The United States is a nation where 73% of the population adheres to some form of Christianity. It is a nation that, according to its currency, trusts in God. And it is a nation that believes individuals are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. How, then, could such a country not have a God-fearing man as its president? Well, for the second time in less than a year, a Gallup poll has found that a majority of Americans would be comfortable voting for an atheist for president.
Though it might seem surprising that a majority of Americans would elect an atheist for president, it shouldn’t be. Americans have been supporting atheistic politicians for quite some time, it’s just that they don’t call themselves atheists. They call themselves liberal Democrats.
Take Vice President Biden for instance. When asked about abortion during the vice presidential debate, Biden said he personally supports the Catholic Church’s teaching on when life begins, but because he lives in a pluralistic society he can’t “impose” those views on others who might disagree with him. He has to, in other words, leave behind his religious convictions when he enters the public square.
The political philosophy Vice President Biden – as well as President Obama – adheres to is that of the late John Rawls, a long-time Harvard professor. Rawls’ theory posits that people are going to disagree about moral and ethical questions; therefore, the best way to govern a pluralistic society is to construct a framework that allows everyone to pursue their own understanding of the best way to live insofar as they respect everyone else’s right to do the same.
Rawls’ core belief is that there is no preferred way of life the state should promote. The public square must be completely devoid of religious-based arguments and the government must remain neutral when it comes to, say, abortion and gay marriage. Rawls is highly esteemed by modern liberals and was presented with the National Humanities Medal by President Clinton in 1999.
But Rawls’ desire to vanquish moral arguments from the public square because they emanate from a particular worldview is not only wrong, it’s downright impossible. While Democrats like Joe Biden claim they don’t want to impose their views on people who might disagree with them, all laws reflect some set of values. And when liberal Democrats typically pass legislation, they rely on Rawls’ values. Just look at the HHS mandate. The notion that women have an intrinsic right to contraception is a direct result of Rawls’ belief that the state must expand the civil liberties of its citizens as much as possible while remaining neutral on how best to exercise those liberties.
Rawls’ aspiration to neutrality, therefore, is anything but neutral. It is fueled by a conception of the human person – albeit a deeply flawed one – and is adamant about dictating to individuals, civil society and religious organizations that the only truth there is is that there is no truth at all.
This view is the animating force behind the modern Democratic Party. Recent polling indicates that roughly 70% of Democrats prefer that the state not promote any one set of values. In other words, most Democrats – perhaps unknowingly – favor Rawls’ philosophy. What that means is that we can expect the political left to continue to attack religious freedom, the dignity of human life, and traditional values for the foreseeable future. Think not? Just look at what’s going on in France and Canada (countries the U.S. is on track to become). France is set to ban the words “mother” and “father” from government documents and Canada basically disallowed Catholic schools from teaching Catholic doctrine on homosexuality. If there was ever a clear indication that the dictatorship of relativism is upon us, this is it.