Bryan Griffin: Values Independent Of Government

Sep 11, 2019

At the end of August, the Democratic National Committee, or DNC, unanimously passed a resolution that identified the “religiously unaffiliated” as the “largest religious group within the Democratic Party.” The resolution stated that “Religiously unaffiliated Americans overwhelmingly share the Democratic Party’s values,” and further went on to affirm that “morals, values, and patriotism are not unique to any particular religion, and are not necessarily reliant on having a religious worldview at all.”

This body, the DNC, is the official decision-making body of the Democratic Party and the entity that develops the annual political platform for the party.

This resolution was disastrous for the Democrats and a symptom of the far-left takeover of a major American political party.

Here’s why this is so problematic: affirming a value system based on relative factors, and not a universal standard (like the Judeo-Christian value system) means whoever is in charge of the government gets to change, redefine, or alter society’s values to achieve their agenda.

The DNC resolution was authored and pushed by a D.C.-based group called the Secular Coalition for America. This group claims in its mission statement that its purpose is to “strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.”

But a government void of acknowledgment of a universal system of morality is a government that can justify right as wrong and wrong as right. It is a government where freedom is no more valued than the trendiest objective of the day.

I’ll put it another way. Values that can be changed to meet the popular consensus of the day are values that can be corrupted.

Communist and socialist countries – the worst modern and historic offenders – knew that religion stood in the way of the worst aspects of their agendas because religious values can’t be modified to justify the goals of their system of government.

“Every communist regime has sought to purge the faith of its people. An atheistic ideology, communism is not only irreligious but antireligious,” writes Marian Smith of the Wall Street Journal in her article, Communism and Religion Can’t Coexist.

For big government to exist it must replace the individual’s value system with one it can control.

This is not to say that the party should reject members of non-religious affiliation. If this resolution had merely stated that this particular class of people were as welcome as any to vote Democrat, then it would’ve been fine. Perhaps unnecessary.

But it didn’t- the resolution praised “religiously-unaffiliated” values and squarely equated them to the principles of the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party is right to—and should continue to—consistently acknowledge an immutable Judeo-Christian value system that underpinned the founding principles of our Republic. The founders authored the best system of government that they could at that time, and I believe our values led it to a greater level of perfection with the abolition of slavery and continued recognition of the equality of all humanity.

Of course, everyone should be free to practice whatever religion they want—even no religion. But it has worked for America and should be acknowledged that a Judeo-Christian value system independent of the government has and should continue to instruct the limits of government-decided values on each of our lives. As a conservative, I believe people should live according to their own values to the extent that they don’t interfere with the practice of my own. But I worry far less about other individuals than I do about the government. Government should be of the size and influence that is least intrusive to an individual’s value system.

I would invite “religiously-unaffiliated” voters to identify with the Republican Party because the Judeo-Christian system produces a freer, better society and promotes liberty and equality to the benefit of even those who don’t ascribe to the religion.

Our country values a separation of church and state. Too few realize this line was written by our founders in a letter affirming that the government would not interfere in the practices of the church – not the other way around. The founders knew of the negative influence of state-driven morality on the value systems of the people. They lived through despotic monarchies, where the king (the head of state) decided what was right and wrong and had the authority to adjust church doctrine accordingly.

Where is the Democratic Party headed with this latest resolution? What does the rhetoric of the current slate of candidates tell us about the future of our country under their leadership?

Time-honored values are willfully tossed aside in many Democratic candidates’ plans to advance their party’s political agenda.

What concerns me is an America where the concept of progress is somehow equated to an abandonment of universal values in favor of values that fit the narrative of the day.

If even our values become subject to trends, how do we prevent ourselves from becoming a people entirely beholden to an “ends justifies the means” mentality? Who is deciding our ends, and will we be able to live with ourselves if we seek them by any means necessary?

Bryan Griffin of the London Center for Policy Research is a lawyer and author who specializes in American policy in the Middle East.

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