Thursday, May 12, 2005

Guess Who Loves You?

There's a girl on my floor here at Carleton College. A freshman from South Dakota, very religious and hyper-conservative (she was practically cackling when Tom Daschle went down in flames). Surprisingly enough, we're pretty good friends, though we occasionally clash over religion and politics and the like.

Anyway, I wonder what she thinks about this new ad campaign Democrats are debuting in her home state?


N.S.T said...

Reality check...the Democratic party is still openly hostile to religion whenever they opportunity arises.

H said...

Reality check... separating church and state is still a good idea, despite what the religious right would have you think. If that's "hostility," you can count me in, even as a religious Catholic.

N.S.T said...

Greg...I'd first like to end the weird parallelism which i started by not beginning this post with the words "reality check." With linguistic considerations now safely out of the way...

I wasn't talking about the church/state issue specifically, and I don't think that that issue is necessarily central to the matter at ahnd. It is important though, and I think that the obligations that the constitutions place upon us with regards to legislating religion should be followed. However, I think that there's a big difference between following the constitution and maintaining strict separation of church and state. For starters, while we have a relatively good historical track record of avoiding the establishment of religion-- a record of constitutional adherence which is commendable-- there is an even longer historical track record, one which could be traced back to the ancient greeks and romans, of mixing politics and religion. Religion has, like it or not, always played a huge role in the lives of the voting public, a role which has usually been central to the political landscape of the time. This is not necessarily a bad thing. People's views are shaped by religious conviction, and this is something which is protected in the other half of the establishment clause, as you know. People vote, very often, based in some way, shape or form on religious beliefs. And, in a republican form of government such as ours, the people they elect are supposed to fulfill their duties in one of two ways: either by voting in the way in which they see fit on a certain issue, or by voting on the basis of what they perceive is the wish of the constituency. Either way, when religious folks elect politicians for religious reasons, a religious agenda gets pushed.

My point in reciting what must be way too much elementary NSL material is not to insult your intelligence. I know you know all of the same stuff, and probably better than i do. I use the government refresher as the convenient jumping off point where fact ends and disagreement begins. I don't see anything constitutionally wrong with mixing the two things. now, I could sit here and debate you all day about the merits of mixing politics and religion, quite apart from legality, but that seems like a shouting match in the making, and nothing constructive at that.

Anyway, ur an Ld'er, and so you'll probly shoot me down right away.

H said...

I find that response quite eloquent actually, and not at all insulting. As far as LD goes, we debated separation of church and state earlier this year, and the distinction between religious justification and religious laws is a very important one.

Far from "shooting you down," I agree with literally everything you said. My point of departure is empirical, in that 1) I don't see Democrats as hostile to religion and 2) I believe that the modern Republican party favors Evangelical Christians at the expense of other religions. To me, the Democratic response to religiously justified policies (judges, abortion, stem cells etc.) isn't so much about hostility towards religion as it is preventing the government from substantively preferencing (establishing) one religion in particular.