Coming off a terrifically mismanaged presidential campaign, Steve Schmidt, former top adviser to John McCain, made his first public appearance at a gathering of the Log Cabin Republicans. Speaking to this group of homosexual activists, Schmidt demonstrated the very lack of conservative grounding that plagued his candidate - an illness that the antidote of conservative darling Sarah Palin couldn't even cure.
In his speech, Schmidt addressed the Republican Party in general and warned them to lighten up on their opposition to homosexual unions and marriage. "If you put public policy issues to a religious test, you risk becoming a religious party," he said. "And in a free country a political party cannot be viable in the long-term if it is seen as a sectarian party."
This type of intellectual sophistry should be rejected by anyone who holds public debate in high regard and is serious about policy discussions. Consider what Schmidt is actually proposing when he condemns putting issues to a religious test. He is arguing to remove moral discernment from any public policy. That, of course, is as ignorant as it is impossible. The purpose of any law is to declare certain acts right and others wrong. Pretending that moral discernment should not be a primary factor in this process is absurd.
George Washington stated that "the foundation of our national policy should be laid in private morality." In other words, lawmakers' first and foremost concern in crafting law should be to consider whether the act in question is consistent with moral truth.
What's more, Schmidt himself is guilty of the very act he supposedly condemns. The reason Schmidt endorses homosexual marriage is because he has determined that it is unequal, discriminatory, and wrong to not grant homosexuals the right to wed each other. To do that, he utilized his own concept of moral discernment, rooted not in divine revelation but in his own intellect, to make his public policy decision. The difference then is not whether policy decisions will be put to a religious test, but rather which religious test.
Christians believe that God has revealed His truth to man in the Bible, and therefore it provides a firm basis upon which to build a morally upright society. This is done not by enforcing a strict religious code that all citizens are forced to obey (this is forbidden by both the Constitution and the Bible), but by providing immutable, unchanging moral absolutes as a guide. And, though typically found on the left, that is what humanists like Schmidt oppose.
Fair enough. But we should demand that they are honest about the alternative they offer. Far from removing a religious test, they prefer substituting a religion of humanity - using the wisdom, reason, and ever-changing philosophies of man as the basis for civil society. Both foundations are equally religious.
This recognition may undermine the false choice Schmidt attempts to engineer, but it is critical if we wish to have a serious discussion. And we should.
With 200 years of American prosperity and happiness demonstrating the outcome of a society based in Christian principle, this is a debate that I and any Christian conservative should be eager to engage. And lest anyone attempt to contradict the reality of a Biblical foundation for the United States, take it up with John Quincy Adams who confirmed, "the highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
The historical legacy of countries founded upon secular humanist values is not quite so appealing. In fact, the subjective whims and baseless principles that characterize humanistic thought have left a wake of death and destruction in every society they have come to dominate. There is a reason that humanists have found it safer to live in this country - one that grounds the basic rights of humanity in a constant, unchanging, moral authority - than in those that embrace humanism.
If Mr. Schmidt or others want to make the case why the Republican Party should follow the lead of the Democrats, abandon Christian morality, and begin using the religion of secular humanism as the basis for their platform, they are more than free to do so. But they should at least have the decency to be honest about what they're seeking.
This is a debate about whether we will cling to our Judeo-Christian underpinnings or toss them aside. Now that we're clear, let's have at it.