Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Biased Neutrality

"I am a proud Christian. My beliefs are strong and dearly held. However, I believe religion is a private matter, so you can rest assured that my beliefs won't enter into my decision-making process, as I address issues important to the American people."

Have you ever heard a politician running for public office utter these words, or a variation thereof? I know I have, more than once. Such statements reveal all you need to know about the person declaring them: he's a liar, has weak, malleable beliefs, or will say anything to coax a vote out of you; maybe a combination of the three.

My question is: if your beliefs are sincere and powerful, how can you possibly avoid their informing every word, thought, or deed formulated in your mind? The answer is that you can't. Furthermore, if your views are legitimate, who would you want to bar them from your assessment of a situation? That's irrational. There is no such thing as total neutrality, folks. Nature abhors a vacuum, and all that. If you remove one worldview, another will take its place. Especially when dealing with "issues" important to your fellow countrymen, such as immigration, abortion, the sanctity of marriage, taxes, etc. These are not matters of simple practicality, but have moral dimensions, as well. If this frightens you, I suggest staying at home in the playpen with the other kiddies and refraining from venturing out into the big bad world of adults. Your "beliefs" may make a nice selling point for those who sleepwalk through life; otherwise, they're insipid to the point of uselessness.

Politicians and commentators love framing matters as religious vs. neutral; but that's a false dichotomy. As I said, there is no neutral, only warring worldviews. For example, is it neutral when schools exclude discussion of Intelligent Design or Creationism, while simultaneously promoting a secularistic evolutionary view of origins? Of course not. Secularism is as much a worldview as Creationism. When you remove God, the sole possible replacement for Him--godlessness--usurps His throne. This is as relevant to politics as it is to education.

If a man leaves his religious convictions at the door, what yardstick or criterion does he utilize in making decisions or choosing sides? Feelings, nothing but feeeelings? Don't be fooled into believing that irreligiosity means a nonpartisan approach; it just means running with an opposing standard.

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