The point is not that there are not secular arguments against abortion, to take the example Parker uses, as there clearly are. Secular people on the whole do not seem terribly interested in those arguments, nor do they show any more respect for them than they do to explicitly religious ones, because the issue is not the kind of argument being made but the moral and political conclusions that are being drawn. This may reflect the extent to which different political and philosophical traditions function as little more than tribes that use mutually unintelligible mythologies, in which the answers are all scripted and known before the inquiry begins. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again….Debates cease to be an exercise in persuasion, and become instead an occasion for performance and expressing identity. Structuralists everywhere will be thrilled.
The point here is that social and religious conservatives should not have to truncate, abbreviate or deny their religious teachings when making public arguments, which is effectively what they would have to do if they are not to refer to God or religious teachings in public discourse.
Here is the deal,folks. No one is saying you can not or should not mention God, but you should be aware by now that I don’t care what your God (or anyone else’s, for that matter) thinks, so you can keep bringing him or her up, but I and others like me will not find it very persuasive. Sure, folks who agree with you and your God may love it, and mentioning God may be cathartic or make you feel good, and you can be satisfied that you are living within the belief system your God demands, but you aren’t being very persuasive (at least not to the folks you are ostensibly trying to persuade).
Which is why, of course, when we are dealing with issues that involve the religious right, we so often come into problems. If they would at least make an effort to couch their arguments in logic and reason, rather than quoting scripture or providing arguments from their God, we might be able to better find common ground. As it is, tell me a certain public policy should be so because your religious beliefs make anything else a sin, and I will respond with a shrug and work to elect people to do the opposite of what you want.
Basically, it boils down to this- if I wanted to live in accordance to rules as set by your faith, I would join your church. Until then, until you see me sitting two pews over on Sunday morning, just assume that I really don’t care what your God thinks. I don’t want the rules of your faith imposed upon me by the government, just as I do not desire the government telling me to live under the rules of Cardinal Ratzinger, the Church of Latter Day Saints, Sharia law, Wiccan rules, Buddhist tenets, and on and on and on. Nor do I think you should have to lives under laws that force you to adhere to the religious principles of someone else.
Until social conservatives can understand that that is why Kathleen Parker says they should use logic and reason, and that the best way all of us can get together is if our public policy is not dictated by one religious sect ramming their God down our collective throats, they are just going to be stuck on oogedy-boogedy. “Because it is a sin” ain’t cutting it.