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Conservatives Are Wrong About Democrats Hating Religion

Robert Dimuro

Posted on October 18, 2020 20:05

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As it turns out, faith in God is something on which Republicans and Democrats can find common ground.

Something that bothers me about conservative rhetoric is how conservatives tend to attack versions of the religious views of Democrats, whether in assessing their character or their initiatives. Conservatives often insinuate that liberals are evil because they hate religion and want to undermine religious freedom in America. As it turns out, neither of these claims is remotely true.

There's simply no evidence that Democrats hate religion, and our best data paint an antithetical picture. The Pew Research Center found that 55% of Democrats – an outright majority – are absolutely certain of their belief in God. The same study showed that only 13% of Democrats are certain of their disbelief in God and can be categorized as atheists.

"Belief in god by political party." Image by Pew Research Center.

Anecdotal evidence also seems to support that the Democratic Party is still a God-fearing party, as there were countless references to God and faith at the Democratic National Convention – too many to begin quoting. From politicians to their constituents, this does not seem like a group of people who hate religion.

On a policy level, there's also no evidence that Democrats are attempting to undermine religious freedom. Freedom of religion is the right of any citizen to practice his/her faith without government coercion, and it also prohibits the establishment of a state religion. In other words, freedom of religion is ensured by the preservation of a secular government. Top conservatives, such as Rush Limbaugh, don't seem to grasp this concept and believe that religious freedom is about the preservation and encouragement of Christian ideals via a government that upholds them. This is the reason why conservatives mistakenly believe that the Supreme Court's decisions on Roe v. Wade and gay marriage have undermined religious freedom in America.

Conservatives often reference two examples that they deem as proof of the Left's crusade against religious freedom. One is the Left's outrage over the Supreme Court decision to allow a baker in Colorado not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The other is the Left's support of the jailing of a court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The truth is that neither of these decisions pertains to religious freedom. One pertains to the individual rights of a private baker who declines to do business with someone, and the other pertains to the civil rights of couples receiving licenses to be lawfully married.

In these cases, it's clear that the Left isn't motivated by supposedly undermining the religious freedoms of the baker or the court clerk but rather by antidiscrimination and protecting the rights of minorities – principal objectives of the Left. Moreover, to the extent that the Left accuses conservatives of being motivated by bigotry toward minorities in these instances, this argument is also a strawman.

The conservative viewpoint on religious freedom is unfortunate because, regardless of one's political affiliation, every American should value the separation of church and state and recognize the individual rights of each member of society. That's what freedom necessitates.

Robert Dimuro

Posted on October 18, 2020 20:05

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(RNS) — The issue presents an opportunity to stand out in a crowded field and reclaim faith from conservatives. The post...

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