The role of faith in American politics and the slow erosion of separation of church and state

The role of faith in American politics and the slow erosion of separation of church and state

Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.”


Thomas Jefferson


America is a country which is always in a perpetual state of election campaigns and faith has now become the most important part of American politics particularly with the Republican Party. According to my observation some candidates try to outdo each other when it comes to who is more conservative and a devote Christian. When I see politicians like Bobby JIndal, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum who I think will be running to get the Republican nomination for the office of President of the United States in 2016 scare the hell out me.  The way they talk sometimes, it feels the day is not too far when there will be no separation of church and state which is the American foundation and its thriving democracy. But one thing is certain if America becomes a theocratic state, rest assured the Second Amendment which is right to bear arms will stand resolute.


To get elected for a political office in America, politicians have to stand in queue for getting endorsement from top Christian leaders and it seems the road to 2016 for the White House depends who is more Christian. When politicians have to prove they are more religious then the other guy it is time to call it a day because competition in religious believes never has a happy ending. There is nothing wrong in being religious but in America it just getting out of hand. If we look back in history I think many great American leaders were more spiritual rather than religious. George Washington who led Americans to their freedom and whose names upon which the American capital is named was a Christian but was he religious or he just used Christianity as a spiritual guide.


In the present environment in American politics, Thomas Jefferson could be called a heretic with his own Christian believes and the bible he wrote with many rightful omissions would have rendered him unelectable in the current environment. Thomas Jefferson was chief architect of the United States constitution, declaring the separation of church and state why America went on to become the world’s greatest democracy. Even Abraham Lincoln who defined Democracy was someone who never publically displaced his faith which is still a matter of great public debate in America. Regardless, Lincoln was known to be a deeply spiritual man and had great knowledge of the bible which he often quoted and in my opinion he did so to reach out to the public. But was he religious in the true sense I do not think so.


So what has changed? The answer is simple, President Ronald Regan administration. Now I am not going to call Regan a rightwing religious despot but his biggest crime was to bring the Anglican Church into mainstream politics. This might sound unfair but Ronald Regan is to American politics is Zia ul Haq to Pakistan. Now this is just a comparison on certain aspect of their political decisions. Both politicians joined hands with religious figures and their sole purpose was and is the promotion of their religious agenda. It is safe to say various American Christian denominations have the most powerful lobby in Congress.


So what happened?


Why this sudden pandering for religious approval?


Shouldn’t religion not be a personal choice?


Does it really matter how often a politician picks up the Bible and do they go to Church regularly?


Why politicians in America and particularly in the Republican Party have to holler on top their lungs to prove there christianess?


The answer to these questions lies in the weakness of the American people. I have never travelled to America but it is clear they can easily be manipulated with religion which can be said about India also. But India is more complicated than that. Even though there are many Christian denominations the American foundation was Judeo-Christian. I keep reading and watch political leaders like Sarah Palin saying wanting America to be more conservative the need to go back to the fundamentals and renew the pledge made by the founding fathers. However they fail to see the very men who created America kept their religious believes personal unlike many political leaders right now who wear it in there sleeve.


Americans must need to ask themselves why Thomas Jefferson wrote his own bible? Because he knew what harm religion can cost to the idea which is called America.



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Balaji descends from an intellectual family from South India which now resides in the capital of the largest democracy of the world, Delhi. A semi-bald-pot-bellied personality who unintentionally resembles to the younger version of Ed Harris. He has explored various business verticals in order to understand what he wants from his life. Finally, not sure whether he has found it –verbicide- discovered it, he has resorted to writing literary pieces for UtheStory. Today, the organization sees him as the most experienced person – in India experienced means who has come off age- among all the other UTSians. His grasp on political arena is firm, but movies is his interest area and writing on sports is what he loves to do. That is the only reason, the organization considers him as the ‘Experienced’. He has been writing for Digit Bazar and Digit How for some time and has created a long list of aficionados by writing sardonic and literary article pieces. Balaji loves to give ideas for the graphics of the article that he writes –depends if that is accepted or rejected by the Design team- but he loves it, truly. His article reflects the true picture of the situation that he tries to cover and is very neutral to the topic. Being neutral does not mean he is dolesome by nature. He is very passionate and jovial human creature who at times enlightens people around him with his excellent sense of humor which is the amalgam of south and north India.