Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Are Christians In Politics Legislating Religion?

Let me start with a confession (no pun intended). I believe that politics and religion are a bad mix. I have seen it while growing up in Europe. I believe the Founding Fathers got it right when they produced a secular governing document called the Constitution of the United States. And make no mistake about it, the Constitution is a secular and not a religious document.

The role of religion in politics is a very contentious topic. There are those like me who say that government has no business legislating morality. And there are those, like Mr. Frank Turek, who say that all laws legislate morality. So let's go to the video tape:

Are Christians In Politics Legislating Religion? - Frank Turek Video

I don't agree with Mr. Turek's shallow definition of morality as simply declaring "one behavior right and the opposite behavior wrong." The term "moral" has a much, much deeper meaning.

Christians consider adultery immoral behavior. If we were to adopt Mr. Turek's definition of morality, adultery would not be considered immoral if there were laws on the books declaring it "wrong behavior".

Let's adopt his definition to laws like picking up after one's dog in the park. Would anyone consider a person immoral for failing to comply? Or not signaling before changing lanes. Again, wrong behavior by law. But immoral?

Finally,  it was illegal for Rosa Parks not to give up her seat to a white person. Who would be considered immoral by Mr. Turek. Ms. Parks or the Jim Crow laws stripping her of human dignity just because of her race?

Mr. Turek is also narrowly defining "religion". There is a lot more to religion than "how, when and where to worship". Religion is also a set of beliefs. It has a little concept called "sin". And when individuals say that we should make some behavior illegal because it is a sin, that is legislating religion. When individuals say that gay people should not have the right to marry because the Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination, that is legislating religion. When Catholic elected officials are expected to codify into law Catholic doctrine declaring a fertilized egg a person, that is legislating religion.

Of course, all religious people should participate in the political process. All those eligible to vote should vote. Just check the religious dogma at the door before stepping into the voting booth.