Skip to comments.The Religious Wars
Posted on 11/26/2003 10:15:38 AM PST by NYer
Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect yesterday's ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The original version of the piece can be found in the December issue of the print magazine.
Since last summer's Supreme Court decision in Lawrence vs. Texas, overturning Texas' anti-sodomy law, evangelicals have grown louder. Now that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has declared that gay couples have the right to marry, evangelicals are committed to making gay marriage a major issue during the upcoming presidential campaign. Their recent legislative victory over "partial-birth" abortions has emboldened them to seek additional ways to erode Roe v. Wade. They're mounting an all-out offensive for Senate confirmation of people like Alabama's attorney general, William Pryor -- who called Roe "the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history" -- to the federal courts. And they're determined to put religion back into the public schools.
The outcome of the 2004 presidential election will depend partly on what happens between now and Election Day in Iraq and to the U.S. economy. But it will also turn on the religious wars -- fueled by evangelical Protestants, the ground troops of the Republican Party. The conventional wisdom is that these issues are sure winners for the right. But Democrats can hold their own in these wars -- if they respond vigorously to the coming assault.
Democrats should call all this for what it is -- a clear and present danger to religious liberty in America. For more than three hundred years, the liberal tradition has sought to free people from the tyranny of religious doctrines that would otherwise be imposed on them. Today's evangelical right detests that tradition and seeks nothing short of a state-sponsored religion. But maintaining the separation of church and state is a necessary precondition of liberty.
Public opinion sides with the Democrats. Even though a slim majority continues to oppose gay marriage, polls show that most Americans believe that homosexual relationships between consenting adults should be legal, that the choice of whether to have an abortion should be up to a woman and her doctor, that stem-cell research should be legal, and that religion should stay out of the public schools. But unless Democrats focus the public's attention on the larger ongoing assault on religious liberty, the evangelical right will whittle away these freedoms.
Gay marriage doesn't have to be a wedge issue for the evangelicals -- not if Democrats can put it where it belongs, as another front in the religious wars. The question of whether gay couples should be treated the same as married people need not and should not involve the religious meaning of "marriage." That's up to particular faiths and congregations to decide. The issue here is whether gays should have the same legal rights as heterosexuals -- survivor's benefits under Social Security, alimony, the distribution of assets when relationships end in divorce and other legal privileges now conferred only on heterosexual couples.
Democrats should make clear that this is an issue about state power, not religion -- and call for gay civil rights. Not "marriage," but "domestic partnership" or "civil union" or whatever words will convey the same legal rights accorded heterosexuals. Most Americans think the law shouldn't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. It follows that gays should have the same legal rights.
The evangelicals' victory on "partial-birth" abortion proves only that gruesome pictures and inflamed comments can persuade a majority that a particular procedure is inhumane. It has no bearing on the more basic question of whether the evangelical view about when life begins should be imposed on the rest of America. Democrats should be clear that the issues of abortion and stem-cell research are about religious liberty. Tar the Republicans and the evangelicals with William Pryor and other nominees who want to overrule Roe. Show that the Senate Democrats' filibuster of these nominees is another front in the same religious war. Likewise, Democrats should hold evangelicals accountable for what they're trying to do in our nation's schools -- promoting the teaching of creationism, demanding school prayer, pushing "abstinence until marriage" programs, and opposing sex education. This is all about imposing their religious views on our children.
The religious wars aren't pretty. Religious wars never are. But Democrats should mount a firm and clear counter-assault. In the months leading up to Election Day, when Republicans are screaming about God and accusing the Democrats of siding with sexual deviants and baby killers, Democrats should remind Americans that however important religion is to our spiritual lives, there is no room for liberty in a theocracy.
Abortion = freedom from religion?
It appears the little man has a small mind.
Catholic Ping - let me know if you want on/off this list
Sorry Robert, but your article comes up a little short. So do you.
Apparently, Clinton wasn't the only one from that administration, who had 'inhaled'.
Let us be clear, the democratic party has declared Christians enemy number one. All Americans need to understand this about the democrats.
WE Support Sodomy; WE Oppose Public Prayer
Damnit! How much more clear do things have to get before the American people understand the direction we're being led in?
Reich has no problem NOT letting us express our point of view, yet he says that WE are trying to take away the liberty of others. Let's be honest; we both are trying to have our values prevail in this culture. It is the Libs who are on the offensive to overrule the Christian standards that have guided our country for over 300 years, from the time of the Puritans.
Typical democrat spin...
According to a FOX News poll conducted in the days following the Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Massachusetts, 66 percent of Americans oppose and 25 percent favor same-sex marriage. These new results are similar to those from August 2003, as well as results from 1996, when 65 percent of the public said they opposed allowing same-sex couples to marry. source:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103756,00.html
Apparently a 41% delta is a "slim margin" by democratic math. No wonder why they can't figure out that Bush was elected president.
Democrats should be clear that the issues of abortion and stem-cell research are about religious liberty.
Abortion = freedom from religion?
If anyone wants on or off my ProLife Ping List, please notify me here or by freepmail.
Reich is like the worst possible combination of Paul Wellstone and Bill Clinton. He bears watching, because he manages to make this agenda of persecution sound so reasonable to so many people. All patriots, especially those who are Jews and conservative Christians, had better be vigilant, otherwise we'll be at the mercy of people like Reich, just like they were in Romania...
"We don't have enough real Communists in the country to fill a football stadium!" --A common expression in Romania before the post-war Communist takeover, as reported by Sabina Wurmbrand in The Pastor's Wife. Her husband, Richard, spent 14 torturous years in Romanian prisons, and Sabina spent years at hard labor in the gulag.
Somebody go wake up the GOP. It is snoozing. It should be screaming about these things.
>> ... Democrats should remind Americans that however important religion is to our spiritual lives,...
Try some. Religion helps you side with decency, family and spiritual growth instead of with sexual deviants and baby killers.
>> there is no room for liberty in a theocracy.
We live in a theocracy now, except it's the church of the anti-God, under the trinity of Darwin, Marx and Freud. It is the church of socialism. It worships power. Its works are evil.
There is no conflict between being good and being free. On the contrary, only the pious will keep their liberty. "Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Liberals have "freed" no one. They have used the courts and Democratic majorities in Congress to impose on us the most destructive, soul-corroding, liberty-robbing tyranny ever spawned by the mind of man, unrestrained by the tempering influence of the Christian faith.
Unrestrained abortion and its death list numbering in the tens of millions of the most innocent and helpless, radical feminism and its implacable and irrational hatred of fatherhood, gay marriage and its open and shameless mockery of the traditional family, and the welfare state and its fascist-inspired apotheosis of "progressive" activist government are symptoms of a profoundly sick society imprisoned by reckless appetites and demands for instant gratification. These are not the hallmarks of a free people.
Ah yes, the great straw-man of "theocracy" rears its ugly head once again. Some on FR scream this as well. No matter that no Republican, and no conservative of any great consequence, has ever called for the combination of the church and state into one entity, which is what a theocracy is.
To a leftist and/or a secularist, a "theocracy" means basing law on a moral code that they disagree with. Killing a baby or marrying someone of the same sex is convenient to their moral worldview, therefore anyone who is against it is a destructor of freedom who wants a "theocracy."
I'd be delighted if the left wants to start a religious debate. Ultimately they'll lose.
I just wanted to repeat that for the cheap seats!
Thirty years ago, a close friend, educated in Italy, cautioned me that the US was headed down the same path as the 'ancients' of Rome, Greece, et al. He pointed to the feminist movement and predicted that, as history has already shown, when women rise to power, homosexuality soon follows. These two movements, he claimed, would be followed by a weakening of the American society and eventually, its fall. At the time, I laughed myself silly, but I never forgot those words.
Yesterday, in researching those comments, I came across this web site. While the author detests Bill Clinton, he is no fan of the current president either. However, his statements corroborate everything that my friend said! It's definitely worth a cursory read. I have it bookmarked. For example, he writes:
"Starting around the decade of the 60s, there began to be observed a marked change in the character of the White male students enrolled in U.S. colleges. This change was commented upon by some of the more astute professors, and had to do with the tendency of these young men to be too soft, too timid, too lacking in what had always been considered normal male aggressiveness. Now, it must be said, there have always been men who were softer, more effeminate, more "girlish," than average; just as there have always been women with a tendency towards masculinity, but this was not what these professors were observing. What they saw was a relative increase in the number of such men, and this phenomenon has been growing at an ever accelerated pace ever since. "
Now, one may well ask, just what all of this has to do with the feminization of our young White men; the ever-growing number of "sensitized" males and outright homosexuals we see all around us? Well, the answer lies in the replacement of spiritual man's aristocratic values, which foster honor, ambition, discipline, and self-control, with economic man's democratic and feminine values, which foster safety, comfort, security and the home. In a democratic society the role of the government shifts from that of a father, who maintains order but allows for the incentive and freedom necessary for success, to that of a mother whose function is to provide security and comfort to all of her children; to make sure that their demands are satisfied.
As the role of the government changes, individual behavior follows suit. Children begin to be raised differently, and a disciplined environment gives way to a permissive one. Such things as spanking or disciplining a child become subject to censure, and the result is a failure on the part of the child to learn from his mistakes, to mature and grow up. This move from a masculine idealism to a feminine materialism leads inevitably to hedonism and self-absorbed egoism. The young -- both male and female -- put self-gratification as their most important goal in life, and it is this urge to satisfy the senses that economic man exploits and encourages. In the case of the male, it is not the acquisition of honor, glory or esteem that is encouraged; what is touted as most important is indulging in whatever happens to satisfy one physically and emotionally: if it feels good, do it; if it's something that discomforts you, avoid it. Honor, glory, and self-control are not encouraged by economic man because there is no money to be made from such things in his world, and money, as a means to power, is what counts for him."