man of faith – in our culture (as opposed to, say, an Islamofacist) – whether prescribed by judicial fiat or not. Such an act offends our moral sensibilities, whether we are religious or not. Moral consistency suggests to us that killing is wrong. Period. (One could argue that the one moral, as opposed to judicial, exception would be killing in defense of one’s own life.)

An effort at cultural revolution is currently underway in this country. In its effort to advance abortion, gay marriage and other liberal initiatives, the political left has sought to reform our cultural values through judicial imposition. It derides our core moral values as theocratic morality, separate from society and state. At every turn the political left seeks by court decree to strip any reference to God or morality from our schools, courthouses and public places. Nativity scenes are no longer acceptable for viewing during Christmas – or should I say Winter Holiday. It is eerie how reminiscent of the Chinese cultural revolution, and the great purges of Chairman Mao, are the current efforts of the radical left in this country today.
Henry David Thoreau

Simon & Garfunkel

Designed by Anja Stern (Brazil) at Blogskins
Modified and adapted by Douglas Hill
Powered by Blogger