This post was originally posted at The New Democrat
Perhaps the new way to describe the Christian Right in America is to call them the "Do What I Say Not What I do Right." Perhaps the so-called the "Family Values Coalition" (which has as much meaning as "jumbo shrimp") should be called the "Moral in Public Coalition" or the "What We Do in Private is our Business and what other Americans do in Private is our Business Too Coalition." Because of our morality and honesty we know best how each and every American should live their own lives. How about "The Give Me a Break Coalition?"
There's a powerful religious/political block in the United States called the Christian Right or Religious Right. A lot of these people, despite their bigoted views, are otherwise good people. They are loyal to their spouses, loyal to their kids, volunteer for their communities, help the less-fortunate and a lot of other things that make people good. This voting block, at least in the South and rural America, is usually big enough to decide whether Republicans are politically successful or not.
But here's a perfect example of why religion shouldn't be mixed with politics. I'm not saying that religious people shouldn't be active in politics but that when religion gets mixed into your political philosophy, or becomes your political philosophy as with the Christian Right, it becomes a big problem. Then your politics tend to oppose the constitutional rights of other Americans. They have constitutional rights to live their own lives as they choose, because of the rights of privacy, free speech, and freedom of religion, even if their choices go against your religious beliefs. Attempting to encode your religious beliefs in law, as in "Right to Life," infringes the constitutional rights of citizens who do not agree with you.
But I can't end this post without addressing the hypocrisy of politicians who claim to live by moral or family values. What does that mean? That's like hearing Republicans say that they believe in individual freedom and responsibility. Individual freedom and responsibility for whom to do what? They tend to leave out the answers to these questions when speaking in public. In private, they do what makes them happy and try not to get caught.
Maybe the so-called Moral or Family Values Coalition should say we believe this is how other Americans should live their lives. If you don't live your life as we tell you to do, we are going to label you as immoral or Un-American, even if we do the same things you're doing.
The Republican Party needs this religious fringe because they can't be politically successful without it. They have to pretend to care about their issues or they'll not win elections.