(To my Christian friends: Most of you are good people, but on the issue of organized religion, we live on different planets.)
Leading up to the recent presidential election, I cast my lot with the Republicans, a first. This was not so much due to a feeling of kinship with the GOP as it was harboring quite an antipathy toward the Democrats and what they have come to represent.
Swimming with the Republicans, however, I found myself in a dark, cast-iron pot with some crackpots and creeps, and these people invariably crawled out of the dim shadows of Christian extremism.
Why muck up the waters by running for office and polluting the GOP? Why not stick to picketing abortion clinics? Not that I favor that. I do not. But couldn’t they have just stayed in their caves with their Bibles, talking in tongues?
I am a conservative, but I also favor legalizing drugs, abortion rights, stem-cell research, etc., and I know the world wasn’t made last week.
So, clearly, there are two types of American conservative:
1. Christian conservatives.
2. Secular conservatives.
You mix Christianity, especially of the extremist sort, with politics and you create grave problems.* People who “know what God (or Allah) wants” aren’t good at compromise, which is what peace and good politics require.
By the way, legalizing drugs and abortion rights are logically conservative stances. Criminalizing drugs has led to a massive breakdown of law and order, and law and order is the primary goal of conservatives.
Criminalizing abortion has in the past and would in the future also raise the level of criminality. Abortion rights promote peace. At least they would if the religious element could be shown the door.
Secular conservatives favor legalizing these two controversial issues. But Christian conservatives, of course, usually do not.
Prosperity and peace is not the default mode of the human race. Quite the contrary. They require wisdom and effort to maintain. Christianity, taken to the extremes that some take it, put prosperity and peace in peril. It’s a problem.
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* In the Muslim world, politics and extremist religion are one and the same, and their cast-iron pot overflows with a particularly poisonous stew.