Part of making a coherent case for constitutional government involves sifting through parades of burning straw men.
When Nick Gillespie published a piece at Reason magazine, a magazine that sometimes fails to live up to its name, about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s call for America to turn back to God, I could see the straw men from a mile away.
Gillespie asserts that Jindal wants to mix politics and religion and that has to be bad. Now he doesn’t lose as many points as a leftist would because he didn’t pull out the First Amendment canard. But he’s got enough errors in logic that it cannot go unanswered.
The first problem with Gillespie’s screed is the inherent assumption that our nation turning to God and the cause of limited government are mutually exclusive.
No, it’s not time to “turn back to God,” especially when it comes to politics and public policy. What ails the government is not a deficit of religiosity but a nearly complete failure to deal with practical issues of spending versus revenue, creating a simple and fair tax system, reforming entitlements, and getting real about the limits of America’s ability to control every corner of the globe.
God has nothing to do with any of that. The fault lies not in our stars but in policies.
I don’t dispute his point about the problem of spending, reforming the tax code, and getting entitlements in line. But then Nick slips in the other canard about control “every corner of the globe.”
What Gillespie and many of the readers at Reason don’t seem to understand (from what I gathered in the comments of this piece), is the connection between our nation turning its back on God and all of the problems he outlines. Cringing at the idea of overt religiosity, and assuming it means some kind of creep towards theocracy, is NOT intellectually honest.
Contrary to what some libertarians believe, overt religiosity is not anathema to limited government.
Saying that we need to turn back to God is not a sign of creeping fascism, rather it reinforces what the Founders knew explicitly: that morality and an acknowledgment of God is necessary to the cause of limited government.
In the words of John Adams:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The founding of the American republic was based on Christian moral truths, and no amount of hand-wringing from our libertarian and leftist friends can change that fact. A belief in God and public expression of Christianity in the public square is an essential freedom endowed to us by our Creator.
Whoever contrived the idea that atheism in the public square is the default position, and that asserting otherwise is proof of a creeping fascism, is dishonest to his core.