Monday, November 12, 2012

Time to Separate Conservatism from Religion—And Fast

It is far past time to separate the conservative movement in this country from it’s fanatical marriage to religion, to once and for all put to bed the idea that all conservatives are Christian and that to be a conservative one must be a very religious person. This is complete balderdash.

Recent surveys have put the number of nonreligious Americans at 20%, or one-fifth of the population. That’s right: one out of every five Americans does not have a religious affiliation. That’s not the same as being atheist or agnostic—we’re only 6% of the population—but it is significant. That’s because almost every argument for social conservative policies, which are a main course in the conservative policy dinner, are argued for on either religious lines or appeals to “tradition” or “Western civilization,” and those almost always come back to religion too. What that means is that there is automatically one-fifth of the population that disagrees with you, and will always disagree with you, and will very likely always support your opponent.

This is also significant beyond just politics, and just on matter of principle. All conservatives—well, most—and libertarians want a smaller government. But using religious doctrine to drive government policy seems to invariably lead to larger government. A government that pokes it’s nose not only into our wallets, but also our bedrooms. A government that tries to tell parents exactly what their kids should be taught. A government that wants crawl into women’s vaginas. This is not a small government. This is a very intrusive, very large government. The state and religion doesn’t mix very well, which is why the Founders sought that clean separation between them.
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