Politics and Religion
Politics and Religion
Do Religion And Politics Go Hand In Hand? Of Course They Do! Religion in politics has long been a taboo subject or elusive topic to most as they argue that they cannot cohesively coexist together when in all actuality they can and do coexist together. Religion and politics essentially belong together like mashed potatoes and gravy so to speak. However, all around the world the extent to which they coexist varies depending on the cultural influence as well as historical significance pertaining to their area. Religion plays a huge role in American politics.
During the 2012 election year people were polled on the importance of religion in their lives and 56 percent said that it is “very important in their lives. ” (Miller) Religion plays a substantial role in politics — from influencing how some politicians will cast their vote on certain issues to persuading voters to vote for one candidate or another. Although America prides itself on its religious diversity and separation of church and state however it is a prove fact that religion helps determine who a voter will cast their ballot for.
A Gallup poll from June of 2012 discovered that 58 percent of Americans would vote for a Muslim candidate while only 54 percent of Americans would vote for an atheist candidate. When polled it also found that only 1 in 5 Americans would vote for a Mormon candidate which could have essentially cost Romney millions of votes due to his religious preference. Indeed we have seen religion play a very influential role in politics in 2012.
Religion and politics were very closely tied together during the presidency of George Walker Bush. “In the eyes of a lot of people religion played a bigger role in government than usual during the presidency of George W. Bush. President Bush evoked God in his speeches more often than other presidents, stated in interviews that God advised him on certain actions and that he firmly believed that he was enacting God’s will as the chief executive of the United States. (Oganesian) Even our Declaration of Independence closely ties religion and politics together with such statements as, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. ” Notice that Creator is capitalized and undeniably it states that we are endowed certain unalienable rights from our Creator. This can either be someone’s higher power if they choose to call it by that name or simply it could be God.
Does religion truly belong in politics? This may very well be one of the toughest questions ever asked in this day and age. Religion delves on the belief in good and morality while politics are the workings and dealings of the administration of government. We are a Nation that was founded on Moral Values, Decency and the rule of law. God’s laws will always play a part in politics. If you examine our money even it says,” In God We Trust. ” Truly separation of church and state will never be fully successful.
When our President is sworn in to the oath of office even he has to swear on a Holy Bible. Is he not the highest ranking government official in our nation? Yet even he has to follow the rules and guidelines that deal with religion. Over and over again we see how closely religion and politics are actually entwined with one another. According to Djupe and Olson, psychological approaches to the study of religion and politics “view the key attachment point between religious faith and political commitments as the individual’s identification with religious reference groups” (2007:256).
Leege and his colleagues noted that the psychological power of group identification is essential to religion’s effect on politics. For example, groups form the basis of cleavage in a larger society for a variety of cultural and political reasons: (1) whether based on voluntary affiliation or generational replacement, groups socialize members into their values ;( 2) through processes of social identification; groups develop consciousness of kind so that it is possible for members to say “we… hey”; (3) through the interaction of members, a sense of social cohesion develops that provides reinforcement for group identity and norms; and (4) through an advantageous political shorthand, political elites think of society in terms of groups. (2002:49–50) Political issues such as abortion and even same sex marriages are governed by some underlying religious values. For example, many laws dealing with these issues are either vetoed or not put into law by the people who in turn use their religious values to help them vote on the topic.
Many states still outlaw homosexual marriages because when it is put on the ballot those who believe that it is wrong vote against it so such laws cannot be passed. Many top politicians think of society in terms of groups whether they be religious groups or political groups. We live in an increasingly religious world in which faith and belief affect every dimension of our existence, so our politicians better talk about it. (Marshall, 2008) Religion does not exist in solitude or expressly by itself. It molds our fundamental view of the essence of human life and the morality in which we should live our lives.
Going back to the Constitution the First Amendment guarantees “the free exercise of religion and prohibits the establishment of religion by the government. ” By guaranteeing the free exercise of religion and prohibiting the establishment of religion by the government these principles are working together to protect religious freedom as well as a diversely thriving and religious landscape. The role of religion in politics around the world is sometimes controversial at best however even in other countries politics and religion are closely tied together.
Even in post-communist countries such as Latvia political parties and religious groups have alliances which can sometimes sway their supporters to vote for a certain political force. The “Harmony Center”, that positions itself as an alliance of several (but not all) Social Democratic parties, also demonstrates special courtesy to the church. (Tcraudkalns, pg5) Even in Australia where their reputation for “godlessness” dates back to the nineteenth century where most places had pubs before they had a church religion and politics are still tied closely together.
Australia has a unique way of describing politics and religion in terms of masculinity and femininity. “This reference to Australian “maleness” suggests that discussions of the relationship between politics and religion are always also discussions about gender. The association of masculinity with the public realm and rationality, and of femininity with religious faith and the home, makes this impossible to avoid. ” (Bellanta, pg10) Although there has never been an established church in Australia the churches that are large and established have had a specific presence and role in public matters.
However secular Australia proclaims to be religion has a new found role for itself which proves it has not been abolished. Gustavo Gutierrez, a Peruvian theologian, has provided since the late 1960s a theological interpretation of the person of God and his work that has been closely linked with human history, and particularly with the poor and the marginalized. (Aguilar pg. 146) Gutierrez believed that a direct connection of the Christian faith and the practice of politics could be felt as a result of Christ’s incarnation.
He closely tied together religion and politics through the human commonality and to the practice of religion and politics centered on the poor, on the commandment of love and of service to the marginalized as a way of life and in a new era of hermeneutics and commonality. Gutierrez relied heavily on biblical text to tie together religion and politics through the service of the poor. When reading Gutierrez’s writing there is no concise separation of religion and politics.
He clearly stated that the practice of religion as well as the practice of politics must be conveyed through the Christian faith. In the words of Gutierrez: “We shall not have our great leap forward, into a whole new theological perspective, until the marginalized and exploited have begun to become the artisans of their own liberation—until their voice makes itself heard directly, without mediation, without interpreters—until they themselves take account, in the light of their own values, of their own experience of the Lord in their efforts to liberate themselves.
We shall not have our quantum theological leap until the oppressed themselves theologize, until “the others” themselves personally reflect on their hope of a total liberation in Christ. For they are the bearers of this hope for all humanity. ” Nigeria’s view on politics and religion are that they mix like “snake oil and fire water. ” It is said that Nigerians are some of the most prayerful people on Earth however Olaye is upset that politicians speak godly words to one another without acting on it. We are taught in the U. S. enerally not to mix religion and politics I our conversation however that does not ring true in Nigeria because they do quite opposite of that. Although Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council is taking prayer from the beginning of public events they are still going to read the pious words of the second stanza of Nigeria’s national anthem. (Sample: “Oh God of creation. Direct our noble course. Guide our leader’s right. ”(Olaye) Olaye wishes that Nigeria politicians would stop the hypocrisy and says until they do that their country will continue to suffer.
In Egypt even the Secretary General has an interesting view on politics and religion. He expressed hope that Muslims would draw a line so that “politics does not dominate religion, and religion does not dominate politics”. (Ihsanoglu) Two of the main fears in Egypt right now after the fall of Hosni Mubarak are actually related to religion. They are religious identity politics and the largest minority of the religious demographic Coptic Christians. He believes in mutual respect and non-interference between the Islam religion and Egyptian political order.
These beliefs are showing us that all over the world no matter how separate people try to keep church and state they are actually inevitably entwined together with no line of separation in sight. Some well-known republicans such as Mike Huckabee and Billy Graham are well known Christians who also turn their values of faith into the public’s eye. During the 2012 election season Graham was quoted as saying, “I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.
I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God. ” Some would even say that Democrats do the best to live by biblical principles of taking care of the less fortunate among us who are already among the living. However it could be argued that Republicans take a better stance on the biblical principle of protecting the unborn. Jesus warns against those who aspire to political correctness.
He says: •let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind. (Matthew 15:14) •…in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9) •Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? (Luke 6:39)(The Holy Bible) Even as far back as in Jesus time he himself laid out the foundation of politics and religion being one in the same. In church it is taught that going against what is the law such as speeding is considered sin and goes against the political laws which have been set forth in our society.
Therefore religious people must abide by the political values set forth in our society. If you turn the table’s politicians must even be religious to a degree because they consider killing, stealing, etc. to be wrong and thus are religiously entwined to the Ten Commandments. In conclusion I say religion in politics has long been a taboo subject and elusive topic to most as they argue that they cannot cohesively coexist together when in all actuality they can and do coexist together.
Religion and politics essentially belong together as they date back to even biblical times. However, all around the world the extent to which they coexist varies depending on the cultural influence as well as historical significance pertaining to their area. We have seen that I places such as Latvia, Egypt, and even Nigeria that religion and politics do go together however the extent of their union depends on their different cultural influences.
Religion and politics even though we have been taught do not need to bring up as a singular subject and in fact they actually can be brought up together and should be because they are essentially a married union to one another. Whilst some critics will still argue that religion and politics are a disaster when they are meshed together their will always be people who disagree o the subject. Everyone will never be o the same page when it pertains to religion in politics or politics in religion.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 6 October 2016
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