A Thought Experiment

There is a thought exercise I have when thinking about liberalism in the classical sense. Imagine that you live in the U.S. 50 years from now, but there was an infusion of Indian immigrants and there is now a large majority Hindu population. Meanwhile the evangelical Christian numbers have shrunk to make up a small minority of the population. Now, imagine that Hindus make up a majority of the Republican party in this future and the conservatives have passed a bill that would make it illegal to farm cattle and eat beef of any sort. After all, cows are sacred and the slaughter of them is a holocaust that is offensive to the nostrils of Hindu’s and is a reflection of the truth in their religion. Does it not matter that there is a Christian contingent, amongst other groups, whose beliefs differ and say that eating beef is acceptable? It should, but not according to the Hindu majority.

Now transfer back to modern day America. Evangelicals believe just as strongly as that Hindu majority that abortion is evil in the eyes of God as well as same sex relationships. Does it not matter that there are others who do not hold to these beliefs? In a liberal society, the protection of the beliefs and rights of minorities and smaller groups is paramount. Although it would be great if, as Aaron Ross Powell argues, we could celebrate differences, at a minimum a pluralistic society requires toleration. Unlike the “Dont Tread on Me” cry, it requires us to instead advocate that the government “Don’t Tread on Anyone”. To advocate for the rights and liberties of those not strong enough to be in the majority. This thought experiment doesn’t answer every question and conflict, it does serve me well as a guiding thought. Christians should not advocate that our religious views apply to others via law because legislating morality doesn’t work, but because from the perspective of governing, politics is not the place to hash out those differences in values.

Daniel Jeskey @danieljeskey