Sullivan on religion and politics

Following his thoughtful piece in The New Republic on faith and conservatism, Andrew Sullivan has been responding to some of his critics. Here’s the core of his argument, which has nothing to do with right and left, and everything to do with how we live together. Quoted at length, because it deserves it:

“A conservative of doubt” [or indeed any sincere person – c’mon, Andrew] “may believe that he has a very clear grasp on moral truth. He may believe he is in the grip of divine revelation. He may believe he is so brilliant that he has solved the riddle of truth for all time. But he is also aware that he is not the only one on the planet, that others may have equally certain views of the truth, and that turning politics into a place where one eternal truth is pitted against another is a recipe for civil war and social conflict. The result would be a religious war…. Avoiding this kind of conflict was the crux of the liberal state and of the American founding. It requires bracketing your own moral truth in favor of political peace and pluralism. This is a big sacrifice, as Hobbes and Locke and the American founders fully understood. It may even, as Nietzsche suspected, sap religious faith of much of its power. But they were prepared to make it.”