Denouncing the merger of politics and moral values has become a popular rhetorical tool in America. Separating religion and politics has always been a central belief in the US, but it does not go far enough for some people. Recently, there has been a push to upgrade the idea of separation of religion and politics to the separation of morals and politics (insert joke about immoral politicians here). This belief is most common among Democrats, and they often cite the “separation of church and state” as the basis for this set of beliefs. The problem is, morals and religion are two very different things.
Everyone agrees that murder is morally wrong, but it is also part of various religious beliefs (see the Ten Commandments). Does this mean that murder should be made legal to protect the separation of church and state? Of course that would be ridiculous because virtually everyone agrees that murder is wrong regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof.
On the other hand, the belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is a religious belief. Only one religion, Christianity, believes that. The difference between moral and religious beliefs can be subtle at times, but it is usually pretty clear. When an idea transcends multiple religions (gay marriage, murder, helping the poor, etc.) it is probably safe to say it is not a religious belief, rather, it is a moral that many people from many backgrounds happen to agree with.
Many fail to realize that at its core, the moral values argument is a fallacy. Most voters in this country choose candidates and political parties based on ideas. Whether it be the environment, economics, foreign policy, welfare, gun rights, or abortion, parties and voters choose their beliefs based on their sense of right and wrong. Since right and wrong make up a persons moral core, it would be true to say that most people vote in line with their own morals.
Despite both major political parties aggressively trying to make the country better based on their morals (liberals with gun control, conservatives with restrictions on Janet Jackson’s breasts), only one party is associated with it. It is often said that Republicans are leading a crusade to push their moral values on America (or something like that).
Ironically, the Democratic Party deserves most of the blame when it comes to morals in politics. While Democrats claim to be against forcing values on others, they are responsible for creating the most invasive moral project that exists in our government – the welfare state. Currently, our national budget is around $2.6 trillion. The three biggest injections of moral values into our government ($1 trillion worth) are Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
Each one of these programs forces a value onto the citizens of this country that many do not agree with. Certain citizens may prefer to buy a TV, a car, a house, or even to give money to a different social cause, but the government coerces taxpayers to pay for the healthcare and retirement of others whether they agree with the cause or not (and regardless of the programs effectiveness).
Why force others into paying for those programs? The short answer is that Democrats think their morals are superior to Republican morals. Don’t get me wrong, that is a legitimate, but it is hypocritical.
The argument Democrats make against morals in politics is fallacious. Either you have to accept that both parties try to legislate their morals (and vote with the party that more closely represents your values), or you should vote Libertarian and truly be against all unnecessary moral values in politics.