This country of ours has 170,000 pages of federal regulations, a nanny state that will get you if you don’t watch out.
But, oh dear, some say, Christians of the Barr kind will heed moral notions that transform our democracy into a theocracy. I wonder if these masterminds among us know what Christian morals actually are, if they understand, for instance, what Paul said when he talked about love and described its elements: patience, kindness, humility, calmness, delight in truth, perseverance in helping others, hope and letting one’s life revolve around something bigger than self.
Now let’s turn to secular morals.
Relativity is a biggie. No moral truth is objectively true, some secularists tell us, and you wonder if they ever heard of the philosopher who asked if it is then sometimes OK to torture a baby to death for the fun of it?
We get multiculturalism that tells us all cultures are equal in their values even though we know some cultures approve of killing homosexuals, adulteresses and people of other faiths.
We have utilitarians who are willing to accept some evils if they make large numbers of people happy, and we know this can be a terror.
We have people wedded to political ideologies easily as dogmatic as religion.
We have political correctness that often sees the trivial as momentous and sometimes punishes itsy bitsy transgressions by ruining lives.
All of this gets complicated, but it is not complicated to say that someone heeding basic religious precepts is ordinarily going to be far less dangerous to democracy than, say, Sen. Bernie Sanders and his historically catastrophic, unshakeable aspirations for governmental envelopment.
Though not generally recognized, Christianity has been a major force in giving us science, universities, liberty and the values that still instruct to at least some extent the values of many nonbelievers. Though the New Atheists say religion gives us war, research indicates that no more than 10 percent of wars have strong religious connections.
None of this is meant to say that no horrors have been committed in the name of religion or that religious people are ipso facto better than the non-religious. Most Christians recognize their own sinfulness.
But it is the case that religion is in steep decline in America today and that the consequences could be human degradation. The sociologist Charles Murray has shown, for instance, that the most constant churchgoers among us are the upper middle class and that the working class is suffering mightily from increasing religious neglect that can leave people without communal help, meaningfulness and wise guidance.
Hurrah for Barr.