Rising Number of Americans Believe Religion and Politics Do Mix

Over 2,000 people were surveyed the first week of September 2014, all of them 18 years or older and from 50 American states. For many years there had been decline of support of church involvement in politics—now there seems to be a slight reversal. Of those who participated in Pew Research Centre’s survey, 49% of those polled responded in support of churches and religious houses of worship expressing their views on the world’s pertinent political and social topics. This is a surprising increase from 40% from the same survey in 2012. But the country still has competing views, 48% of respondents said churches do not hold a place in politics.

I understand the benefits of a civil religion, the unification of a state under a religious doctorate, the United States has never segregated God from its politics, nearly every president mentions God at some point during their time in office (as discussed in 349 lectures). Yet, in our modern age, I believe the political arena holds no seat for religious views. We already hold individual ideologies, ethics, and morality—making the human population diverse with a plethora of opinions. Our society is complex and dynamic, adding layers of religious dogma, or even competing, conflicting religious views simply muddles an already muddy business. Enough wars have been waged with the battle cry being taken from a confused interpretation of religious text. Laws have used religion as the justification for legislation that has suffocated civil liberties, such as abortion or same sex marriage.

The human species needs to understand that religion is immutable yet not the dominant force in our ever-evolving scientific world. As our understanding of our surroundings increases, religion sadly does not have a foothold on our society as it once did. The simple fact is, reaffirmed by the increase in support, religion in an integral part of human culture, but it is only one aspect. There are hundreds of factors that make our global societies’ culture the most unique and complex organism on the planet. What could usher into a higher level of understanding is the advancement of non-secular views, a unifying worldview, the propagation of mankind through critical thinking and analysis that holds the highest utility for all peoples. In an age where people still exist on the fringes looking in at an advanced civilization, maybe we should find them democracy, civil liberties, food and water, before we place another God in front of them.

However it is important not to discount religion entirely, I am not trying to pump the tires of atheists. Just as an almighty, omnipotent, supernatural being has never been proven, it has never been completely refuted. It is only by the open and free discussion of ideas that we are able to discern the real truth; religion does not need to be silenced. But it needs to be autonomous from our government and institutions. Just as your belief that ice cream is better than chocolate, you should be free to believe God placed us here rather than a millennia of evolution—just do so in quiet respect, and separately from the democratic process.

SB – 349


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