The Spirit of Liberty and the Spirit of Religion
That the American people are a religious people is plain. But it is just as plain that they do not want clerics dictating their politics or politicians dictating their religion to them. The undeniable tension between what Tocqueville called the “spirit of liberty” and the “spirit of religion” is in some sense the saga of America, and it is even what makes America great. It has also, rather suddenly, come to be regarded as the noose that may yet strangle the life out of the Republican party.
The dire predictions—which are not unmixed with a certain anticipatory glee—come most obviously from the direction of the liberal media and leading figures in the Democratic party. For some years now, a methodical campaign has been conducted from these quarters to convince economic conservatives, moderate country-club Republicans, libertarians, and Reagan Democrats that the GOP has fallen into the hands of religious zealots.
About the Author
Adam Wolfson is editor of the Public Interest