If America is a moral religious conservative democracy, then how should the morality of religion be included into the function of a democracy with strong conservative values?
With fundamentalism exerting itself not only in the Middle East but in the United States as well, such is one of the most important questions of our time as American citizens, if we want to perceive our country as a moral religious conservative democracy. When discussing the matter of morality and religion, it helps to remember that given the free marketplace of ideas essential to any democracy, and the history of human nature as a series of hypocritical mistakes, that morals and ethics are not the private fiefdoms of religion and that religion is not the only means to create and maintain morality in an ethical society.
The conservative perspective, as a historical perspective of precedent in how various societies and their respective governments are managed, dictates that religion is an integral part of any civilized community, large or small, be it a small nation-state or a great empire. Religion has, historically, always been a "must" for any and all successful nations. However, it has also been a constant detriment to the personal freedoms of the individual, particularly when religious bodies have exercised tremendous social, political, and economic influence. The conservative affectation, in America especially, has repeatedly and aggressively demonstrated the importance of secular law as the check that creates balance culturally throughout our country, in order to minimize the disparaging effects of religious allegiances and religious prejudices on the economic, social, and political advancement of each and every citizen. If the Declaration of Independence is correct "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," is the triumvirate that must qualify all ethics demonstrated in our laws. And, to reference our revolutions Enlightenment origins in England, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of property." In a successful republic, for example, the use of religion is best limited to the individual choices of members of various groups, excluding the passage of laws that give any advantages to certain groups and therefore enact disadvantages affecting any other. Such is the rationale of the constitution of our federal government in regard to the question of "church and state."
In a conservative republic, morality must, like the law in any effective democracy, maximize the well being of all citizens regardless of matters that are of a personal choice, such as religion, economics, political affiliation, sex, gender, and sexual orientation. It is for the sake of the conservative, the democratic, and the moral, that no limitations be placed on any single citizen for personal reasons, regardless of religion.
Such is why the matter of gay, lesbian, and transgender rights is of paramount importance to all American citizens, to the citizenry of all democratic nation-states. Rick Perry recently stated that "faith made America strong." He probably has never heard of "On Democracy in America," by Alexis de Tocqueville. Tocqueville, a French political philosopher and historian, in 1835 published a treatise entailing why a representative democracy had succeeded in America while it had failed in France around the same time of their respective revolutions.
"On Democracy," made many startling predictions, such as the rise of the United States as a global industrial power, the competition of America and Russia on an international scale, and the American Civil War. One of the most poignant insights into his advocacy of the American republic was the active separation, condoned by the citizenry as a whole, of religious sentiments in shaping public doctrine. Religion may very well act as an essential agent for the moral in a conservative society. However, for a democracy, let alone a republic, to function, regardless of whether or not it is conservative or liberal, morality must be reflected in a secular sense that applies to all persons, regardless of religious allegiance.
When religious allegiances become social, economical, and political, freedom becomes only as free as religion dictates, and the liberty of the individual becomes subservient to the liberties of the religious community. If America is a moral religious conservative deomocracy, then how should the morality of religion be included into the function of a democracy with strong conservative values? For a moral religious conservative democracy, secular ethics must come first and religious morals second.