Do you need to be religious to be a social conservative?

This question may seem silly and unnecessary to some of my readers, but I’m convinced that 90% of people asked this question would give the wrong answer. They would answer “Yes”. But the correct answer is “No”.

Let me start my explanation by saying that I consider myself “religious”, though I do not regularly attend a Church. I also understand that for many people, their religion is what makes them social conservatives. But for me, the connection between the two is not so important.

So, how could someone who is not religious be social conservative? Let’s think about this on an issue by issue basis. Say, gay marriage for instance. Now, if you actually read the bible, you will find a number of violations of what we now call traditional definition of marriage. Sure, the bible does prohibit certain things, but there seems to be, especially in the books before Exodus, quite a bit of flexibility. Our modern definition, which excludes marying your dog, cousin, multiple people, or same sex partner, comes from somewhere else. Indeed, I’m not sure where it comes from. But the way I view it, the definition we have now is best becuase 1. It is essentially defined in such a way as to foster a constructive family structure and 2. This is the definition which has always been used in our part of the world, and to alter it would undermine the institution (and hence the closely related institution of the family). Whenever the definition is changed, people just stop getting married, and the family falls apart as people have children out of wedlock-now, I shouldn’t have to tell you that being raised as a child born out of wedlock sucks.

Probably the biggest issue however, is abortion. They way I rationalize my position has nothing to do with immortal souls or commandments prohibiting murder (although the Bible is the penultimate and de facto source of western law codes, which have their origins with Hammurabi) but with secularized Western ethics, an understanding of the origin of property rights, and a little history. By aborting an unborn fetus, a woman claims legal ownership a perogative over the developing child, as if it were as much her property as any organ of hers, which she can have removed whenever it causes her distress. Ownership of self, of the individual by that individual, is the basic origin of property rights (thank you Ayn Rand). But prior to the end of the Civil War, their were still individuals without self ownership, without liberty. They were slaves, and women can now claim similar control and perogative over their children during most of their pregnancy. Society now views the former instance of making humans property unethical and a horrible, reprehensible crime against humanity, but it was justified in the same way as abortion is today-slaves weren’t considered people. But today, we have legal distinctions which we make between individuals-fingerprints are unique, DNA is near unique. A mother’s DNA is distinct from the fetus’s, and there are other distinctions one could make between them, the point being the fetus, even the embryo is a distinct individual, a person.  Ipso facto the mother does not have perogative over it, it cannot be legal property, as it belongs only to itself.

You get the point, I don’t need to be a bible thumping creationist to believe what I believe, and you don’t either. I rest my case.


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