I thought I would never, ever, ever write a political post (unless you count Jesus ruling the earth from Jerusalem as a political topic). I guess this post proves me wrong. Here goes…
So the big news I’ve heard lately about the presidential campaigns is that Mitt Romney has been under some pressure regarding his belief in Mormonism. Along with that goes a whole barrage of political opinion blogs, articles, and sound bytes. Polls list how many people would vote for a Mormon for president. Especially targeted are Evangelical believers, who are asked if they have a problem with electing a Mormon to the office. A large number say that yes, that is a problem. And hence begin another flurry of opinion articles. “Evangelicals are too narrow-minded,” “Faith should not factor into the votes,” “You shouldn’t care what he believes…” blah, blah, blah. Yuck. I don’t like mud-slinging.
What is especially baffling to me is how shocked the media seems about this stuff. Commone sense says that, with belief in a particular religion — any recognized religion — comes a whole set of moral expectations. A Hindu has different moral law than a Moslem, which is different than Judaism, which is different from Mormonism, which is different from Christianity, etc. Even staunch athiests or agnostics will have a set of morals which line up with their belief in a non-existant or unknowable deity. Like it or not, these moral beliefs will necessarily affect the political arena.
Hot issues like abortion, gay rights, even welfare will be affected by one’s belief in God. Does your religion tolerate a particular issue or not? If not, do you believe your deity figure(s) to be capable and motivated to judge our country if we sin in that area? Do you even believe such-and-such an issue even matters to your deity figure(s)? Such questions will define your set of values, and will define how passionately you will defend those values.
The common response for candidates is to say that, “Yes, I am such-and-such religion, but that won’t affect how I govern.” Honestly, I don’t believe that for a second. If a person genuinely believes in any religion, it must necessarily affect their legislation. If their religion literally has zero bearing on their politics, then they are double-minded and quick to compromise on what they believe is right, and I wouldn’t want such a person in office.
Voters are the same way. Of course my religion will affect who I want to vote for when it comes to issues of morality. If it didn’t, I could hardly say to actually subscribe to Christianity. I understand that for a lot of people, it most often boils down to having to choose a lesser of two evils, and where that final vote lands is between them and God. I’m not saying that people who vote for “so-and-so heathen candidate” are not sincere Christians. I’m just saying that God’s standards must necessarily filter into their decision-making process, at least a little bit. Their final decision must be one they are comfortable with before God.
So in short, no matter how separated church and state become, religion will necessarily affect politics, because politics necessarily involves people. It’s only reasonable to expect those in political office to act in accordance with their religious beliefs. And it’s silly to expect anything less from the voters.
Rant finished. (‘scuse me.)