If George Washington said it, it carries weight with me.
We'd concede it may be possible in theory for a society to be both free of religion and politically free, but it has not happened any time in history that we are aware of, certainly not in contemporary Europe. The highest-profile attempts at religion-free societies, revolutionary France and Bolshevik Russia, both resulted in paroxysms of violence that trampled both political and religious freedoms. When the great editor of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Bartley, made a trip to the Soviet Union, he concluded that the great flaw in its system was its official atheism.
No one is suggesting that all religious societies are politically free; Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan under the Taliban are cases in point. Nor are we suggesting that the American government should establish one religion over another, or that atheists or agnostics cannot be good citizens. There are countless examples to prove otherwise. But belief in a higher power is so fundamental to the development of civilization and is such a ubiquitous, deep, and abiding feature of such huge numbers of civilized people that it is impossible, by definition, to exclude religion without destroying liberty for all.
If Mr. Romney left some of these particulars unsaid, perhaps he felt the point had been already made by the man after whom the Washington Post was named. In his 1796 farewell address, the first president said: "And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."
Monday, December 10, 2007
Freedom requires religion
I'll chalk it up to being sleep deprived due to the newborn baby, to muddling through the argument below. Fortunately the New York Post makes the succinct argument for me: (via The Corner)
Posted by Framer at 9:02 AM