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“Reliticals” – Religion, Politics and Morals?

by Hanaa Butcher, guest writer

Photo by Hanaa Butcher

After recently attending the Mitt Romney rally event at the Civic Center in Asheville, I began noticing a clear message: religion and politics should not be separated in the eyes of many. Throughout the night, I spoke to many different people and the answers all seemed to be the same. Our nation’s foundation is built on “one nation under God”—so why separate God from our nation’s growth?

As a young voter partaking in this evolving yet feisty electoral process, I’ve never realized a connection or even thought of how religion and politics can work together. More and more, both candidates make references toward religion and God, but what does religion or God have to do with stabilizing the economy, providing health care, and taxation? Well for one thing, I’ve come to realize that quite often our moral views are shaped by our religious views and by the influence of the ecology in which we grew up. Thus, this then shapes our political views when we become of age to fully understand the importance of what we think should be the focus of the country. But what about drawing a clear line of consensus, and anticipating the views of everyone else in the nation, not just one’s moral view on a topic. A perfect example of working past our moralistic view is creating civil rights for women and people of color in our country. Even though many people did not accept these uprisings and changes, and still stand firm in their beliefs to this day, there was a clear movement of people who believed this right was unjust and unfair. These people who did not enjoy the civil rights enjoyed by others, came out of their norms and built together a powerful testimony of justice for all. Even today, women’s rights are still being discussed and debated in our political forum.

Photo by Hanaa Butcher

After talking to a local family living in Asheville during the Romney rally, one thing became evident. Good Christians tend to vote for someone who demonstrates good Christian values. After all, there are conservative Christian groups such as The Family Leader, which preaches economic and political viewpoints although it has nothing to do with the Christian faith. On their website they discuss how to vote for someone who demonstrates “Christian Leadership” and how to identify a “Strong Christian Leader.” Attributes such as “pleasing God and obeying his word, believing in one creator God” and noticing that “God reveals himself in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible” are all classifications to look for when deciding who to vote for. During the Vice Presidential Debate Rep. Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden went head to head discussing their religious and political viewpoints. Rep. Ryan stated “I don’t see how a person can separate their public life from their private life or from their faith. Our faith informs us in everything we do. My faith informs me about how to take care of the vulnerable, about how to make sure that people have a chance in life.” On the other hand however, Vice President Biden stated “But I refuse to impose it [religion] on equal devout Christians and Muslims and Jews and – I just refuse to impose that on others unlike my friend here, the congressman.” Both acknowledge the roles religion and politics play in today’s society but at the end of the day, the choice is yours. What do you think about how your religion and politics work together?

What about looking for things that actually matter? Why does someone’s personal view have to affect the nation as a whole? These are questions that all relate back to morals. Matters such as abortion, gay marriage and capital punishment would always have connections to Biblical scriptures and again moral values based on your religion. But whose morals are right? Whose morals should be used to establish a nation’s foundation and evolving policies? These profound questions are for us to personally answer with one’s self.

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