Opinion | Can We Reconcile Faith and Politics?

To the Editor:

I have read David Brooks for years. He has, at times, expressed an optimism I did not share but I could see his point. But in “How Faith Shapes My Politics” (column, Sept. 25), his optimism is misplaced and dangerous.

Modern evangelicals and other religious extremists do not separate their faith from morality; to them, their morality is an expression of their allegiance to God and their ticket to salvation. They do not care a whit that their narrow Christian morality restricts other people’s freedoms and diminishes their value.

The current course of American culture, political policy and legal decisions is to allow Christian morality to rule our culture and elevate Christian morality as the supreme law of the land. Mr. Brooks should open his eyes.

Lary Simms
Las Vegas

To the Editor:

David Brooks’s faith transformation should have as much effect on people as the religious beliefs of others: none. It’s personal. Yet how narrow is the belief that without a biblical “metaphysic,” morality withers? And how entitled must one be to believe that we have more to fear from political dogmatism than religious dogmatism?

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s directive to graduating law students to “keep in mind that your legal career is but a means to an end, and … that end is building the kingdom of God” is a crystalline signal that faith will direct her legal opinions. Mr. Brooks will be safe from any effect, but millions of American women will not.

Lisa Shoglow
Weston, Conn.

To the Editor:

I agree with David Brooks about the infinite goodness of love and about the intrinsic soul within each of us. I am flummoxed, however, by how to apply that belief, as a religious or secular value, to the Republican Party and its soulless leader, neither of which seem remotely interested in deriving a loving outcome for this country.

Kim Duncan
Portland, Ore.

To the Editor:

Although David Brooks’s column about faith and politics is moving and impressive, it rings hollow.

As a gay man in his 70s who grew up in the South in a Baptist church, I have spent most of my life experiencing the effects of political actions driven by Christian bigotry.

Yes, there have been gains, especially in the last 20 years, to give people like me the same rights as other citizens, but those gains are publicly threatened by many religious institutions and individuals.

This is my personal truth, which contradicts Mr. Brooks’s argument. I can only try to imagine how other people and groups facing political discrimination based on religious bigotry feel.

James F. Smith
Jackson, Miss.

To the Editor:

Thank you, David Brooks, for a balanced approach toward politics and religion. Now, get my fellow Catholics to think the same way.

Donald Trump is encouraging Catholics to believe that abortion is the main and indeed only issue in the campaign. Fanatical single-issue voters are a danger to democracy and the rule of law. They do not realize that the president is using them because of their religious beliefs when abortion is essentially a social concern.

It will happen regardless of any law, regardless of any political opinion, regardless of any court decision. Our objective is to lessen the practice by social discouragement and, where applicable, with financial aid.

Raymond Peringer
Toronto

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