Religion shouldn’t be a deciding factor in government
December 19, 2017
Despite being a nation without a national religion, all but four states mention God in their constitutions. And those four states that do not mention God (Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii and Washington) still refer to a “divine power”. These religious references subtly imply that the “divine” must play a role in in wellbeing of the state. As a result, voters are pushed select the candidates who seem to have a more intimate relationship with the divine.
In America (a 70 percent Christian nation), this means voters are electing evangelical politicians. Their strong Christian beliefs limit their ability to be secular when approving laws. These means that their legislation is rooted more in their faith than in concrete logic which can ignore other religious beliefs. For example, Vice President Pence’s traditional Catholic upbringing strongly influences his views towards homosexuality. While he was governor of Indiana, Pence put in place the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed servers to discriminate against LGBTQ couples based on their own religion. This law reflects the strong Catholic background that Pence had influenced his laws to reflect his own religious affiliations, instead of reflecting the strong Protestant beliefs that the of the state (over 50%) holds, which tend to be more lenient.
Ted Cruz behaved similarly during the 2016 election, with his overly religious message. Cruz frequently talked about his Christian values and used that as a qualification for the president, instead of pointing to concrete reasons for him to be elected president.
Additionally, religion as a whole is in a decline. Over according to a survey done by Pew, nearly a quarter of the nation has no religious affiliations. So, when politicians pass legislation that has strong religious undertones (i.e. abortion laws), they are not reflecting the true views of nation, but instead their own religious agendas.
Voters (who are all too uninformed) often vote for candidates that they share traits with. So, when a candidate promotes themselves as being a candidate with “Christian morals”, voters connect with the candidate, despite the broad definition of Christian morals. Once the candidate gets into office, countless voters realize their error on election day.
To create a truly secular nation that furthers religious freedom, Americans should stop simply voting for candidates because they are “Christian” and start looking at if their beliefs line up with the candidates. This will create a much happier and more harmonious nation through its policies and limit discrimination.