Newt Gringrich responded with this provocative question after Mitt Romney stated his life’s passions: his family, his faith and his country. His statement might have been a plea to end Romney’s periodic mention of religion, which Gingrich sees as a façade, but I’d like to voice a similar phrase myself for a different reason.
All the presidential candidates have made claims about their religion and their loyalty to its principles. Great. We believe you’re faithful. But whether or not the talk is baloney, I want to see the pious conversation dropped as well.
I’d also like to remind everyone that here in America we have a separation of church and state. And though we are all expecting at least a handful of people from the Republican Party to speak, preach and propose legislation in the name of the lord, it doesn’t mean we should tolerate it. I am all for religious freedom, but I don’t believe that the law should be determined by anything but reason – if reason happens to fall in line with religion, all the better.
Furthermore, the conservative side should be least likely to impose religion-based laws. They should do the least to impose any restrictions on anyone! That’s the whole point of being conservative is having a smaller, more conservative government, which doesn’t get in the way of people’s lives. Gay marriage, for instance, shouldn’t be a federal issue at all. A national ban would be a restriction that empowers the federal government to affect people’s personal relationships; therefore, enacting one wouldn’t be very conservative. (So cool it, Mr. Santorum.)
I just recently registered to vote, and I can safely say that no one who raises the Bible in attempts to restrict a group of people’s civil liberties will ever get my vote. I’m sure many others feel the same. The possibility of someone else’s religion being the primary influence over the laws that rule my life is a scary thought.
Religion can be a set of values that influence a candidate’s moral compass, but it’s neither a foundation for legislation nor a means of justification in this secular country. Just because you expect religious debate and campaigning, doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it. Like Newt, all voters should recognize the pious baloney and ask it be dropped (at least “a little bit”).