From abortion, to gay rights, the ordination of homosexual priests, same-sex "marriage," disarmament, peace movements, environmentalism, government programs and a host of other issues, any clergy or lay person who signed off on the agenda and objectives of liberals was more than welcome at the political table and was never thought to be a threat to the Constitution or accused of attempting to impose a theocracy.
But let conservatives organize to express themselves and suddenly we are told they are a danger to our way of life and religious storm troopers can soon be expected at the door to take us away in the middle of the night to dungeons where we will be brainwashed into accepting the religious and political doctrines of the uneducated fanatics.
For better, and sometimes for worse, "people of faith" have spoken to moral and political issues since before the founding of the nation. Why is the republic in danger only when conservative religious people speak and act? Why are only conservatives seeking to impose a "theocracy" and liberals are never charged with such motives?
The answer is that liberals fear their earthly power is slipping away. They are less able to impose a secular leftist world view on the country. They know that the courts have been the only means by which they have been able to force their views on a majority who do not share them.
Christian conservatives have the same constitutional right to use the political system to advance their views as religious and secular liberals do. Whether they should expect government to restore their view of righteousness is another matter. But to deny them that right is to make them second-class citizens and denigrate their faith. Isn't that the ultimate intolerance?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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