There’s no role for religion in the theater of politics

The Southerner

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BY GRIFFIN KISH

Yesterday, I was in Spanish class, listening to a student talk about, among other things, the topics of the recent presidential debates.  One thing he said caught my attention. “I don’t have anything against religion, but I don’t think that people should try so hard to introduce their religious beliefs, like abortion, into politics, where it affects those that may not agree with those religious beliefs.” I had come to this realization myself, and I too think that this is an idea that many Americans need to embrace when they think about whom to vote for.

With approximately 73 percent of American people identifying as Christian, it is clear why the candidates want to stress their religious view on politics. One of the biggest and most effective ways that they do this is to bring up the topic of abortion and planned parenthood.  The traditionally conservative, christian republicans tend to support pro-life arguments, while the liberal democrats are more likely to argue on the behalf of pro-choice.

Right now, 50 percent of American people say that they are pro-life, and 41 percent say they are pro-choice. Despite these large percentages of people, I strongly disagree with the fact that politicians feel the need to address such issues that should be left for citizens to discuss at home, at their place of worship, or not to discuss at all. And the fact that it was a question in the vice-presidential debate is appalling.

 My question is “What ever happened to the separation of church and state?” And so far no one seems to be able to give me an answer other than “I don’t know, but I’m pro-life/choice.”  I am distraught when I am reminded that the politician who talks about abortion, and therefore religion, is one of the reasons that people blindly vote for them. Why can’t people buy liquor on Sundays? Why have 32 of our 44 presidents been Christian? And the answer is this: voters will vote for what they believe.

 You might now be thinking “What a simple conclusion. I could have come up with that on my own.” But what many people don’t realize is that this is not necessarily a good thing. I think that people should vote for who they believe is the best for the country. I don’t see how their religious beliefs can affect the overall effect that they have on the country. That’s why it can be detrimental to the American public to vote for a candidate with whom they share a religious belief, even when the other candidate may be more equipped to lead the country.

 Now, it may sound like I am trying to attack Mitt Romney and the pro-life mindset. I am upset with the republicans, but not because they are pro-life. I am upset because they feel the need to be so outspoken about religious topics, such as abortion, liquor sales, and even gay rights. But I am equally upset with the democrats for feeling the need to reciprocate with the pro-life argument.

 It may also sound like I am attacking the fact that social issues come up in politics, but to be perfectly honest, most of the other social issues in politics do help me to decide who is the better candidate for the country. Religion is something that does little overall for the country, and so, if I could vote, I would not vote for the outspoke Christian, Jew or Muslim.

 I recognize that it will be hard for the American people to forget their religion when the writing their ballot. And it will be hard for politicians to focus solely on important issues. But I am a catholic moderate, and if I could vote, abortion, liquor sales, and gay rights would have no part in my decision.

 

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