Still A Conservative – Religion

Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, Belgium. Photo by Panoramio

There is little difference between a conservative and a liberal on religion, although for most of my life I’ve heard the opposite. There are ample differences between both of them and nationalists, which is one reason why there is confusion.

American conservatives are typically associated with advocation of religious doctrine and American liberals with irreligious political positions. This has often been extrapolated to indicate fundamental differences toward religion itself. In practice, what it truly represents are different approaches to the culture and legal system. Both groups can maintain the same level of personal devotion, but with different interpretations of the role of government in promoting them.

Conservatives are generally more open to a direct role of the dominant views in determining laws and structures within the country, while liberals tend to place greater value on the underrepresented. This has naturally created great divisions in policy. It has led to many liberals championing Islamic doctrine while simultaneously attacking Christian expressions, arguments that science is somehow antithetical to religion, or insisting on absolute separation of church and state in defiance of American history.

Ultimately, both sides can be equally religious or non-religious on a personal level; where their differences lie are on the expression of religion nationally. I tend to fall on the side of recognizing the predominance of Christianity and Judaism in our national history and our populace, and I support the continued representation and promotion of the morality associated with those groups in our national and local laws. I also fully support the ability for any person of another faith, or lack thereof, to practice it if they do not directly injure others.

And then there are the nationalists. These are the people – often who view themselves as very conservative or very liberal – who approach things from the perspective of teams rather than principle.

Right now, there’s an easy test to determine the difference.

Last week, in a hospital in the Los Angeles area, an 82-year-old COVID-19 patient was bludgeoned to death by a 37-year-old COVID-19 patient who had been placed in the same room. The two had no known prior association. The police have released a statement acknowledging the rationale for the 37-year-old picking up an oxygen tank and killing the elderly man was that the old man was praying. Initial reports recognized that the assailant was Hispanic.

At that point, there is enough information for anyone who believes not just in religious liberty but basic decency and the value of human life to condemn the attacker. Some did… but some did not. More information was desired, if not needed, before a decision could be made. Was the man praying to Allah? To Jesus? Was the attacker a self-described Christian, or an atheist?

If the answers to those questions matter in any way other than to simply gain clarification on the story, the person seeking those answers is nationalistic. For the core of the issue, those answers don’t matter. A man was killed because he was attempting to find solace in his beliefs during a time of great trial. That is wrong, period. At a time when so many are facing personal and family trials due to illness and financial straits, faith in cosmic justice can be invaluable and I support anyone who believes in that and wishes no harm or oppression to others. If that faith results in prayer, so be it.

Analyzing the matter using a team mentality undermines the value that is supposedly being given to faith in the first place.

This is Christmas. I am happy to promote it as a federal, state and local holiday, even while recognizing that many of my fellow Americans do not celebrate its religious significance… and happily accepting that. This is not a time to grow angry that others don’t celebrate, or say things like “Happy Holidays”. It’s a particularly nationalist view to be angry when people are good-naturedly wishing “peace on Earth, good will toward man”. I’ll stick with being a classical American conservative instead… and breaking bread with my classical American liberal counterparts whose core views on religion itself – if not its exercise in the public square – are far more in keeping with mine than many who claim to share my doctrinal beliefs.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.