Of Modern Faith
Peter Suderman hawls out a tired riff on faith in politics:
...it’s always struck as strange when people argue that Christians have every right to their beliefs, and that those beliefs ought to be firmly respected but that in politics, those beliefs ought to be kept to oneself. For many Christians, it’s integral to their faith that every part of their life, including their work, be comported in accordance with their religious beliefs. The idea that one ought to turn off or conveniently ignore his or her faith when participating in public life is anathema to many devout believers, and when proponents of a purely secular politics suggest that believers should be able to do that without compromising their faith, they misunderstand the entire nature of religious belief. What the most ardent secularists end up saying is, "I’ll respect your beliefs provided you never act upon them around me."
Er, no. You can act upon them all you want. It is when you require others to be governed by laws deduced entirely from your own religious convictions that problems emerge.
What modernity requires is not that you cease living according to your faith, but that you accept that others may differ and that therefore politics requires a form of discourse that is reasonable and accessible to believer and non-believer alike. This religious restraint in politics is critical to the maintenance of liberal democracy, and that is why Christianism is so hostile to modernity, though nowhere near as threatening as Islamism.
Allowing others to be other is what we call modernity. In my view, it is worth defending. And that's why I think of myself as a conservative rather than as a reactionary. I like the pluralism of modernity; it doesn't threaten me or my faith. And if one's faith is dependent on being reinforced in every aspect of other people's lives, then it is a rather insecure faith, don't you think?