Prompted by a rather heated exchange with David Letterman on the Late Night show, conservative Bill O’Reilly put the following in his “talking points” the next day on Fox News: “Right now, there are two main issues dominating the culture war in America, the role of God in the public arena and the war on terror …”
Run that by me again?
O’Reilly is suggesting that to be on the right side in the culture war, you have to support “religion in the public arena” along with the war against terrorism. Think about this. Terrorism is the evil handiwork of religious fundamentalists who advocate violence against innocent people. Terrorists emphatically favor “religion in the public arena” which, put another way, means: fusion of church/state rather than separation of church/state.
While O’Reilly is not a terrorist and no doubt sincerely supports fighting terrorist nations overseas, he reveals the core contradiction of the whole conservative movement. The conservative movement favors the expansion of religion/state fusion at home while opposing the inevitable results of religion/state fusion abroad. We’re supposed to kill Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan while letting Pat Robertson and his minions impose religious fundamentalism on the masses in the United States.
Contradictions inevitably fall. Conservatism, led by President Bush in the White House and Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, is faltering. Unless the contradiction is corrected, the movement will go down. I can’t say this makes me terribly happy, given that the party of Hillary Rodham Clinton–the party of socialized medicine, appeasement of terrorists abroad, and Big Government for all–waits in the wings.
Faith and Force: America’s War on Terrorism is Undercut by the Bush Administrations’s Injection of Religion into Politics by Peter Schwartz
Because religion in politics is incompatible with liberty, weakening the church-state separation promotes the very evil we are fighting in our war against Islamic totalitarianism.
Moral Values Without Religion: Does Morality Depend Upon Religion? by Peter Schwartz
The alternative to the dogmatism of the religious right and the emotionalism of the egalitarian left is a code of moral absolutes based on reason and individualism.