Christopher Hitchens points out a few problems concerning the compatibility of religious-right doctrine with that of freedom. To wit:
The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100%. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. . . . Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some god-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism."
"Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother." And he said, "All these have I kept from my youth up." Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me."
The first citation is from Barry Goldwater, moral founder of the Reagan revolution, who, when I interviewed him on his retirement from the Senate, vowed to "kick Jerry Falwell in the ass."
The second citation is from Luke 18:20-22.
I am neither a Republican nor a Christian, and I don’t propose that there is any congruence between Sen. Goldwater’s annoyance and the alleged words (which occur in similar form in all four gospels) of the possibly mythical Nazarene. Yet two things are obvious. The first is that many conservatives appreciate the value of a secular republic, and do not make the idiotic confusion between "secular" and "atheist" that is so common nowadays. The second is that no "Moral Majority" type has yet proposed that the most important commandment, the one underlined by Jesus himself, be displayed in courtrooms or schoolrooms. It turns out that the Eleventh Commandment is not "Thou shalt speak no ill of fellow Republicans," but is, rather, a demand for the most extreme kind of leveling and redistribution.
I have never understood why conservative entrepreneurs are so all-fired pious and Bible-thumping, let alone why so many of them claim Jesus as their best friend and personal savior. The Old Testament is bad enough: The commandments forbid us even to envy or covet our neighbor’s goods, and thus condemn the very spirit of emulation and ambition that makes enterprise possible. But the New Testament is worse: It tells us to forget thrift and saving, to take no thought for the morrow, and to throw away our hard-earned wealth on the shiftless and the losers.
I can only point out that from the age of about 10 to 18, when I left for college, I was caught up in that sort of religious fundamentalism. I’m damn happy to have gathered my wits about me, and I’m damn happy that most of my family has too, over the years.
This might offend some, but I see no essential difference between the fundamentalists of Islam and the fundamentalists of Christianity. The non-essential difference is that one has political power, and the other doesn’t.