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Old 09-08-2017, 02:35 PM   #1
DanaC
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Religion in politics

This article about a politician's comments 'igniting a fresh row over abortion' (very much overstating the situation, I think) offers an interesting look at the different ways that religious beliefs in politics are viewed in the UK and US:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41176953



I thought this was an interesting point:

Quote:
In the US, being against abortion is a standard position for Republican politicians and a reliable dividing line with the Democrats, although the issue of exemptions for rape and incest is a highly sensitive one.

It still causes controversy when someone running for office voices their opposition to such exemptions, as Republican hopeful Marco Rubio did last year.

But American politicians are expected to be upfront about their religious beliefs and take a position on moral issues that in the UK tend to be seen as personal matters.
What I find intriguing about that is the expectations each body politic has of its elected officials and candidates. I tend just to see US politicians as either, so deeply religious that they found their politics on religion or pandering to a religious base. What I haven't really taken account of is the cultural expectation of them to engage in moral and spiritual leadership as part of their role.

It's kind of counterintuitive - the US system has a much sharper separation between church and state, yet religion is much more deeply entwined with politics. The UK has a church as a fundamental part of the state (represented in the House of Lords and the Queen's position as head of the church ) - but religion has a much less overt presence in politics.

Maybe by separating church and state, a need is created for the state to offer its moral and spiritual leadership through its political leaders, whereas having the church as a part of the mixed constitution means political leaders can leave that side of things primarily to the Queen and the Lords Spiritual.

This is not to say politicians and parliament don't engage in some 'moral leadership' but the overtly religious element tends to be less pronounced.
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Old 09-08-2017, 02:51 PM   #2
tw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaC View Post
It's kind of counterintuitive - the US system has a much sharper separation between church and state, yet religion is much more deeply entwined with politics.
Do not assume that volume says most all Americans intertwine religion with law; to be imposed upon others. That minority that would impose their religion on all others is small, belligerent, cantankerous, and argumentative. It is not that more Americans want to impose their religion on all other. It is that this loud minority get overtly reported by propaganda news services such as Fox, Limbaugh, and Breitbart.

Many politicians do what Trump does. Keep throwing things on the wall to see which group gets most inspired. Those politicians probably don't give a shit about the issue - just like Trump. These people, who are really only followers, respond to lies and myths that gain the loudest response. The racist George Wallace was a perfect example. He really was not that racist. He knew how to get elected.

Only people I know who preach religion in their politics are also dangerous to be around after only one or two beers. They are extremely few.

But unlike moderates, they vote religiously - in excess of 90%.
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:56 PM   #3
xoxoxoBruce
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Iíve met an awful lot of people who donít agree with the stance on abortion their party takes. Since we have only two viable parties, we have to choose one or the other or be an independent. But independents in 12 states canít vote in the primary elections which are becoming more important these days.

How people choose a party is often following family tradition, after all it was the parents who brainwashed the spawn. Nobody likes all the positions of any party, usually itís which one backs whatís most important to you.
I donít think religion enters into that decision much, except the church may have done as much brainwashing as the parents.
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:09 PM   #4
DanaC
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Quote:
Do not assume that volume says most all Americans intertwine religion with law; to be imposed upon others. That minority that would impose their religion on all others is small, belligerent, cantankerous, and argumentative. It is not that more Americans want to impose their religion on all other.
That's not really what I meant. I don't think most Americans want their politicians to be religious fanatics. I just think at a cultural level the US wants/expects its leaders to have a faith, and to embody the nation - to provide an exemplar of an American, including a spiritual and moral dimension. That doesn't mean they need to project that faith to the rafters - just that they identifiably have it as an important part of who they are. That expectation is then taken to an extreme by some.

I do wonder if part of that is that your president is your head of state - it is in fact the president's job to embody the nation.
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Old 09-08-2017, 10:22 PM   #5
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You're right in that belonging to some faith is an expected credential, just to prove they aren't some godless commie I guess, but when they use it as their shield, or platform, most Americans get uncomfortable.
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Old 09-09-2017, 06:03 AM   #6
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Oh I don't doubt that
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:44 AM   #7
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Religious affiliation has become the test of time here to demonstrate that a political candidate's sense of community can be greater than their sense of self. It's a surrogate for in-depth psychological evaluation (which we don't do anyway); because, it has provenance. The track record of a particular religion the candidate affiliates with gives people an idea as to what extent the good of the many will take precedence over the good of the few; or, the one, within the framework of our Constitution (incl. protections from separation of Church and State).

A candidate without religious affiliation can still succeed. It'll require a demonstration with similar attributes. That could be long term: exemplary military service, charitable work, human rights advocacy ... etc. Not all of these will resonate as strongly in the minds of as many voters though, since those are smaller subsets of the population than religions.

I haven't noticed a marked difference between the outcomes derived from the architecture of religion in politics in the UK and the US. They appear to be equally slippery slopes, just for different reasons. But then, I've only had to live within the US system.

Last edited by sexobon; 09-09-2017 at 09:50 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:09 AM   #8
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You start in politics at the grass roots. At the very lowest levels, township commissioner, school board, etc., candidates who are already known and even trusted by 100-200 people in the local area have an enormous advantage.

People who are well-known and active at church, civic organization leaders, long-time scout leaders, long-time school group leaders... if you're one or two of those things you have that base.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:05 AM   #9
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So glatt should run.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:18 AM   #10
sexobon
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Only if his Boy Scout troop lets girls in. Otherwise, they'll crucify him at the polls.

There's always a catch.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:30 AM   #11
xoxoxoBruce
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Besides, who would vote for a plumber.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:04 PM   #12
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Ugh. Who would want that?
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