John Kasich: totally secular society would rob the United States of its morals.

John Kasich: totally secular society would rob the United States of its morals. October 8, 2015

Presidential candidate John Kasich apparently thinks that secularism and morality are at odds:

Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) is warning that a move to a “totally secular society” would rob the United States of its morals and complicate the fight against Islamic terrorists.

Yes, because without religion how could we possibly be concerned about religious violence?

“If we become secularists when we face a radical Islam that is the farthest thing from secularist, when we can’t unite with our friends in the Jewish, Muslim and Christian community to espouse a set of values that is the true way for human beings to conduct their lives and live their lives, we will be in a very severe crisis point,” Kasich, a presidential contender, said Tuesday before the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

The answer to religious oppression is religious oppression by other groups?  Hrm.

The solution is to build laws based on compassion.  As long as we make our goal to maximize well-being and inhibit suffering we don’t need religion, our laws will be good for the world without it.

Kasich made the comment as he pivoted from a question on gay marriage.

He said that the “aggressive search for a secular society isn’t working,” leaving the country without a shared set of morals.

Yeah, we don’t have a shared set of morals, but secularism isn’t the problem.  People are diverse, so for one a shared set of morals probably won’t ever happen.  However, the real reason we don’t have a shared set of morals is that there’s a subset of the population that resolves conflicts between compassion and their religion’s commands by conceding to the religion.  I mean, just look at same-sex marriage for which virtually the entirety of the opposition is catalyzed by religious commands.  There’s no reason that owes anything to concern for individual liberty or well-being that can be deployed to impede same-sex marriages.

The difference is this: some of us love ideals like liberty and compassion while others love their religion more than those things.  That’s what really keeps us from having a shared set of morals, and we shouldn’t resolve it by bowing to religion at the expense of compassion and fairness.

“The sense of right and wrong that comes from the great religions is something the West should begin to pay attention to and not continue to drive towards a totally secular society,” he said.

Yeah, if we’re not getting our sense of right and wrong from a book that paints genocide by drowning as a morally good act and which contains a long list of reasons to kill your neighbors (like if they work on Saturday), where would we get it?  I’d hardly call that religion “great.”

And if you appreciate religious freedom (which, as much as the GOP voter bases talks about it we can only assume they do), then you should love secularism.  Your freedom to be a Christian implies your freedom not to be bound by the laws of Islam.  The religious freedom of the Muslim, Hindu, etc. is predicated on the freedom to not be bound by arbitrary laws drawn from Christianity.  Religious freedom can only be maintained if all religions are unable to create laws based on their religion to lord over other religions.

Kasich would do away with that.  He would destroy the ideal of religious liberty.  He would have us follow his lead in the interest of having a “shared set of morals.”  But what he wants isn’t moral.  We’d just have a shared lack of concern for people who aren’t a part of the majority religion.  Frankly, the only thing moral to do here is to say “no.”

And if you want to know how negatively Christianity can affect morals, look at the people who aren’t saying “no.”

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