Precinct 333

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"Article Of Faith" -- A Liberal Term Of Derision

Dr. Francis J. Beckwith, Associate Director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies and Associate Professor of Church-State Studies at Baylor University, has a piece up over at Southern Appeal. In it he notes that the new liberal term of derision for religious belief is to call it an "article of faith."
For those of us who maintain that marriage between a man and a woman is normative and that human beings are intrinsically valuable from the moment they come into existence, Kerry’s position is condescending and insulting. By calling our views “articles of faith,” not only does Kerry reveal a deep ignorance of what is an “article of faith,” he implies that these views are held by many of his fellow citizens for no reason. This is because in the circles that Kerry runs “articles of faith” are those beliefs that you are required to believe because “that’s your religion” and not because you actually may have thought about them. That is, Kerry doesn’t seem to think that there are rational believers, individuals who have actually evaluated the competing arguments over the issues people are deeply divided and have concluded that the socially conservative positions on abortion and marriage have good support and thus are in fact true. But not just "true for me" or "true for you," but actually true for everyone.

In the end, the position espoused by Kerry presumes that religious belief is inherently irrational, and that religiously based beliefs are therefore not a fit basis for seeking a political end. Such a position betrays the entire heritage of the American political tradition. Consider the civil rights movement. Martin Luther king's position was undergirded by religious belief. It was an "article of faith" that all men could live together in brotherhood and good will, treated as equals. His message bristled with religious metaphor. Does this make the cause of civil rights unworthy, and a matter upon which there should be no legislation lest someone else's "article of faith" be disrespected? Hardly! Why, then, should the beliefs of religious Americans on abortion, homosexual marriage, or fetal stem cells be treated any differently?


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