4.25.2005 | Faith and conservatism

Why does Christianity in this country automatically have to be assoicated with radical conservatism? Or I should say, why are conservatives hijacking the Christian religion to serve their own ultra-conservative interests?

Normally I wouldn't care -- we all know President Bush is a man of faith, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But now we've got the Family Research Council calling the Democrats' filibuster of Bush's extremist judicial appointees a filibuster "against people of faith and conservative values" -- basically implying that Democrats oppose anyone who believes in God. A picture shows a young person holding a Bible and a gavel, saying that "he should not have to choose."

Well of course not! No one is saying that you can't be a Christian to serve on the judiciary. What should exist, however, is some sort of understanding that your commitment is to the law first, your faith second. We don't live in a theocracy, and it's fine for us to have whatever religious beliefs we want under the freedom of religion. But freedom of religion also means not forcing other people to have the same beliefs you do.

It's not just the false appeal to faith that bothers me -- it's that it's being exploited to get rid of the filibuster, an institution as old as the Senate itself. That we would consider undermining our very form of government to achieve an objective as narrow as confirming a few out of Bush's hundreds of judicial nominees boggles the mind.

And what exactly are "conservative values"? I'm a person of faith, but I want my government to guarantee my religious freedom, not undermine it by injecting anyone's religion into the law. The conservative values here aren't even about Christianity; it's about using the judiciary to destroy the legal framework that's built up over the last century to allow Congress to provide basic guarantees regarding (for instance) labor and the enviornment.

I really don't mind if people get rid of the filibuster or lobby against labor or the environment -- that's part of freedom of expression. Just please don't exploit my faith to do it.

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