American conservatism includes many deeply religious people, but also many of us who are not particularly religious – agnostics and atheists – all necessary, if conservatives are to win elections.
You will not see me in church on a Sunday morning or see me praying to God on any given occasion. I wish not to offend any one group or religion by my words here; you can believe anything you wish to believe on how we were created, whether God is right or just, or whatever else you believe in. I wish not to infringe on anyone’s religious view here, just to state my opinion on how God and religion do not belong in politics, or, in my opinion, in the public arena. I do not believe in God or disbelieve in God, I just have a hard time believing that a book or one’s set of religious ideals should rule every aspect of our lives. Yet, despite this, I know what is right or wrong, and contribute it to American values and virtues rather than religion.
One of the reasons I am a proud conservative is because it comes closest to the belief of what our Founding Fathers had in mind for this country, and the values of that system give an equal shake to anyone who wishes to come here. Religion in my opinion is not as forgiving, and can be as big of a divider in this country as race. One of the reasons why, is God is different to everyone. In almost every religion there is something different about God or how God is represented. That in and of itself is a good cause for argument between two people of different religions. However, the same two people can put aside their religion and subscribe to almost the same set of values without bringing God or religion even into the picture. The point of all this is that even though their religion is different, any two different people probably have a lot of the same views about family, hard work and their belief in the principles many Americans all share to one extent or another.
Religion also leaves many people by the wayside if you don’t subscribe to their beliefs. Many gays and lesbians share all the same values as any other American yet they are shunned in most religious circles, because of their sexual preferences. I’m a happily married man and I do not subscribe to their way of doing things, but who am I, or who are you, to judge them? To me, that is just as bad as judging someone of a different race simply because of their color. I also believe that they should be entitled to anything that a married couple should be entitled to, including adoption and getting the other spouse’s Social Security benefits after one spouse has passed on. I know that a lot of you on the other side of this issue come up with things such as “if we allow that, there will be even more wackos out there lobbying for their stated sexual preferences”, and maybe there will be, but if gays and lesbians follow the same value system as the rest of us, are over the age of 18, are not accosting minors, and they are doing it of their own free will and not being forced into it, then they are not harming anyone, and should not be ridiculed or excluded from society or religion for that matter. I had until recently a lesbian couple working at the place where I work, and these two ladies were in every way ordinary Americans. They share most, if not all, of the same values that I do other than the fact that they are gay.
I truly believe if the extreme right fringes of our country were more tolerant of the gays we would have most of them on board with us in the conservative movement, but many of them are driven away because of religion, or the religious views of others. Am I of the opinion that we should allow schools to teach about gay sex? No. Am I of the opinion that they should be teaching sex in any of the schools? Maybe in high school, but before that, it should be limited to discussions of the differences in gender only, and only with parents in attendance. The point here is, even though their sexual orientation is different than ours they can subscribe to and promote conservative values. Religion has little if anything to do with it.
My being against teaching gay sex in school is one of the same reasons school prayer should not be allowed. Sexual preference and religion have no business in our schools, these are subjects that are for home discussion, not school discussion. School is for learning, not for teaching about sex or religion. Religion belongs in one’s home or place of worship, not in our schools. In instituting prayer in our schools, we would be forcing the beliefs of one religion onto the ones of another religion, or on those who do not wish it, causing strife. Just like teaching sexual orientation would force a set of unwanted beliefs on others. Politics is another grey area that should be touched on only in the aspect of current events, and the history of our country. Other than that, it is best left out of the school system as it is, as we know, far too dangerous of a subject.
My main point in this whole statement is that I think that if everyone would promote Good ole American and Conservative values rather than God and Religion, we will probably get a lot more people on board who would otherwise be turned off, but yet who are good Americans and have the same set of values, and know the difference between right and wrong. The Conservative Movement should be about American values and principles, not about religion.
In values we can all find common ground, but not so much with religious views – too many differences. Right and wrong have no religion, they are of almost every religion and of none. Don’t get me wrong, I think religion does have its place in our society, but that place is a place of our own choosing not religion’s choosing. Religion does not choose us, we choose whatever religion we choose to be. But American values and principles reside in the vast majority of all Americans, and can be used to bring all of us closer together regardless of religion, race, or sexual orientation.
Comments on “God, Conservatism and Values”
Here is a slightly different viewpoint:
October 13th, 2009
One of the reasons I am a proud conservative is because it comes closest to the belief of what our Founding Fathers had in mind for this country, and the values of that system give an equal shake to anyone who wishes to come here.
Unlike Mr. Corsey, I believe in God and I believe him to be something more than a mere Watchmaker. But he and I agree on the fundamentals: live and let live. Even the Bible agrees with this: “Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ” (and numerous other passages which espouse essentially the same idea: a Christian’s battle is spiritual and personal not worldly and political).
Some say conservatives should find a better name than “conservative”, because, well, in a twist of historical irony, it is the present-day conservatives who represent the classical liberals of the enlightenment era the best—I don’t think the Founding Fathers could even imagine the monstrosities present-day liberals concoct here and abroad daily.
In fact, some liberals exploit this apparent misrepresentation of labels by claiming that “liberal”, in essence, means “someone who advocates for change” and that “conservative”, in essence, means “someone who opposes change”. This is semantically correct, but in a political context, utterly inadequate—and misleading, as it deceives more people to declare themselves as “liberals” than they might have (everyone wants some sort of change in their lives), if they knew the true meaning of “liberal” and “conservative” in political context.
In the end, I like the name “conservative”, so I propose a counter definition, which, I hope, stays semantically correct and politically relevant. I would claim that a “liberal” is someone who either advocates changes for change’s sake or is unafraid of unintended consequences of changes he advocates. A “conservative”, on the other hand, is someone who would oppose new changes until it is proven to him that the change would be beneficial for him—or sufficiently beneficial for others that he cares about that he can accept the loss on his part.
The definition for “conservative” that I propose is also, I think, what some people might call “common sense conservative”. After all, if you gave someone (with common sense) above definitions for “liberal” and “conservative” and asked him to choose one or the other as description of himself, which one would he choose?