Tag Archives: social conservatism

Freedom of Religion Breeds Peace

Many conservatives believe that America is a Christian nation. True, there are many Christians in America. But that doesn’t make us a Christian nation. There is no official religion here. Nor should there be. Declaring one would be a misguided approach for anyone who values peace, as Voltaire noted many years ago. Freedom of belief and pluralism are good things:

“If  there were only one religion in England, there would be danger of tyranny; if there were two, they would cut each other’s throats; but there are thirty, and they live happily together in peace.”

Family Research Council Designated a Hate Group


The Southern Poverty Law Center has officially designated the Family Research Council a hate group. The SPLC defines hate groups as having “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

The Family Research Council’s views on gay rights accurately fit that description. Something about the SPLC’s move smacks of a PR stunt, more about politics than policy. But it is technically accurate.

Of course, people should be free to dislike other people for any reason they wish — even if those reasons border on bigotry, as they do with FRC. Bigotry and homophobia are wrong, but they shouldn’t be crimes; freedom of thought and all that.

But an organization that wants to use the power of the state to enforce its moral views deserves universal opprobrium. Morality is an individual issue. Not a government one. That FRC is so eager to use the cudgel of government to make people abide by their views is troubling. And not just because I don’t share those views.

This whole controversy highlights the fundamental contradiction at the heart of conservatism, which I don’t think gets nearly enough attention. Many conservatives hold fairly free-market economic views. They don’t think government can do a good job running the economy. Yet they assume that the same government that can’t deliver the mail on time is somehow able to achieve their overarching vision of a more moral society.

Not the most internally consistent philosophy.