Religious Power in Politics

“The constitutional freedom of religion is the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights”

Thomas Jefferson, Author of the Declaration of Independence, Founder of the University of Virginia, and 3rd President of the United States.

“Religion is like a pair of shoes…..Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.”

George Carlin, an American comedian, actor, author, and social critic

“I have often expressed my sentiments, that every man, conducting himself as a good citizen, and being accountable to God alone for his religious opinions, ought to be protected in worshipping the Deity according to the dictates of his own conscience.”

George Washington, an American Founding Father, military officer, politician, and statesman who served as the first president of the United States

“No, you can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom’. If you don’t like birth control, don’t use it. Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your beliefs.”

Barack Obama, an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States

Religious Power in Politics: Introduction

Religious Power in Politics

Religious power in politics is becoming a major point of disagreement across the political spectrum in the United States. Never mind that the Constitution, through the establishment and practice clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution that prohibit Congress from establishing a state religion and guarantee the free practice of religion, thereby allowing both the freedom to choose one’s preferred manner of worshiping as well as the freedom to refuse practice of any religious views. Unfortunately, the author of the first amendment did not extend specific prohibitions to the Supreme Court, whose six Catholic Justices choose to ignore both the establishment and free practice clauses to force the nation into following the Justices religious views especially when concerning abortion, cake baking and the right to refuse service…much like Jim Crow laws found in the Southern United States that held that race segregation was just fine.

In the intricate dance between religion and politics, leaders like Trump and Speaker Mike Johnson champion a vision of America deeply rooted in a particular interpretation of Christianity. This alignment, forged for political gain. Thus raises profound concerns about the foundational principle of the separation of religion and government envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

Religious Power in Politics: The Beginning of Theocracy in American Politics

The pivotal 1980 Reagan vs. Carter election saw the Republican Party strategically targeting Southern Baptists. An extension of Nixon’s Southern Strategy, recognizing them as a significant voting bloc. The strategic focal point, the divisive issue of abortion. This disengenuous strategy reshaped the political landscape. In doing so set the stage for the emergence of Trump and radical conspiracy movements like QAnon. This transformation turned religion and politics into polarized battlegrounds. Straying far from the teachings of peace, love, and care for one another espoused by Christianity.

Religious Power in Politics: A Violation of Freedom to Worship (or not) as a Constitutional Right

The framers of the Constitution, notably Jefferson, and Madison, emphasized the importance of keeping religion distinct from government affairs. However, recent political developments suggest a departure from this foundational principle. Modern Republicans, fueled by a thirst for political power, exploit religious sentiments to cultivate voter support. The result is a reimagining of America where religious doctrines influence matters such as healthcare, marriage, and societal norms.

SCOTUS and the Introduction of Religious Power in Politics

The intrusion of religious considerations into the Supreme Court adds another layer of concern. Some justices appear inclined to erode the secular foundation of the legal system. They are challenging fundamental principles that safeguard citizens from undue religious influence in policymaking.

Religious Power in Politics: In the Founder’s View

James Madison’s caution against government support for religion remains pertinent. His rejection of faith-based initiatives aimed to prevent churches from wielding political power underscores the potential dangers of blending religious influence with political authority.

In the contemporary landscape, a distortion of religious values is evident, with Trump being hailed by some as a messianic figure. This peculiar blending of political and religious imagery raises profound concerns about the sanctity of democratic ideals and the potential subversion of core principles.

Republicans or Taliban? Religious Power in Politics

Republicans, in their pursuit of political gains, risk compromising the essence of a nation valuing religious freedom. Thus the vision of an inclusive democracy is under threat. The principles of Religious Freedom Day commemorated through Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, emphasize the liberty to practice any religion without fear of persecution.

Final Thoughts

In the ongoing debate over the role of religion in politics, revisiting the wisdom of the Founding Fathers becomes imperative. Their commitment to a government free from religious coercion remains a cornerstone of American democracy. Upholding these principles ensures a society where all citizens, irrespective of their beliefs, can meaningfully participate in the body politic and contribute to the collective pursuit of a just and inclusive democracy. At this crossroads, it is vital to navigate with a commitment to preserving the delicate balance between religion and politics, safeguarding the democratic core of the nation.

By Politics-as-Usual

Roger is a retired Professor of language and literacy. Over the past 15 years since his retirement, Roger has kept busy with reading, writing, and creating landscape photographs. In this time of National crisis, as Fascist ideas and policies are being introduced to the American people and ignored by the Mainstream Press, he decided to stand up and be counted as a Progressive American with some ideas that should be shared with as many people who care to read and/or participate in discusssions of these issues. He doesn't ask anyone to agree with his point of view, but if entering the conversation he demands civility. No conspiracy theories, no wild accusations, no threats, no disrespect will be tolerated. Roger monitors all comments and email communication. That is the only rule for entering the conversation. One may persuade, argue for a different point of view, or toss out something that has not been discussed so long as the tone remains part of a civil discussion. Only then can we find common ground and meaningful democratic change.

One thought on “Religious Power in Politics: Threatening Democracy’s Core Values”
  1. […] Religious Freedom and Bigotry are once again rearing their influence in the United States. While one…. While this should not come as a surprise, after all, religious conflict has been the norm for more than 3,000 years in the history of the world. In this post, I look at the current trend in the United States to redefine religious freedom to include the right to discriminate against people with whom one disagrees. […]

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