by Charles Whitaker
CGG Weekly, July 16, 2004
"A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."
Liberals, says James Hitchcock in "The Enemies of Religious Liberty" (First Things, February 2004, pp. 26-30), especially those infesting America's universities, have come to detest religion—any religion, anywhere. To these secularists, faith in the unseen God is incomprehensible and irrational. They view it as divisive to the coherence of society, as well as destructive. Stanford University professor and philosopher Richard Rorty believes that "the 'highest achievements of humanity' are incompatible with religion" (Truth and Progress, 1991). It may be instructive to see what Rorty's peers in liberal academia have to say about our religious freedoms.
Since they see religion as at odds with freedom, academic liberals are increasingly coming to believe that the state has the right—indeed the obligation—to "damage-control" religion. So, New York University Law Professor David A.J. Richards claims that it is necessary for the state to foster its own religion, "a religion and an ethics that validate the highest order moral powers of rationality and reasonableness of a free people" (Toleration and the Constitution, 1986). Chicago University Professor of Jurisprudence Cass Sunstein advocates using "the liberal state to force the intolerant to be tolerant" (The Partial Constitution, 1999). Intolerant here means espousing strong religious beliefs, beliefs by which one lives. European University Institute Professor of Legal Theory and Legal Philosophy Wojciech Sadurski argues that no state can permit religious groups that have not transformed themselves into bodies both "rational" and self-critical" (Moral Pluralism, 1990).
The state, therefore, becomes mentor, teacher, and priest. Princeton University's Steven Macedo in his book, The New Right Versus the Constitution, sees the state as "a permanently educative order," allowing the legitimate authority to use its coercive powers (read, police powers) against "illiberal churches" in order to promote greater freedom. He has no problem at all with excluding religious people from public office, such as judgeships.
The government's new "educative" power sets it in opposition to parent's rights to raise their children in their own religion. Politics professors Amy Gutmann of Princeton and Dennis Thompson of Harvard "explicitly hold that the state need not be concerned that its educational system might violate the rights of religious believers" (Democracy and Disagreement, 1996). William and Mary School of Law professor James Dwyer holds that "religious education inculcates 'reactionary and repressive' values in children, and for the good of the child, the state is not only obligated to prohibit such schools completely or monitor them closely but also to monitor closely how parents educate their children at home" (Religious Schools vs. Children's Rights, 1998). He goes on to state that "parental choice in education might be 'inconsistent with the state's aims.'" Under the banner of children's rights, parental rights are wiped away!
Not unpredictably, Dwyer demands that "all education inculcate feminism and permissive attitudes toward sexual behavior, and that religions which fail to do so be made subject to state regulation." He believes that the government does not violate the First Amendment restriction against the establishment of religion "so long as its actions are intended to inhibit religion rather than to favor it." Kathleen M. Sullivan of Stanford University Law School claims that "religion must be treated 'asymmetrically' from other freedoms, with 'entanglement' between government and religion a good thing for the purpose of restraining religion."
These haters of God would commit mayhem against the United States' Constitution (and against Americans) in order to build their utopian society of sterile rationality and unfettered choice. It brings to mind Romans 1:18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." While we are unable to stop them, we can be thankful that we side with the One who can—and will. In the utopia He builds, religion will have a paramount place.