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Should Religion Be Tied To Politics Essay

  • Religion tied to politics, in history, has never worked.

    Look back at history and you will see that nothing good has ever come of religion and politics mixing. Look at how the Catholic church ruled Europe during the Dark Ages and you will see my point. Look how the conquistadors converted the new world in the 15th and 16th century. You can even look to modern examples in the middle east with ISIS, Iran, Iraq and Syria, among others, rule under strict Sharia law. If you truly want a tolerant society, religion, specifically Christianity and Islam, must die.

  • Science should be the only factor involved in political decisions.

    It is pretty clear that people can interpret religion in many ways, which leads to people having segregating views on what the best thing to do is. Looking at the comments on the left, people feel they need religion to provide them with some sort of moral guidance which is worrying. I follow no religion and am quite capable through intelligent decision making of understanding that hurting others is wrong, that we should teach what is relevant and leave spirituality/religion out of education as this is something that should be found by yourself if it is something you want in your life (i have no objection to people having religious beliefs) i just don't agree that it should be part of decision making for the future of humanity.

  • It's too late

    Religion has already infiltrated our government. It has been here since the beginning, for America at least, since the founding fathers molded the country it has been a parasite that controls votes and decisions. I wish it were different, but nothing will change it. Anybody who thinks it isn't there is either special or a politician.

  • It's too late

    Religion has already infiltrated our government. It has been here since the beginning, for America at least, since the founding fathers molded the country it has been a parasite that controls votes and decisions. I wish it were different, but nothing will change it. Anybody who thinks it isn't there is either special or a politician.

  • Too many different beliefs

    When making decisions about the country, we must consider things from a non-religious perspective, instead focusing on the political/economic impact, rather than religion. Not everyone is your religion, and there are millions of atheist in the US. It is unfair for people who aren't religious to have to follow laws based on religion, especially since those laws are arbitary- for example, a paw against murder is not a religion based law, but banning evolution is.

  • No religion and politics should not mix

    They say in America it is the duty of every individual to vote in elections. Well religion is different for each individual and for some it doesn't exist. To try to tie something that is so divided among the people to something everyone should always be partaking in is a very dangerous thing.

  • Politics and religion no

    Religion should not be tied to politics because in the bible it talks about freedom of will. This means that he teaches us about what we need to do go to heaven. But it also says we may do as we please. If we tie politics to religion, what religion are we going to have? Are we going to go to jail for all the things we cant do? In the bible it talks about the Ten Commandments.

    1.You shall not have other gods but me.
    There are many religions that have their faith in Saints, and in God. if that’s a sin why do they do it?
    2. You shall not make unto any other images.
    Who knows what God looked like? No one. Then why do they have an image of “him” on a cross? Or have the Holy Mary? She is another person they worship, and she’s not God. That’s another sin.
    3. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.
    We all do this one when we say “Oh My God” when we are impressed or something cool happens.
    4. You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
    On one day of the week we need to do nothing but rest and worship his name. I don’t think I know anyone that does this because we all have things to do. But if we work that’s a sin, if we do anything that doesn’t have to do with worshiping his name that’s a sin.
    5. Honor your father and mother.
    With teens these days I don’t believe kids respect their parents, I always see kids disrespecting their parents, yelling at them and ordering them to buy them stuff. That’s not respect. And its a sin.
    6. You shall not murder.
    There is the death penalty, cops have guns and if they shoot and kill someone it is okay. And if you kill someone because you were defending yourself its okay. Its actually not okay, who are we to kill? God gave us life he shall take it.
    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    Not every one commits adultery, but that’s a sin.
    8. You shall not steal.
    We have all stolen something. Maybe it wasn’t on purpose but it happened.
    9. You shall not bear false witness.
    We all lie to save our butts from something. And we sometimes lie to our friends parents so that they can go somewhere maybe not even with us. There is no such thing as a white lie. A lie is a lie.
    10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.
    We all want what other people have: money, new phones, a hot boyfriend or girlfriend. And we all covet on what our neighbor has so still a sin.

  • Religion and Politics should never mix.

    All it causes is a conflict of interest in many issues, just because someone wants to put too much influence from the bible (e.G. A huge fairy tale) and apply it to modern day laws.

    Wasn't the states originally founded for religious freedom where indeed, people were free to practice their religions...But in the privacy of their homes and not using their beliefs as a weapon against everybody else.

    You see Catholics (not all of them, but it's the religion that shouts the loudest) trying to ban abortions and gay marriage; but you don't see a Jewish person trying to ban pork for everyone just because they can't eat it.

  • No, religion should not be tied to politics.

    People have the right to choose whether or not they believe in God. That is one of the main beliefs involved in America's founding. Nobody should have the teachings of the Bible forced upon them. Not everyone wants to be a slave to the restrictions of religion. We live in a free country and living according to someone else's beliefs is the exact opposite.
    In fact, according to the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797, it reads,"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion..."

  • No

    No politics should not be tied to religion. It has always been my understanding that our founding fathers wanted a separation of church and state. Too often religion gets in the way of lawmakers making the right decision and the decision that the majority of people want. We need to remember that not everyone has the same religious beliefs.

  • Appeared in Secular Humanist Bulletin, vol 24 issue 4

    Religion Has No Place in Government

    Ronald A. Lindsay

    The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 24, Number 4 (Winter 2008/2009).

    On November 11, 2008, the Yale Political Union (YPU) held a debate on the topic “Resolved: Religion Should Have No Place in Government.” YPU invited yours truly to argue in favor of that proposition. After my argument and a question-and-answer period, the student members of YPU took turns giving five-minute speeches in favor of or against the resolution. The debate was lively and intellectually stimulating, and the arguments of the speakers were sharp and unsparing in their criticism—just as they should be. A vote was then held. Regrettably, the resolution was defeated, by a vote of 27 to 45.

    Will I do better with you? You can 
let us know by sending an e-mail with 
your vote to info [at] secularhumanism.org. Please put “Vote on YPU Resolution” in your subject line. We will report the results, along with excerpts from some of the e-mails, in the next issue of SHB. Below, with some edits, is an abridged version of the speech I delivered for YPU.

    Religion should have no place in government. Before I begin to defend that proposition, let me be clear about what I am advocating: I certainly am not advocating that persons who are religious should be excluded from government positions, much less that they should be denied the right to vote. Such a policy of exclusion would be both inadvisable and morally repugnant, even if it were possible to implement such a policy. Nor am I saying that it is improper for government officials or voters to be inspired in some way by their religious beliefs. The source of one’s motivations is a matter of indifference to others, at least to the extent that this motivating source merely provides one with a general commitment to act responsibly and with respect for others in the moral community.

    No, what principally concerns me and many other secularists is religion’s role in informing and shaping public policy and, in particular, in the use of religious tenets as a justification for public policy. It is in that sense that religion has no place in government. Discourse about public policy should be framed entirely in secular terms, and decisions about public policy should be based entirely on secular considerations.

    Why do I take that view? To begin, I am assuming that we are speaking about a democratic form of government, or at least a government of a country in which the citizens are encouraged to discuss and debate public policy and the government is expected to justify its public policy to its citizens. There is one clear prerequisite for democratic discourse to be successful: the participants in that discussion must be able to understand, evaluate, and debate reasons that others offer for their views. That is not possible if religious doctrine is offered as a justification for public-policy positions.

    If you claim that you oppose same-sex marriage because the Old Testament states that homosexual conduct is an abomination, that’s the end of the discussion, isn’t it? There’s really nothing more to say. Similarly, if you claim that you oppose the death penalty solely because you believe it violates God’s commandment not to kill, that also puts a stop to our discussion. At this stage, there’s effectively no way for someone who differs from you to persuade you otherwise.

    Now you might say: Is this such a bad thing provided that, ultimately, decisions on what public policies to pursue are left to the people? Eventually, we will decide at the ballot box which policies will be implemented. True, but notice two things. First, if we allow religious tenets to provide a justification for public policy, then what voters are being asked to decide is whether to vote in favor of particular religious beliefs. I don’t think that I have to dwell on why that is not an especially attractive proposition. The last thing any society needs is to divide along religious lines. History provides ample proof of the serious problems caused by religious disputes and how so often there is no resolution to deep-seated religious divisions other than through violence. Second, there is value in discussion. When we can discuss the pros and cons of a particular policy, we may just arrive at a better decision. As indicated, discussion is foreclosed when one appeals to religious tenets or dogma.

    Now someone might question my key premise. You might ask why is it the case that reliance on religion cuts short discussion. Can’t we discuss religion just like we discuss other beliefs? In principle, perhaps. In reality, no. I should note that one of my colleagues at the Center for Inquiry, Dr. Austin Dacey, has written a book, The Secular Conscience, in which he argues against the view I am advocating here, at least in part. Dacey does not think it is a good thing for religious tenets to influence public policy, but he does maintain that religious beliefs can permissibly be advanced as a justification for policies during public debates. To quote Dacey:

    “Secular liberals must lift the gag order on … religion in public debate. We can no longer insist on precluding controversial … religious claims from public conversation. Let believers and unbelievers speak their minds and let honest debate ensue. This is not to say anything goes in public discourse. Claims of conscience in politics should be held to the same standards as other serious public proposals: honesty, consistency, rationality, evidential support, feasibility, legality, morality, and revisability.”

    One problem with Dacey’s proposal is indicated by the last sentence of that excerpt. Religious belief is not something usually held to the same standards of consistency, rationality, and evidential support as are other beliefs on which public policy might be based, and that includes our moral beliefs. That Jesus was simultaneously both divine and human seems on the face of it impossible—even more than some being having the identity of both a rhinoceros and a worm—but that does not prevent Christians from asserting this belief because at the end of the day they can always invoke “faith.” “Faith” means not having to supply reasons. You cannot argue with someone’s faith. If you don’t believe me, try arguing with a Chicago Cubs fan.

    Furthermore, even if adherents of religion were willing to allow their beliefs to be examined critically, and certainly some theologians are willing to submit at least some of their claims to scrutiny, think about how involved the process of determining public policy would become. Every time someone offered a religious belief as a justification for public policy, we would become immersed in an incredibly complex discussion about whether the underlying religious belief is justified. Let’s say someone favors abstinence-only education because fornication is a sin in Christian doctrine. To start off, we would have to examine the basis for the claim that fornication is indeed a sin. This requires exegesis of biblical texts that are not terribly straightforward or transparent in their meaning. More over, who is to say the Bible represents the commandments of God? We now know, for example, that the four canonical Gospels set forth in the New Testament represent a fraction of the various gospels regarding Jesus that floated around in the first few centuries of the Common Era. How do we determine which statements attributed to Jesus actually represent the views of Jesus? Do we even know whether Jesus existed? Scholars have spent decades on such questions. And, of course, for those who do not accept Jesus as divine or even a divinely inspired prophet, there is the problem of proving to them that they should accept the pronouncements of Jesus as authoritative. How in God’s name do we accomplish that within the period of the time available for coming to a decision on a public policy such as the support of abstinence-only education? We cannot turn every public policy debate into a debate on religion unless we are willing to spend all eternity engaged in such debates.

    Contrast this religion-laden approach to public policy with the secular approach. The primary goals of abstinence-only education are to reduce STDs and unwanted pregnancy. If abstinence-only education is effective in achieving these goals, especially if it is more effective than standard sex education, perhaps it should be supported. If it is not, then support may not be advisable. This is a question that can be resolved through empirical studies. Granted these empirical studies cannot be done overnight, but they require a finite amount of time and yield clear results, as contrasted with the lifetime of study that would be required to address abstruse theological questions that do not promise to yield a definitive answer ever. In fact, studies have been carried out on abstinence-only education, and these studies show it is not effective. That should resolve this question, and it would resolve this question if we kept religion out of government.

    But you might ask at this point, are we not denying to those who accept religion as a guide to moral values a right to participate in government? Or, at the very least, are we not requiring them to restructure and rephrase their views in nonreligious terms before they participate in government? This was the complaint made by Stephen Carter in his book The Culture of Disbelief. He argued that those who want to keep religion out of government force religious citizens to restructure their arguments in purely secular terms before they can be presented. To which I say: And? So what? What is wrong with that?

    As I said in the beginning, I am not arguing that religious persons should be kept out of government and, of course, I recognize that a person’s religious beliefs will influence her outlook. But if that person wants to engage fellow citizens in a discussion about the correct course of action to take, she must restructure her arguments in secular terms. There is nothing onerous about that requirement. In fact, it operates as a much-needed check on the soundness of one’s reasoning. If one cannot reformulate a religiously based moral belief in terms that a nonbeliever might find persuasive, one should pause to consider whether one’s views are correct. Perhaps you have misinterpreted God’s commandments. After all, why would God ask you to follow a rule that does not make any sense when you try to explain it to someone else?

    I submit we need to go beyond sacred texts and religious dogma when considering the basis for public policy. Using some allegedly sacred writing from millennia ago—that provides us with the profound wisdom of a nomadic and barbaric tribe—as both the starting and end point of any public policy debate does not seem an especially promising way to deliver solutions to twenty-first-century problems.

    Ronald A. Lindsay is the executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism.

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