Caffeinated Simpleton

Social Values are a Poor Substitute for Policy

I am a Republican. I may or may not vote McCain in this election, but I consider myself to be a Republican. That being said, I really wish the Republicans would shut up about social values.

The party has been transformed under president Bush. Republicans have always been about family values, but since Bush took office, it’s become a central plank in the platform. With McCain I thought we had found a candidate who was going to return to talking about size of government, fiscal responsibility, and corruption. Then he picked Sarah Palin as his running mate and suddenly the media is buzzing about abortion and gay rights again.

I do not care about those issues.

The bible does not say anything about when a fetus becomes a human. It says that we should not kill, but does not go so far as to define the exact moment we should regard a fetus as a human being. People can argue the issue however they please, but in the end it’s always a matter of personal belief. I am personally against abortion in the most broad sense, but if my neighbor’s daughter gets pregnant at 16 and does not think that of abortion as taking a life but instead saving her own, then she is free to believe that and act on that as she deems fit. It is not my place to impose my beliefs.

Unfortunately, abortion has become a huge issue in national politics. There are few pro-life candidates who have gone as far as to say they will only nominate judges who will overturn Roe vs. Wade. This is because saying that would be reckless and irresponsible. Judges are supposed to be non-partisan, and to the extent that they are not, they are still supposed to hold up the precedents of the previous courts unless new evidence comes to light. A judge who is hell bent on overturning Roe vs. Wade would probably not make a good supreme court judge. The decision is not going to be overturned anywhere in the near future. Instead, the topic has just become a litmus test to see if candidates believe what you believe. If a candidate does not specifically say he or she is pro-life, then they are immediately ostracized by the evangelical right even though it will most likely make absolutely no difference in their governance.

A similar issue is gay marriage. Homosexuals sometimes make me uncomfortable when displaying affection, and the bible speaks out against them in a number of places. It never, however, says that it is the place of society to judge them. Instead, it says quite the opposite in “judge not lest you be judged yourself”. It says that it is God’s duty to judge, and I hope in this case he is kind. What homosexuals do in their own home is of absolutely no consequence to me, and I could not care less whether they get a tax break or not. If they regard themselves as married, who is the government to say that they are not? Does the government question the legitimacy of a shotgun marriage that is the result of an accidental pregnancy?

The point of this post is not to say that these issues are not important. They are important. However, they are also personal. The government has very little business in dealing with them, and the fact that they enter our elections as much as the state of the economy or foreign affairs bothers me to no end. Why oh why can’t we just let this go?

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