LifeSiteNews interviews Ron Paul: protect family, marriage, life by protecting subsidiarity
WASHINGTON, January 19, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - When it comes to the voting booth, pro-life and pro-family voters are among the most passionately dedicated to their issues. Their zeal may be challenged by only one other group: Ron Paul enthusiasts.
Although mainstream politics may look at both groups askance, the relationship between the two themselves is not so clear. At the center of the question, of course, is Ron Paul himself: is the Paul philosophy compatible with the voter who puts life and family first?
In a telephone interview with LifeSiteNews.com Wednesday, the Texas Congressman proposed his vision on government as an alternative strategy in securing the future of America: casting limited government as not just a libertarian quirk, but a key to protecting religious rights in battles yet to be seen.
Despite a considerable pro-life pedigree, Paul, whom polls still show in serious contention as the conservative Romney alternative, is anything but synonymous with the national pro-life movement. In large part, he says this is because of his record in Congress: he has voted against several federal abortion regulations as unauthorized by the U.S. Constitution.
So why should those who vote pro-life first, vote for “Dr. No”? Paul suggested the answer requires a broad-angle lens on the state of affairs, including the struggle in higher echelons for control over America’s soul. When it comes to choosing the next U.S. president, he says, conservative Christians, including pro-lifers and homeschooling families, should be looking for someone willing to turn against the tide of greater centralized power.
“They [progressives] would like to excommunicate us, so to speak, from the social system, because we have Christian values,” said Paul. “Once you give the government this power to make these decisions, then we’re in trouble - even though some people might think, oh, well, we’re in charge, and we’re going to make the right decisions, and we’ll always tell [citizens] the good things they should do. I don’t think it’s possible.”
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Paul doesn’t eschew all federal involvement on the question, and favors going right to the top: he says he hopes to build towards a constitutional amendment banning abortion, while pursuing a constitutional method to help the culture of life turn itself around on the state level. This includes federal personhood legislation, which he has personally introduced into U.S. Congress, as well as measures to take the power away from federal courts to mandate a “right” to abortion. History shows that this method locks in to the real dynamics of the abortion issue - which has always been mainly spiritual, rather than legal, he said.
“The real problem started in the 60s when there was a change in the morality of our people, who started defying the law and doing abortions, and respect for life dropped off,” he said. “The law was changed to conform to the lack of moral standing in this country. So that’s where the real problem is.”
But Paul’s emphasis on Constitutional fidelity has also run the Texas Congressman into trouble with marriage defenders, such as the National Organization for Marriage, who have heavily criticized his opposition to federal moves to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Again, said Paul, it becomes a question of state versus federal power. He emphasized that, speaking “as a presidential candidate,” his words against government power are largely directed at the federal level.
When asked if he would veto a same-sex marriage bill as a state governor, he said yes, “if they were going to call that marriage.”
“For state purposes, I’ve defended the right of the state to be able to set the standards,” said Paul. If we let the federal government mandate a marriage definition, he warned, nothing would necessarily keep it the right one.
“If the federal government gets involved, they are going to write a definition. They might not want a dictionary definition or a Christian definition of marriage,” he said. “That’s why I fear the federal government getting in, because they will put pressure on all the states to follow their definition.”
Paul added that he would like marriage to take place “personally and through the church,” which he said was not without historical precedent, and said that issues like spousal benefits and custody battles can be properly handled on a community level.
In short, he says, “the people closest to the situation should have the most to say about it.”
When it comes to homeschooling rights, Paul’s radical views come into even sharper relief: the Congressman says his bill to remove federal jurisdiction would remove power of federal courts to bully homeschoolers as well. Paul foresees that homeschooling might one day be as threatened in America as in Germany or Sweden, where parents have lost children to state custody because they homeschooled.
“If you want homeschooling to become a national issue, we’re going to lose,” said Paul. “What we want to do is get the federal government out, and make sure states protect us in having homeschooling.”
He spoke in similar terms regarding one of the biggest conservative hangups over the candidate: loosening regulations on drugs and prostitution. While states have the right to restrict or ban such things, he said, choosing not to regulate certain activities through government does not constitute endorsement.
“If we embark on this idea that the government can sort all this out, we’re in big trouble, because that’s what [progressives] are trying to do right now,” he said.
“The states have a lot of leeway in what they want to do,” he concluded, “but I look at the Constitution as only allowing us to explicitly what we’ve been given the power to do.”