Originally Posted by muppetry
In my view the role of politicians in a secular government is to reflect the will of the people while upholding the constitution, and they should base their policies primarily on those considerations rather than on the received wisdom of any particular belief set.
For example - consider the issue of gay marriage. Declaring opposition to it, and thereby attempting to restrict the rights of others based on a particular religious interpretation of the issue is contrary to that principle.
First, the primary responsibility of elected officials at the federal level is to defend and uphold the constitution. I suspect that state and local officials have similar oaths as well. If they do nothing else, they ought to at least do that and if they do anything else, it ought not conflict with that responsibility.
So much for that fantasy. Oh well.
Second, you ran right for one of the more controversial and extreme issues to make your point. Not sure why. The real question here though is what is the key principle at play? Does it matter that the basis of opposition to homosexual marriage is religious? If not then religion is a red herring here. If the issue is infringing upon someone's right to marry whomever they wish, then it doesn't really matter the basis of that infringement.
Third, BR has not limited his staunch opposition to religious activity to merely elected officials. His opposition is broader to the point of wishing for or arguing for people who are guided by their religious faith to abstain from including those in their contribution to the political process. He wants people to empty themselves of the values he opposes before they contribute to the governing processes. Granted we live in a constitutional republic in which any matter or issue should be constrained by that constitution* () or amend it. But it's fallacious to claim that any and every issue that those of religious faith support or oppose would fail to meet this constraint.
Finally, let me say again that religion here is a red herring. The fact is that BR (et al) wishes to impose his values and views upon others even though he does not have a religious faith or belief and he merely wants to exclude those with whom he disagrees from the political process. Let's take homosexual marriage as an example:
1. Personally, I oppose homsexual marriage and believe it is a sin (no better or worse than any other sin) before God according to my faith.
2. Politically and governmentally I am not opposed to it at all. I believe everyone has the right (i.e., they already HAVE it, it is not and need not be granted by the state) to "marry" whomever they want (assuming consenting adults here) and that I have no right to prevent this.
3. I believe the state has no business whatsoever involving itself in private relationships of this kind.
But here's the difference. BR (et al) want the government to grant the right for homosexuals to marry (I say they already) have it. Why is this? The primary reason is then to be able to use the force of the state to compel others to acknowledge and honor these marriages whether they agree with such unions or not. So this is BR trying to impose his views and values upon others.
*I suspect BR doesn't really care about being constrained by the constitution either when it gets in his way of imposing his values on others. So I doubt he's holding to principle there. I don't really think BR holds very consistently to any principle except that things ought to go his way and religious people are nuts and should get out of the way. That's all fine (if a bit hypocritical) except where it violates the basic rights of life, liberty and property of every person.
Edited by MJ1970 - 10/22/12 at 2:05pm