Friday, November 16, 2012

Seperate your faith and politics, columnist says

by Makenzie Landis, Mast TV Multimedia Editor
   
Religion has no place in politics. Pastors should not preach politics from the pulpit, and above all, religious doctrines should not be incorporated into public policy.
   
Religion has played a major role in American politics for the last four years. People have questioned President Barack Obama’s alleged Muslim ties, charged him with attacking the Catholic Church by guaranteeing women access to birth control and disputed his policies regarding same-sex couples and women’s right to choose.
   
President Obama’s decisions were not based on religion but on  and ethic of equal rights.
   
Yet recently, religion has been used in politics to keep certain privileges from those who want to be married and from women who want the right to choose.
   
Our founding fathers knew the importance of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. The first amendment to the Constitution is “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
   
78 percent of American citizens consider themselves Christian, 16 percent consider themselves non-religious and 6 percent practice non-Christian religious.
   
When our government incorporates a law into our society based on a religious ideology, it completely disregards the 21 percent of our population that takes refuge under the first amendment.
   
Our government is supposed to represent all of our population not just 78 percent.
  
For the most part, Americans staunchly believe  the government should not be run by the church or a pope-like figure.
   
However, religion now more then ever creeps into our public policies through issues related to morality. But religious viewpoints should not be in politics even when it comes to moral issues.
   
The moral compass of one person may not match another’s.
   
A person is entitled to  his or her own belief system. However, this belief system cannot be imposed upon other people through a legal system.
   
A Christian does not need to have an abortion if it’s against her moral belief, but this should not prevent  others from making the choice.
   
Completely separating religion from our political system will then force us as Americans to look at moral issues in a new way instead of just referencing religious doctrines.
   
Our political officials should make policies that benefit the whole instead of representing the religious majority.
   
It is important to remember that if we allow religion to dictate politics, we abandon our first amendment freedom  that allows Americans to choose their own religions that dictate their own lives.
   
Next time you vote on a moral issue, remember your religious ideologies may not be the same as everyone else’s, but the law will affect everyone.