Stolen from Rob:
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion to religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I can’t simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke god’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves compromise, the art of what’s possible and, at some fundamental level, religion doesn’t allow for compromise. It’s the art of the impossible. If god’s spoken then followers are expected to live up to god’s edicts regardless of the consequences. Now to base one’s own life on some uncompromising commitments may be sublime but to base our policy-making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.
No matter how religious they may be or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack. They don’t want faith used to belittle or to divide because in the end that’s not how they think about faith in their own lives.
Things like this are why Obama deserves to be elected president. Please do your part this November and bring some sanity back into our government.