Religion in Politics: Should We Care?

Article VI, section 3 of the Constitution states “…no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”, and so far we have been wise enough to leave that section in place. More than two centuries on, we still refrain from officially requiring candidates to profess any specific religion, or any religion at all. For better or worse though, we do have a religious test from the voters.

It is sad that today, the day that we will (if the polls are accurate) elect the first black President of The United States of America, people of specific religions are still shunned by the electorate in most areas, and most of those who admit to not believing in any religion remain political pariahs.

Is this the way it should be?

After the last Canadian election, their new Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, ended his victory speech with the words “God bless Canada.” This resulted in a huge outcry against this kind of insertion of religion into politics. In the US today it would seem very normal, but in Canada and other countries with a strong separation between church and state, a candidate’s religion is only relevant to the extent that it affects policy decisions.

Not only is it unfair to reject a candidate based solely on religious beliefs, it is also very dangerous to vote for a candidate based on professed religious beliefs.

It is difficult to even trust politicians’ stated views, much less to extrapolate their views from their purported religions and then take it on faith that they will act in accordance with your conclusions.

Instead, just as our politicians should be putting the best interests of their country and constituents ahead of their own religious beliefs in matters of public policy, voters should be willing to overlook the religious beliefs of a candidate and vote on the issues.

A Muslim, Mormon or Atheist who will faithfully serve the best interests of your community is more worthy of your support than someone who claims to share your religious beliefs but will gladly sell your community out to the highest bidder.

Although politicians overall don’t have a good reputation for honesty and reliability, there are good candidates out there of all sizes, shapes and beliefs. We must be willing to vote not for the slickest politicians or the ones who claims to be most like us, but for the ones who share our vision for the future of the country.

Please, vote on issues not image.

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About Kazz

My name is Shawn Esplin and I am an advocate of Free Thought and general good sense and thought in general. To that end, I encourage people to seriously question the things that they have been taught, especially as children, because many of these things - religious and secular - are taken on faith until we actively choose to seriously examine them for ourselves.

One thought on “Religion in Politics: Should We Care?

  1. Claims of religiosity are cheaply bought nobility in this day and age. Within the shifting-sands of social handshaking it’s the same as flag waving: “I am one of you!” An otherwise outsider, even a celebrity, can cuddle-up to almost anyone if they use this particular Jedi-mind-trick.

    Religiosity has such a broad spectrum even within its major components simply knowing a candidates religion is not equal to knowing how they’ll act—in fact, it’s hardly a predictor of anything. We just need to look back through the history of US politicians to see who followed what mythology and wonder at how shockingly different they were.

    Don’t vote on religion—the politician waving his flag is not “one of us” she’s a politician. An individual born and bred to live in a sea of diplomacy and hand waving by people so much larger than life they cannot experience the simple pleasure of sitting at the corner diner to eat a sundae. Furthermore: they have a job.

    They work for us. Why should be permit them to split their loyalty between us and whatever strange gods inhabit their mythology; especially when such vast differences exist even between the followers of the same gods. These are not the things that make politicians do a good job for us. What does that is when we keep them honest.

    There are no guarantees that a politician will hold to their campaign promises in the first place—this is the same guarantee that a politician who claims to be the same religion as us actually has the same morality: NONE. As a result, We The People, need to vote bureaucrats out of office who fail to live up to their jobs, who make bad promises and fail at them, or simply fall out of line with the public interest.

    Keeping a person in office out of religious sympathy will only hurt us and blind us to even obvious danger.

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