Is it right that religion influences politics?

I'm sure in our times we've all heard a story where some political leader somewhere has been pressured into allowing something or banning something or even changing their mind about some proposed legistlation because they were afraid of segments of their population getting into an uproar over it.

And in many cases that uproar has been of religious reason. People of varying religious groups com0plaining that what the politicians plan to do violates some sacred view they hold or outright offends them in some way.

Now I'm not trying to bash religion in general or the people who follow it. But I have to ask if this is an appropriate thing for politicians to do.

Now of course in democracies all views of the peopl have to be taken into consideration. But if politicians do something or don't do something solely because they're afraid of what the more zealous members of their society might do or think of them, I just don't think that's right.

So, having stated my undoubtedly controversial opinion, I'd like to hear come of your opinions on the matter.

Right? Eh. Oh boy. Is it Right for any influence-group to pressure a nation? Yes, because that's how a fucking Democracy work.
There's nothing special about how 'Religion' influences a leader. We allow far-left/far-right/center-left/center-right to lobby all day, so we should allow them as well.
If politicians act due to fear of something, it's because they fear their own asses being voted off. It's not because of 'Religion'. The cause is arbitrary, only the effect matters.

I'd rather have them say 'Shut the fuck up and don't vote for us next Term if you don't like our decisions' instead of bending over to unreasonable and unfounded pressure, but that's just me.
However, I am not going to single out religion. Because that would be wrong.

thejboy88:
Now I'm not trying to bash religion in general or the people who follow it. But I have to ask if this is an appropriate thing for politicians to do.

Of course it isn't. If people have a legitimate grievance to make, they ought to make it, because that's a good way to run society - listen to people who have problems, attempt to adjust to those problems. However, "you can't do this because God said not to!" doesn't count as a legitimate grievance unless you can come up with some actually good reasons not to do it.

However, it's also unavoidable. Religious groups are just too powerful, and the idea that religion is a trump card over logic and human decency is still all too prevalent in modern society.

That's democracy for you. If people think something is for the best, society is supposed to take note of that.

I am less sanguine about how this works in practice though. If you have a small group (doesn't have to be religious, mind) that absolutely opposes something the majority is in favour of, if that group is going to vote according to that issue, while the majority are going to content themselves with grumbling and looking at other issues, the minority is the group that gets pandered too.

Where I live, there's a small number of hardline religious types that tend to get their way on various issues over the majority who are content to let them.

There is a reason the statement "Mixing religion with politics is wrong" was made. Its the same reason we dislike nationalism here in Europe. Its because we want to learn from past mistakes. Letting Religion get an influence in politics again (Already has) would be a big mistake.

Religion has no place in politics. Full stop.

Also, tax the churches.

I would also like to note that keeping the church out of politics also keeps politics out of the church, which is no bad thing in of itself.

itsthesheppy:
Religion has no place in politics. Full stop.

A religious belief will heavily influence an individual's moral code, as well as the way they view the world. Politicians are individuals. Making a blanking statement like "religion has no place in politics" would be saying that any individual, be they politician or voter, should ignore their religious beliefs when it comes to making decisions. That is never, ever going to happen.

Religion should never control politics, but there's nothing we can do about the way it influences people involved in politics.

SonicWaffle:

itsthesheppy:
Religion has no place in politics. Full stop.

A religious belief will heavily influence an individual's moral code, as well as the way they view the world. Politicians are individuals. Making a blanking statement like "religion has no place in politics" would be saying that any individual, be they politician or voter, should ignore their religious beliefs when it comes to making decisions. That is never, ever going to happen.

Religion should never control politics, but there's nothing we can do about the way it influences people involved in politics.

I was assuming people would take it as read that you could never hope to make it law that everyone who holds public office be be atheist. What I was referring to was prohibiting religious groups from any direct involvement in governance. This includes prayers spoken in government buildings on government time. Things of that nature.

We may never see the day when policy makers aren't basing their judgement on bronze-age nonsense, but baby steps, people. Baby steps.

itsthesheppy:
I was assuming people would take it as read that you could never hope to make it law that everyone who holds public office be be atheist.

Well, quite. That would be discrimination, and quite counter-productive too; there's no guarantee of an atheist being any saner than a theist, and we'd end up with the reverse of what we have today, people pretending to be religious (or at least, significantly more religious than they actually are) in order to get elected.

itsthesheppy:
What I was referring to was prohibiting religious groups from any direct involvement in governance. This includes prayers spoken in government buildings on government time. Things of that nature.

Agreed about direct involvement but regarding indirect, discrimination again. If we say vegetarians, smokers and furries band together to attempt to further their own agenda and wacky beliefs, we can't reasonably deny the same privelige to the religious. The problem is not that they're allowed to lobby the government but that there's so damn many of them whose beliefs align in such a way that they feel they deserve to rule through strength of numbers. That's how we come from indirect involvement to direct involvement.

itsthesheppy:
We may never see the day when policy makers aren't basing their judgement on bronze-age nonsense, but baby steps, people. Baby steps.

We're getting there. Of course, all that will happen it that we'll find new nonsense to base everything on...

Nikolaz72:
There is a reason the statement "Mixing religion with politics is wrong" was made. Its the same reason we dislike nationalism here in Europe. Its because we want to learn from past mistakes. Letting Religion get an influence in politics again (Already has) would be a big mistake.

Though I too share a dislike for religions and nationalist influence in politics (though I don't necessarily dislike religious partys) I do wonder which part of europe you are living in.
The largest party in the EU is a Christian Democrat one with over one third of the seats in the EU parliament. And recently nationalism has been very much on the rise with the Scottish referendum for independence coming up, the cry for catalonian independance in spain, the rise of the ultra nationalists in Greece (not to mention the the violent incidents) and even Camerons speech yesterday that was clearly aimed at British anti Europe nationalists.

As far if religion should be in politics, well if people vote for a party with a religious affiliation it should be.

Nope. This is something I actually agree with Obama on, and what his words for (this was in reference to abortion):

[...] I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible

Basically, in terms of laws, if they can find a reason for why something should be illegal that isn't based just on their beliefs or ideals, then they can propose it. But saying something (such as gay marriage or abortion) should be illegal just because the Bible says it should be is about the equivalent to outlawing beef and pork just because other religions find those animals to be sacred.

If you mean pandering to the religious groups then yes that's right, not great but right. Politicians are only saying what they are to get votes and that's how it works regardless if it's religion, feminism, green politics or anything else.

If you mean politicians basing policy on their beliefs then it's still not bad as they got elected based on their beliefs so the majority must accept it. Key word there being majority; you can't base policy on religion if the majority don't agree with it. Say for example abortion; you might have been elected on economic policy and people in your area are very pro-choice so when you vote it should be based on what the polls from your area say not what your religion/morals say.

If you are saying should religions be able to make a case to a politician then that's still ok. Government should listen to everyones opinion, even that of religious groups. However it is wrong to take it beyond that into lobbying/threatening to revoke funding as you are actively trying to coerce the government - big nono.

Nikolaz72:
There is a reason the statement "Mixing religion with politics is wrong" was made. Its the same reason we dislike nationalism here in Europe. Its because we want to learn from past mistakes. Letting Religion get an influence in politics again (Already has) would be a big mistake.

Where in Europe are you, Purely because I dont believe you.

YoungMan:
Where in Europe are you, Purely because I dont believe you.

If you look at his profile, you'll learn that he's from Denmark, one of the countries generally considered "Scandinavian" and some of the least religious in the world. Now, I'm not sure what you don't believe him on and why, but regardless, I'd say his comment makes a lot of sense considering these facts.

---

OT: Religion is bound to influence the views of a politician, can't be helped. What can and must be taken great cares of, though, is that a politician's religion doesn't lead them to unfairly treat other groups, be they religious or not. A Christian cannot be allowed to make it law that sex may only be for reproduction, for instance. A Jew cannot be allowed to make eating pork illegal. A Muslim cannot be allowed to make drawing Mohammed a crime. These are specifically religious rules that are not applicable to large swaths of the population (and not just members of other religions; plenty of members of the same religion have different opinions on such issues). It can be difficult to draw the line of course. How much influence is permissible? Honestly? It has to be evaluated on a case by case basis. There's no all-or-nothing-answer.

Nikolaz72:
There is a reason the statement "Mixing religion with politics is wrong" was made. Its the same reason we dislike nationalism here in Europe. Its because we want to learn from past mistakes. Letting Religion get an influence in politics again (Already has) would be a big mistake.

Of course it's a mistake, but is it any more 'wrong' than letting our current extreme right-wing morons do it?
No. Why? Because a Democracy just represents its people, and we can't ban people from expressing their views, even if it's a stupid view such as 'Kill all the jews' or 'No one should be allowed to work or carry their bed on a Sunday'.

itsthesheppy:
. What I was referring to was prohibiting religious groups from any direct involvement in governance. This includes prayers spoken in government buildings on government time. Things of that nature.

Sorry, why can't a politician say his prayers during his lunch-break in the building, instead of playing with his PSP or reading the news or whatever?

Is it *right*? I'd say no. But then I'm not religious so I think it's just not wanting what I see as BS influencing politics.

Realitycrash:

itsthesheppy:
. What I was referring to was prohibiting religious groups from any direct involvement in governance. This includes prayers spoken in government buildings on government time. Things of that nature.

Sorry, why can't a politician say his prayers during his lunch-break in the building, instead of playing with his PSP or reading the news or whatever?

His lunch break is considered government time?

Edited for pointlessness.

Realitycrash:

Dijkstra:

Realitycrash:

Sorry, why can't a politician say his prayers during his lunch-break in the building, instead of playing with his PSP or reading the news or whatever?

His lunch break is considered government time?

..No? Come on, there's no feasible reason for his lunch-break to be considered government time. He is off-duty. And besides, is there any reason why he can't say a prayer while his computer boots up, or while he is waiting for the bathroom, or any other situation were he has the time and can do so without compromising his work or efficiency?
I'd say no. To argue that 'you can't pray in government-buildings' is far too strict.

Why don't you read what you quoted originally?

Dijkstra:

Realitycrash:

Dijkstra:

His lunch break is considered government time?

..No? Come on, there's no feasible reason for his lunch-break to be considered government time. He is off-duty. And besides, is there any reason why he can't say a prayer while his computer boots up, or while he is waiting for the bathroom, or any other situation were he has the time and can do so without compromising his work or efficiency?
I'd say no. To argue that 'you can't pray in government-buildings' is far too strict.

Why don't you read what you quoted originally?

Ah, fair point. I missed that last part (though then it seems a bit odd to specify it: Why should one do anything on their work-time but work?)

Realitycrash:

Dijkstra:

Realitycrash:

..No? Come on, there's no feasible reason for his lunch-break to be considered government time. He is off-duty. And besides, is there any reason why he can't say a prayer while his computer boots up, or while he is waiting for the bathroom, or any other situation were he has the time and can do so without compromising his work or efficiency?
I'd say no. To argue that 'you can't pray in government-buildings' is far too strict.

Why don't you read what you quoted originally?

Ah, fair point. I missed that last part (though then it seems a bit odd to specify it: Why should one do anything on their work-time but work?)

A prayer in Congress or some such, I imagine, is what he disapproves of.

In a democracy, one truth is that everybody has a say, everybody has an agenda, and everyone has biases to their own views.

No matter what we do, that fact cannot change. Otherwise, it is no longer a democracy if we force people out.

Realitycrash:

itsthesheppy:
. What I was referring to was prohibiting religious groups from any direct involvement in governance. This includes prayers spoken in government buildings on government time. Things of that nature.

Sorry, why can't a politician say his prayers during his lunch-break in the building, instead of playing with his PSP or reading the news or whatever?

Because it makes Thomas Jefferson cry.

Obviously I was referring to sponsored prayers, such as ones conducted on the house floor.

Realitycrash:

Nikolaz72:
There is a reason the statement "Mixing religion with politics is wrong" was made. Its the same reason we dislike nationalism here in Europe. Its because we want to learn from past mistakes. Letting Religion get an influence in politics again (Already has) would be a big mistake.

Of course it's a mistake, but is it any more 'wrong' than letting our current extreme right-wing morons do it?
No. Why? Because a Democracy just represents its people, and we can't ban people from expressing their views, even if it's a stupid view such as 'Kill all the jews' or 'No one should be allowed to work or carry their bed on a Sunday'.

Sadly, that is where Democracy falls short (You probably wanted me to say that) *sigh* But again, what system would be preferable to democracy? I can think of a few. But in the long run even with the best of intentions it would lead to utter corruption.

There is always a risk that our system will fall once the majority becomes stupid enough to put the wrong person into power. Its why we are desperately trying to educate people, something... Especially the extreme right-wing morons and the very religious tends to be the main opponents of.

Letting the extreme right and the religious control society has in the past lead to nothing but death and destruction. I would gladly live in a world where all power was taken away from those kind of people, forever. I agree, reluctantly. That we should not silence the moronic religious extreme rightwing though. It would merely make them martyrs and drive them to commit acts of terror and get even more support that they clearly don't deserve. Better that they have their tabloids to vent in where they don't harm anyone physically (Although I think I might have lost a few braincells while glancing at their writings)

The reason we teach history in school is to prevent us from making the same mistakes as we have done in the past. I swear, its not even been a hundred years since our last giant war causing the deaths of two-digit millions created and fueled by Nationalism. And we already see the nationalists gain more wind than ever before....

Its as if Humanity is just doomed to commit acts of utter stupidity repeatedly until it destroys itself for good.

Despite the nihilistic comments I remain positive (Or perhaps willingly naive) that the world is, overall. Improving. At some point, maybe. Hopefully, we will abandon our nationalistic tendencies and strive to be more liberalistic when dealing with other nations and their people.

Nikolaz72:

Realitycrash:

Nikolaz72:
There is a reason the statement "Mixing religion with politics is wrong" was made. Its the same reason we dislike nationalism here in Europe. Its because we want to learn from past mistakes. Letting Religion get an influence in politics again (Already has) would be a big mistake.

Of course it's a mistake, but is it any more 'wrong' than letting our current extreme right-wing morons do it?
No. Why? Because a Democracy just represents its people, and we can't ban people from expressing their views, even if it's a stupid view such as 'Kill all the jews' or 'No one should be allowed to work or carry their bed on a Sunday'.

Sadly, that is where Democracy falls short (You probably wanted me to say that) *sigh* But again, what system would be preferable to democracy? I can think of a few. But in the long run even with the best of intentions it would lead to utter corruption.

There is always a risk that our system will fall once the majority becomes stupid enough to put the wrong person into power. Its why we are desperately trying to educate people, something... Especially the extreme right-wing morons and the very religious tends to be the main opponents of.

Letting the extreme right and the religious control society has in the past lead to nothing but death and destruction. I would gladly live in a world where all power was taken away from those kind of people, forever. I agree, reluctantly. That we should not silence the moronic religious extreme rightwing though. It would merely make them martyrs and drive them to commit acts of terror and get even more support that they clearly don't deserve. Better that they have their tabloids to vent in where they don't harm anyone physically (Although I think I might have lost a few braincells while glancing at their writings)

The reason we teach history in school is to prevent us from making the same mistakes as we have done in the past. I swear, its not even been a hundred years since our last giant war causing the deaths of two-digit millions created and fueled by Nationalism. And we already see the nationalists gain more wind than ever before....

Its as if Humanity is just doomed to commit acts of utter stupidity repeatedly until it destroys itself for good.

Despite the nihilistic comments I remain positive (Or perhaps willingly naive) that the world is, overall. Improving. At some point, maybe. Hopefully, we will abandon our nationalistic tendencies and strive to be more liberalistic when dealing with other nations and their people.

Actually, what I wanted you to say is pretty much what you said: Democracy has its flaws, but it's the best shit we got, compared to the alternatives. Censoring Freedom of Speech, especially the right to freely influence how your state is run through said freedom, isn't an option. It isn't even in the ballpark of an option.
Education is the key here, as you yourself has noted.

Also, Young Man. If you opened your eyes (and perhaps checked someones profile) you'd see the obvious reason. Mainly that Denmark 'still' has a State Religion. Its considered one of the least religious countries in the entire world, certainly. But its also one of the worlds most racist countries. It is not long ago that we had one of the largest concentration of white people (As in percentage of population, not population total) in any country. And religion has frankly been used to justify this racism, fuel the fear of the unknown. Now, I don't know about you. But using the state religion to justify acts of intolerance is not on my 'Most liked thing' list. Actually it ranks down on the button of the list of the things I really dislike.

well, religion is an important part to many people's lives and it paints their perspective on how they view the world. This in turn affects how they vote. But i will say that religious institutions such as the church has no place in politics.

I understand that if a person is religious it will influence their decisions and morals, one way or another. However, I think the government should be self-aware enough to prevent theocratic legislation from going through. If you believe abortion is wrong for religious reasons then that is fine, but if you can't come up with a better reason to have it banned than "Because God says so" then I'm afraid it has no place in the law. If you can back it up with secular reasons then that's fine, but if "Because God says so" on its own becomes a legitimate reason for legislation then you've crossed the line into a theocracy.

It's hard to separate religion and politics, because religious beliefs inform us. 25 years after rejecting Catholicism, I STILL have trouble distancing myself from those belief structures. Not so much because I believe in God but because it's learned behaviour.

It's not RIGHT, but it is reality.

Yes it is "right" to the extent that religion is part of you. The actions of a person (both political and personal) are influenced by what they believe is right, and these beliefs are all tangled up in one another; you can't ignore the thought that God wants you to do something any more than Spider-Man can ignore the thought that "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility."

If it's something you believe, it's something you believe. You may try and change that belief, or others might try and change it for you (good luck with that), but you can't simply "not believe" because other people want you to.

The fact of the matter is that we don't have much choice. Religion influences people and people influence politics. Religion isn't just an aspect of people's lives, it can inform every decision they make. We can keep direct religious favoritism out of politics, but we can't keep religious influence out of politics, because that would involve keeping religious people out of politics and that's not right either.

Religious people have a part in democracy. Religion itself doesn't.

Is that enough for everyone here? There seems to be alot of misunderstandings over this.

Short answer no.

Long answer; politics and laws should be based on rational reason not faith and beliefs. While a person may chose to base his personal morality on his religion, society's morals cannot be based on this as pretty much everyone has there own religion or belief and any attemt to encapsulate them all would simply lead to anarchy.

 

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