This is seen in countless social and economic issues. Many leftists oppose gun ownership because they believe a person ought to rely on government for protection and focus on contributing to a peaceful society, while conservatives focus on the duty and right of the individual to protect themselves and their families. Liberals favor higher taxes to fund socialized medicine and government-provided retirements, while conservatives favor the individual’s right to retain their own hard-earned money and decide for themselves what healthcare they want and how they should prepare for retirement. Liberals support strong teachers’ unions and massive increases in funding for government schools, while conservatives favor dollars following children who attend schools of their parents’ choice.
Part of this divide between conservatives is due to the sanitizing of the public square of references to God. Not many years ago, there was no dispute between conservatives over basic talk about faith. People were not necessarily more religious. There was just a comfort level with general expressions of common faith, such as prayer, signs of the Ten Commandments, or referring to school vacation in December as Christmas Break, instead of Winter Break.
But years of enforced and increasing secularism has left people of faith to their faith, but non-religious conservatives to become increasingly squeamish over even basic expressions of faith. All conservatives believe in the primacy of the individual, but such conservatism must also be rooted in the truth that the individual does not live for the state, and does not receive what is most important from the state.
Blaise Pascal once said that everyone has a God-shaped hole in them. Human beings are designed with a void that only the Creator can fill. Without the Creator, people seek out things in their lives in which to put their truth and to which to give their reverence and adoration. While many secular conservatives do not agree with religious conservatives as to the nature or character of the source of our rights, they all agree that the source is not government. And it’s essential that they recognize there are those on the left seeking to drive a wedge between them.
Conservatives must wake up to this common opponent, and rebuild close and open communications to work together for an agenda that promotes individual liberty by limiting the power of government.