A reader writes:
The mischievous contrarian in me is enjoying the debacle of Doug Kmiec being denied communion. Perhaps it will teach him, and others, what it is like to be on the wrong side of authoritarianism, excessive moralizing, and the politicization of faith.
It seems to me inevitable that if you employ what amounts to a religious test for your politics, that the same logic would justify a political test for your religion. If the two are so tightly fused that they become indistinguishable -- if the liberal compromise of acknowledging politics as a sphere to itself, with, in a sense, its own reasons and discourse, is essentially rejected -- then how could it be otherwise?
You see this rejection of liberalism, in the best and truest sense of the word, when people like Ross Douthat use language like this:
"...a legislator who happens to support deeply-immoral measures..." I for one think there is a meaningful distinction between being pro-choice and supporting abortion, between allowing others to make choices we find morally problematic and actually urging or even demanding others make those choices. I sincerely believe that there are few things more moral, decent, humane, and dare I say Christian than refraining from using the coercive power of the state to punish those who do not agree with every tenet of your moral system. This is not "relativism" -- this is an ethic of restraint when it comes to politics.
If anything, this episode affirms for me that the best reason to separate politics and religion is not because religion poisons our politics, but because religion is too beautiful, profound, and important to be sullied by the frauds and factions that run our political system. It grieves my heart to see my faith bandied about in this way. All I want is to be left alone to worship, to eat and drink Christ, to pray, and to love my neighbor. The Kmiec situation reminds us that, when you go after others, sometimes they go after you. Power is strange like that, isn't it? It always -- always! -- cuts both ways.
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