By David Beilstein
NATIONAL REVIEW’S Daniel Foster posted an article asking, why Republicans are the only ones asked questions about religion. The article focuses on Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a Roman Catholic, and questions directed at him about the age of the earth. Obviously, the questions had a curmudgeonly throughway, aimed at making Rubio look like a fundamentalist fool, akin to Rick Santorum.
Rubio’s answer was refreshing,
I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
Interestingly enough, the paradigm of the progressive media attacking religious GOP candidates is relatively new; a product of an increased secularist culture. Dr D.G. Hart and Mr John R Muether document this change in the electorate, especially throughout the mainstream press, in an article entitled The New Riddle of Roman Catholicism.
Dr Hart and Mr Muether write,
At the time, Pelikan’s book was a helpful primer for unlearned Protestants. Fifty years later, however, Roman Catholicism presents a very different riddle for American Protestants. Consider that in 1960, American Protestants helped to elect John F. Kennedy to the White House when they were persuaded that he would not let his religion influence his Presidency. In 2004, many American Protestants turned against John Kerry, because they feared that Kerry’s Roman Catholic faith would not affect his Presidency.
Clearly, things have changed in 50 years. That being said, one of the reasons the mainstream press becomes so aroused at the opportunity to ask religious Republicans these questions [gotcha politics], is because GOP candidates, especially conservatives, do not understand, or believe, the proper separation of religion and politics; a separation that is not only natural to the revelation of Holy Scripture, but Protestant exegetical development. And this separation, is not only Biblical, but also is Constitutional.
The fear of this dual religio/political paradigm by conservatives has suppressed a proper, and comprehensively classical liberal, approach to governmental polity.
The list of GOP candidates, many so-called conservative, who cannot get this through their thick skulls is legion. And so, while I certainly have no love for a progressive media hostile to the Christian religion; nor am I sympathetic to a political party (Republican Party) that cannot comprehend that Christianity is otherworldly; a secular faith, built upon exclusive claims, instituted in Christ’s Church. Thus, it is the Christian religion itself which carves out a secular sphere of activity and duty, wholly apart from religion.
Sadly, the Republican Party having for years conflated these two kingdoms, now has to defend itself from a fundamentalist perspective, an unattractive perspective, taking precious time away from explicating a secular, richly, classical liberal paradigm for inclusive governance.