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Author Topic: Does religion belong in politics  (Read 5799 times)

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Offline eloneTopic starter

Does religion belong in politics
« on: October 27, 2012, 11:15:19 AM »
This is a letter to the editor in my local small town newspaper. (no link available) The author once ran for state  representative, lost to a Democrat. She is famous for her courthouse Tea Party speech with her "win at the ballot box before we need the bullet box." (paraphrased)

Question: Should religion play any part in politics, and just how crazy are these people? Well, two questions.

Vote Christian

"“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil.” Isaiah 5:20

I address this letter to my brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a challenge to the assertion of your faith which defines your world view and, by extension, your politics. As a Christian, your faith, world view and politics are not mutually exclusive. They are not compartmentalize-able. They are one and the same and to argue otherwise defies rational thinking and basic logic. Thus I assert the following:

You cannot be a Christian and vote in favor of murdering 4000 viable, waiting-to-be born babies a day.

You cannot be a Christian and vote I favor of destroying the God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman.

You cannot be a Christian and vote to extort money (taxation) from a working man or woman and give it to another; or extort money to fund contraceptives and abortions which defile the conscience of the person/s being forced to pay for it.

You cannot be a Christian and vote for a party that seeks to legislate special protections for a group of people who define themselves by the way they prefer to have sex.

You cannot be a Christian and vote to incentivize out-of-wedlock births through welfare, etc. rather than discourage it and incentivize marriage.

You cannot be a Christian and vote to pervert and desensitize innocence by forcing sex education on our children.

You cannot be a Christian and support a party that sought to have God removed from its platform and booed when God was disingenuously reinstated!

In other words, you cannot be a Christian and be a Democrat. You can, however, call yourself one and be a hypocrite.

There is a Day of Judgment and how you cast your ballot is no secret to God."

Catherine Crabill



Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2012, 11:51:09 AM »
I think that she lost a few of the other points of Christian faith. Like charity, tolerance, endeavoring to help our fellow man. As for the assertion that the founding father's were 'right-wing extremists'  (I googled the name at the bottom of your post.. LOVELY tolerant woman there) she really glossed over some of them a LOT then. I know a few were very strong on separation of church and state.. and several of them were very much against what we call 'corporate personhood' these days.

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2012, 12:02:25 PM »
I'm with Callie. Even the Founding Fathers believed in taxation.  Are we to ignore when Jesus said that: "And the second [greatest commandment] is like [the first greatest commandment]: love your neighbor as yourself."

Charity is a virtue.  Why?  Because we are commanded to do it.  When Jesus said that "anything you do for the least of these, you do for me," he did not mean that we should do the least amount possible.

As for whether or not religion belongs in politics, I have some good news and bad news.

The bad news is that religion is already involved in politics.

The good news is that the Founding Fathers set up the constitution so that religion would not dominate politics.

What do I mean by this?  I mean that:

Religion is involved in politics insomuch as that religion, of any stripe, informs the values that we have.  And it's those values that inform the choices that we or our elected representatives make.  People who cry 'separation of church and state' can't have the full-end logical conclusion - no inclusion of religion in politics whatsoever.  To do that would be to make a complete moral vacuum of politics, that no religious source of values would be permitted.

However!

The Fathers, in their wisdom, had seen the things that had created America, the religious persecution and such.  They wanted their land to be free of that persecution, which is why they made the First Amendment.


So, to sum up.  Yes, religion belongs in politics, insomuch as that it gives us values of what's important.  NO, religion should not be the end-all in the political process.


Hope that came out right.

Offline Silk

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 12:04:52 PM »
This is one big "No true scotsman"

and no, religion shouldn't have place in poltics because beleif systems don't belong in an area that directly influences lives. I want educated surgrons to do my heart surgery, not a priest that believes that god will guide his hand through the operation.

So, to sum up.  Yes, religion belongs in politics, insomuch as that it gives us values of what's important.  NO, religion should not be the end-all in the political process.


Hope that came out right.

You don't need religion or a thiestic believe system to have values of whats important.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 12:10:28 PM »
Faith and Religion are a part of us.. it makes up how we think and believe.

JFK followed the tenets of his beliefs, as did George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and most likely ALL the president. Religion is a guiding element in how we approach things.

I worry when it becomes the sole and rigidly definining element of how we think.

We should never fear a religious man or woman.. we should be WARY of one who is doctrinal and rigidly following a faith. Men of Faith AND Men of Logic built the foundation of our country. To deny the influence and guidiance of a faith isn't a bad thing.

Following the rigid letter of the law without any concern for consequence or even remotely considering the spirit of the intent, not to mention ignoring the points of faith that you DON'T like.. not so much a person of faith makes.

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2012, 12:13:12 PM »
You don't need religion or a thiestic believe system to have values of whats important.

No, but it certainly helps out a lot.  And there are far more people who have a religion than people who don't.

and no, religion shouldn't have place in poltics because beleif systems don't belong in an area that directly influences lives. I want educated surgrons to do my heart surgery, not a priest that believes that god will guide his hand through the operation.

Newsflash: everyone has a belief system, whether informed by religion or not.  If belief systems don't belong in areas that directly influence lives, then we are asking for the removal of belief systems from a great deal of what humanity does.

And as for your surgeon, people aren't stupid.  They're going to pick the educated surgeon over the priest.  Even the priest will pick the surgeon.  But do you want a surgeon who believes that all life is sacred, and is going to do his best to make sure that you heal and that the operation is successful?  Or do you want one that doesn't give a damn about the sanctity of human life and whose best effort is applied 'when he feels like it'?

Offline Silk

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2012, 12:19:56 PM »
Your mistaking a belief system to having a concience and moral compass based on insticual behavior of social creatures to allow us to better live with eachother. You don't need a god to know "Hey, lets not take eachother's stuff, so if you don't take mine I won't take yours"

And for the priest comment, people do sometimes opt for the priest and the prayer over the educated hand of educated surgeons and doctors who made it their lives work to deal with this sort of thing. Main example, jehova's witness's and blood transfusions.

Faith is what you have when you don't have any evidence to support the feeling, main issue when it comes to most religions, they are satisfied at keeping it at that, even when the feeling is completely wrong to what we know to be true.

Online Darwishi

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2012, 12:21:26 PM »
I'd like to think people are smart enough now to separate their values from their religion.  Probably not, but I don't think we should base all of our laws on the Bible.  Of course, according to a lot of Christians I'm probably not one.  Especially if they knew the stuff I write on this forum.

Yeah, okay, some values from religion have to be in politics simply because you can't avoid it.  Some things will be similar.  Are they in there because of a religion or the rights that you are naturally born with as a person?

I am actually pro-choice politically while pro-life personally.  What in the hell does that mean? It means that I think everyone has the right to choose.  I believe there are way too many kids being born into unhappy homes already.  Parents that don't want their kids, but have them anyway.  The scary thing, to me, about having a law about pro-life is that where does it stop? Does it stop with the Plan B pills, or will some nutjob in DC suddenly decide that birth control is immoral?  Will they try then to pass a law to prohibit birth control?  And at that point what happens to all those girls that use birth control to regulate hormones?  It's a dicey subject, and I think far scarier if the government has too much control over it.

Then again I also think drugs should be legalized, taxed the hell out of them, and let the users pay for their own rehab, save me a few tax dollars. 

Oh right, so religion in politics.  You can see that pro-choice, and legalizing drugs, probably not the most Christian thing to do ever.  But that's why I say religion should not be involved in politics.  Like say gay marriage.  It's illegal because...well I think some Christians tend to think that God said he doesn't like men sleeping with other men, and therefore it's immoral or something stupid...but then, it's not a Christian nation, it's a freedom of religion nation.  Meaning again, that no one religion should be dictating out laws.  Legally, marriage allows a lot of things.  Like two people getting married, better chances at adoption, tax deductions, the ability to see your loved one in a hospital.

I don't really care what religion our leaders follow, I just don't think they should push those beliefs into laws.  If you want to argue about a person infringing on another person's rights, then fine.  But don't hide behind a religion and try to get it passed that way.  You run into a lot of scary stuff when religion and politics get a little too blurred.  Holy Roman Empire anyone?

Online Darwishi

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2012, 12:26:57 PM »
And for the priest comment, people do sometimes opt for the priest and the prayer over the educated hand of educated surgeons and doctors who made it their lives work to deal with this sort of thing. Main example, jehova's witness's and blood transfusions.

Jehova's (really should capitalize that even if you don't believe in Him) witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions because blood is seen as a bad thing to transfer in the Bible.  I'll also point out that they are now finding that blood transfusions aren't so great.  Your body tends to reject it, and you wind up having to get the antibodies just right in the new blood, which means longer healing times. 

Saline on the other hand...there's been some pretty great studies of doing that rather than a blood transfusion.  I used to work with a Jehova's witness, so I got to ask all the cool questions about how everyone misunderstands everything about them. ^_^

Offline Silk

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2012, 12:33:24 PM »
Jehova's (really should capitalize that even if you don't believe in Him) witnesses don't believe in blood transfusions because blood is seen as a bad thing to transfer in the Bible.  I'll also point out that they are now finding that blood transfusions aren't so great.  Your body tends to reject it, and you wind up having to get the antibodies just right in the new blood, which means longer healing times. 

Saline on the other hand...there's been some pretty great studies of doing that rather than a blood transfusion.  I used to work with a Jehova's witness, so I got to ask all the cool questions about how everyone misunderstands everything about them. ^_^

Longer healing time, or death... I wonder what I would go with in most cases.

Online Darwishi

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2012, 12:42:54 PM »
Didn't realize I'd have to spell that out. With saline, studies are showing that there are shorter healing times.  Meaning that the Jehova's witnesses might be onto something there. =P

BUT, I didn't mean to hijack the thread, sorry, I still don't think religion belong in politics.  You have the right to choose if you want blood transfusions or saline transfusions.

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2012, 12:45:46 PM »
I'd like to see some sources on that, please.  Mostly for curiosity sake, since I have a paramedic for a sister, and a profound interest in science (even if I'm too squeamish to pursue a medical career).

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2012, 12:59:16 PM »
Since I don't confuse politics with government I base my decision on how well I feel a person will govern.  I also don't believe government should involve itself in the private lives of the citizens it represents other than providing law enforcement and protection from criminal activity.  The Second Amendment provides protection to gun owners from government infringement and guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.  Whether you agree with the Second Amendment or not is not the point here.  The point is that if the government can guarantee your rights as a gun owner it can and should guarantee your rights as a person to decide for yourself what is best for you and your body.

Religion and politics will always go hand in hand because politicians will use any tool in the box to beat the voters into submission and religion is a powerful tool.  However, religion is not isolated in this sort of action.  Any and every group that has a vested interest in getting a candidate elected is going to use their powers of persuasion and ability to affect the hearts and minds of their members.  The NRA isn't a religion but it does the same thing that religion does.  The lobbyists preach their interests to politicians.  The military has an interest in who gets elected, too.  How many unions stay out of the influence game when election time rolls around? 

Religion is a hot button issue most certainly but any belief or opinion of any interest group is going to be pushed forward and used to sway the voters.

Once people are elected every other consideration should be put aside and governing is the job they should be doing.  They don't govern, though, do they?  The moment they are elected the carousel begins to turn again with the brass ring being the next election and/or the next office they want to hold.

We are well beyond the question of should it and need to address the wider issue of how to fix what is broken?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2012, 01:18:06 PM »

We are well beyond the question of should it and need to address the wider issue of how to fix what is broken?

I have a simple but painful fix for that. Set a limit to what a person can contribute. Then make it only so PEOPLE can donate. No companies, special interests, no unions, churches, boy scout troops. Not ONE group of people gets the ability to give cash to a party or person seeking office.. Only indiviguals.

Make it so these groups can advise and coordianate with politicians on issues.. just NO CASH anymore.

Offline eloneTopic starter

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2012, 01:40:15 PM »
Back to religion/politics for a minute. Personally I haven't been in a church for a long time but I was wondering of those that do go, if clergy ever get into political issues. Is that not allowed as a violation of tax exempt status?

Wondering this because I have a very religious elderly neighbor who seeks guidance from her pastor on these types of issues. When Obama ran in 2008 I asked her if she could vote for a black man. She said she would have to check with the minister to see if that was okay.

So does politics come up in the pulpit?

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2012, 01:49:26 PM »
It would depend (for me) on how the pastor answered.  If the pastor said either 'Vote for a black man' or 'Don't vote for a black man', then that's being political (and more than a touch racist).  If the pastor said 'My dear, you must vote the way that you feel is best.  If God is telling you in your heart to vote for a candidate, then by all means, vote for that person.' then it's a different matter entirely.

Fun fact:  A pastor can not report information given under the seal of a confession - even serious crimes.  They can, however, counsel the confessing person to turn themselves in as a way of receiving forgiveness from God (by rejecting their previous sin.)

Offline WildCat

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2012, 02:18:39 PM »
Should religion dictate our laws? No. Should our faith influence our values and our values the political decisions we make? Trick question—it can’t help but.

Although point by point:

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and vote in favor of murdering 4000 viable, waiting-to-be born babies a day.
Or… you cannot be a Christian and vote in favor of murdering people overseas, murdering people through the death penalty, murdering people by overturning expanded health care, murdering young women by driving them to unsafe back-alley abortions…

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and vote I favor of destroying the God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman.
Or… you cannot be a Christian and vote to undermine the institute of marriage by denying it to same-sex couples, to degrade marriage by treating it as being about matching genders instead of love and commitment, to demean and demonize some of God’s children because the people they love happen to have some of the same personal bits.

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and vote to extort money (taxation) from a working man or woman and give it to another; or extort money to fund contraceptives and abortions which defile the conscience of the person/s being forced to pay for it.

Or… you cannot be a Christian and vote to make life harder for those who are all ready struggling while empowering those seeking to shore up wealth in this world, to empower those who seek not to give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, to trump up excuses to pull support from attempts to prevent and fight cancer and help young women make better choices just because you happen to disagree with some of their ideas.

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and vote for a party that seeks to legislate special protections for a group of people who define themselves by the way they prefer to have sex.

Or… you cannot be a Christian and vote for a party that seeks to preserve discrimination against people whose love or skin color or gender it disapproves of, a party that encourages police to engage in racial profiling and pushes legislation to make it harder for minorities to vote.

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and vote to incentivize out-of-wedlock births through welfare, etc. rather than discourage it and incentivize marriage.

Or… you cannot be a Christian and vote to leave struggling mothers and their children to starve because their husbands or boyfriends or rapists abandoned them. (And, I might add, you insisted that they spend the following nine months as baby incubators. Was this rape ‘legitimate’ by the way? Or was this rape a precious gift from God?)

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and vote to pervert and desensitize innocence by forcing sex education on our children.

Sorry, this is just stupid.

Quote
You cannot be a Christian and support a party that sought to have God removed from its platform and booed when God was disingenuously reinstated!

Or… you cannot support a party which regularly throws around the name of God for the most ungodly of purposes—talk about taking the name of the Lord in vain—that doesn’t abide by Christ’s instruction “when you pray,do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray… so that they may be seen by others”
 
Quote
In other words, you cannot be a Christian and be a Democrat. You can, however, call yourself one and be a hypocrite.

Or… you cannot be a Christian and be a Republican.

Quote
There is a Day of Judgment and how you cast your ballot is no secret to God

Yes, there is. And no, it isn’t. But everything I’ve said above is as wrong as what she said. Because God doesn’t endorse one political party or candidate or sports team or opinion. Jesus said, “I  have no kingdom in this world.” Don’t listen to her when she says you have to believe one way. Don’t listen to me if I say you have to believe another. God gave us brains and He wants us to use them. Thinking isn’t just patriotic, it’s also Christian.

I am a Christian. And if one insists on listening to a right-wing nutjob who spouts ignorant bromides that doesn’t make them not-Christian. But it doesn’t exactly earn much respect from me.

Offline Tamhansen

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2012, 02:34:53 PM »
<snip> I also don't believe government should involve itself in the private lives of the citizens it represents other than providing law enforcement and protection from criminal activity.  <snip>
How does this work? Especially when concerning morality laws. Basically most morality laws are based on religion, and like the religion they come from these laws often lack any form of logic or reason. Without religgion these laws would most likely not survive. Should the government impose these laws, and thus support these religious infringements on itself, or allow this 'criminal behaviour?



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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2012, 02:53:11 PM »
Actually, a lot of laws (moral and otherwise) are based on 'I don't want people to do that to me.' 

It's wrong to steal because I don't want people to steal from me.
It's wrong to lie because I don't want people to lie to me.
It's wrong to have sex with other people's spouses because I don't want anyone else having sex with my spouse.
It's wrong to kill because I don't want anyone to kill me.

They are codified mostly through religion, but they are not dependent on it.

Offline Serephino

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2012, 03:09:03 PM »
Religion is involved in politics at least a little because our beliefs do shape the kind of person we are.  I am not saying, and I don't think anyone has said that one must be religious in order to have a moral compass.  However, if you are religious, and a true believer not just putting up a good front, the morality of your faith is going to have a major impact on your personal morality.

That said, I do not want religious morality made into laws that everyone has to follow.  That is more of a discrimination against religious freedom then say, forcing tax payers to pay for birth control for people who want it.  Restricting my access because of your god is just wrong on too many levels to count.  It's forcing me to be Christian, and I really don't want to. 



Offline Starlequin

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2012, 03:19:25 PM »
I'll just leave this here.

It is highly disrespectful to do nothing more than drop a link and provide no context or hint at what it may contain. If you are going to participate, please add to the discussion. -Vek
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 04:12:53 PM by Vekseid »

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2012, 04:11:27 PM »
I'll just leave this here.

I'm wondering if we could have a bit of an abstract of the article for those who don't have time to see if the link is pertinent.  Please?  Posting just a link isn't really helpful most of the time.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 04:12:25 PM by Vekseid »

Offline Starlequin

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2012, 04:47:19 PM »
Very well; apologies for any trouble, certainly no disrespect intended.

It was a link to a Washington Post article concerning a recent trend among pastors to encourage their congregations to vote for their (the pastors') preferred candidates despite prohibition of such endorsememts by the Johnson amendment. They (the churches) want the IRS to attempt to revoke their tax-exempt status so they can sue the government and (they think) get the amendment overturned, so they can have the best  of both worlds: political influence and tax exemption. More can probably be found by Googling 'Pulpit Freedom Sunday'.

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Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2012, 04:55:15 PM »
Very well; apologies for any trouble, certainly no disrespect intended.

It was a link to a Washington Post article concerning a recent trend among pastors to encourage their congregations to vote for their (the pastors') preferred candidates despite prohibition of such endorsememts by the Johnson amendment. They (the churches) want the IRS to attempt to revoke their tax-exempt status so they can sue the government and (they think) get the amendment overturned, so they can have the best  of both worlds: political influence and tax exemption. More can probably be found by Googling 'Pulpit Freedom Sunday'.

Maybe I'm just being insane here, but I look at the Johnson Amendment and I do see free speech being stepped upon.  Free speech means free speech, people, regardless of affiliation, should be allowed to say/endorse whatever they feel like.  Voltaire had something to say about that.

Like I said, maybe I'm just being insane, but revocation of civil rights always starts out small.  Nobody has the stupidity to go and say something idiotic like African-Americans don't get to have free speech.  But, to quote the ever-wise little green man: "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

Right now it's tax-exempt groups.  Who's next?  The precedent is there.

Offline Starlequin

Re: Does religion belong in politics
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2012, 05:07:23 PM »
Well, really, I don't think I object to these churches having their say or endorsing whoever they wish; if it should become problematic somehow, the solution would simply be more speech from their opponents, not silencing their right to speak. But I would find it more than a little disturbing to see any group, particularly one with such obvious social and financial clout as a church or corporation (sometimes the same thing, these days), wield undue influence over policymakers while not paying their share of taxes. I don't think anyone should have both of those advantages, or it would tip the scales of power too far. No representation without taxation, as it were.