Sunday, January 22, 2012

Should Religion Matter in Choosing Your Political Candidates?

     In an article in the Huffington Post , Mark Osler makes the claim that we should take a candidate's religious affiliation in consideration when we go to the polls. He states that it should not matter what religion the candidate is but that what does the religion teach the candidate to do in daily life. Osler says that faith is what influence the actions that people make. As American people we are ignorant if we do not admit or even care to take this into consideration. We should determine how to vote based on what the religion tells the candidate is the right way. The religious institutions leader taking control is not the concern. One of the more final points he makes is that if there is a candidate who is religious but makes statements saying he will not let it influence his/her decision in office, the that person is not trustworthy. They are not trustworthy, because they are either being dishonest about it not influencing them or they are being dishonest about their religious affiliation. He says that at least the candidate's religious affiliation/faith help give us an indicator on the decisions they will make in office.
     The obvious problem that can be raised with this article is, what happened to separation of church and state. A candidate's religion should not matter, because they should be able to separate their personal beliefs from their professional beliefs and decisions. Or is it that their personal beliefs, like many other people, do influence every day actions, even professional ones. It is should not be advised for people to decide on a candidate based on what church they go to, but should we be so naive enough to think they would be able keep the two separate.
     I find this issue to be extremely important, especially with a presidential election nearing. It is a big issue, because this year it seems to be a reflection of the issue that people had when JFK was running for president. The bigger concern seems to be over the Mormon candidates. The media seems more focused on what religion the candidates are, instead of what their political platforms are. An article like this, in my opinion, could just add fuel to the fire. It could even cause people to feel justified for choosing the way they want to. It can cause more people to keep overlooking the important things in a political race, instead of focusing on what the people from less “threatening” religions are bringing to the political race. Voters sadly seem to be more concerned about which candidate is a “true” Christian and who is not. An article like this says it is okay to do so. It should not be okay to choose a candidate based on their religion. Many politicians are having to defend their choice of religion and not their choice of political platform, This is due, sadly, more to the fact that too many are focused on what that candidate's religion could do to America. Obviously faith can influence any persons choices, but to decide based on a person's religion is not much better than the voters who decide based on which candidate is better looking. If America had held to its prejudices against Catholics, then JFK would have never been elected. He was president for a brief time, but he was a good one. It is time to be a truly informed voter.


Emrah K said...

If religious people have troubles in the country to fulfill their some religious rituals or ideals, why not do they elect one who shares the same ideas with them? Already people elect one to improve the country in terms of economic, education, health, industry, technology, and moral. If I think of the one who will not serve my goals, why do I vote him? In short, I think Mark Osler is offering a normal advice.

kathryn y. said...

The article that you presented is a great segway into discussing what John Fae presents us in "Was America Founded as a Christian Nation" when discussing "how" Christians are to act. Osler writes in reference to Kennedy, "What he did not say, even in referring to his religious views as "his own private affair," was that those personal religious views would have no influence on his conduct in office. In other words, President Kennedy artfully established that outside forces would not force his hand, while reserving the ability to have his own personal faith remain a guide to principled action." I think that this statement here is precisely where the blurring of Christianity and Patriotism becomes such an entanglement.

Anne G said...

Quoting Fea (p155), "humans were largely incapable of being virtuous or disinterested without help from a strong central government." I'd replace the word "were" from the above sentence with "are" for use today.
And,as Fea notes, the Constitution of the United States is a "Godless Constitution" what matters most then is how a President will or will not carry out the mandates of this document for ALL the people. What do Mormons believe and how are they to carry out their belief in public matters? The Constitution limits some things, but in what ways would/could a Mormon president change the "spirit" of the US Constitution that would negatively impact ALL/most of the people?
Yes, for me it matters.

Tiffany S. said...

I was not saying that his advice is not normal, I was just expressing the hope that religion would not be the final determining factor. Too many times during this election have I heard people say I am not voting for so and so because he belongs to this church. Many Americans are deciding on preconceived notions of what they think the church is about because the media says so. In reality the church might believe none, half or all of what is said. At least if you are going to decide or rule someone out because of religion, try and get the real facts about that religion and not trust what the gossip about the religion is telling you. Find out for yourself. I apologize for sounding possibly defensive. I was raised Mormon and this presidential race at times can be a bit frustrating when I hear some people in the media saying things that are not true about Mormons. I was reading another blog that talked about Mormons not being Christian, Mormons very much believe they are Christian. They have another book in companionship with the Bible that also talks about Jesus. They celebrate Christmas, the church is called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Mormons do many things the same as other Christians do. Mormons have the eucharist , baptisms, etc. I apologize for the length, but this is also in answer to some other blogs as well.