One of the hallmarks of the 21st Century west is the decline in religious faith. Though many people still identify with a faith out of tradition and habit, the number of dedicated, sincere believers has declined substantially.
Between this and the concurrent rise in rationalism and secularism, faith (as a broad concept) has seen its societal respectability decline as well. This, in turn, has led to a common belief that “faith has no place in politics.” More specifically, it has led to the belief that one’s faith should not be reflected in political beliefs or at the ballot box.
This is, of course, ludicrous. If one’s religious faith is to have any meaning whatsoever, then it must necessarily impact all areas of one’s life. There are plenty of people who are “Sunday Christians,” the sorts of people who pay their faith little mind outside of a handful of rituals. However, there are many people for whom their faith is a very serious part of who they are and how they think.
The most obvious example of this occurs in the abortion debate. It is entirely possible to make a scientific argument against it on the basis of when life begins. But one has to remember, science is merely the explanation of what something is; it provides no reason for why it exists or any moral imperative for how we should treat it. As far as scientific inquiry is concerned, humans are just another animal. Based on rational analysis alone, it actually does become rather difficult to claim that humans, at any stage, have an intrinsic value above the rest of the animal kingdom.
What drives the debate home is the belief that humanity transcends its mortal coil. It is the belief that humans aren’t special simply because they are rational or conscious or at the top of the food chain; humans at every stage of life contain a divine spark, an immortal soul. It is these elements that make abortion monstrous. Because if humans are more than just the body, then we must have some value beyond it.
This is the animating reason for the pro-life position for many people. This argument doesn’t exist when following the purely scientific/rationalist route.
Leftists are very fond of admonishing people for “voting against their own self-interest.” Yet clearly (and unsurprisingly), this does not apply to people of faith. Voting for one’s self-interest only extends as far as voting for leftist policies. Once you stray off that path, indeed, once you vote your conscience according to your devout faith, your participation in society at large is no longer needed.
Again, this is daft. The idea that one’s faith does not somehow constitute a compelling self-interest is arrogant buffoonery. Not only that, but this way of thinking presumes that people can somehow segregate their religious nature from their non-religious one. In any individual who is sincere about faith, this is literally impossible. Faith becomes a part of you and how you think. This expectation is no different than thinking a pilot can jump from his plane and both will then continue follow the same course.
Just because the left lacks respect for sincerely held religious beliefs makes them no less important to the individuals that hold them. We must be increasingly vigilant as the left moves harder and harder to turn Christians and conservatives into personae non gratae.