Does religious belief inform politics?
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22-07-2014, 03:56 PM
Does religious belief inform politics?
Let's focus on US politics. It's a topic I actually don't care much about, but I see it everywhere, and enjoy watching people bark at each other.

So does religion inform politics? Are religious people more likely to be republican (This seems to be implied often)? If so, why? What is "Republican" about being religious? Does being a "none" make you more likely to vote democrat? Why?

My take is: I can see some interesting points and ideals in both GOP vs Dem, but I think it's silly to think either has it right for every situation, and the tribalism that plagues internet forums is comical at best (i.e. incredibly stupid, but fun to watch nonetheless). However I don't see either side as being inherently religious or irreligious. So I'd be interested to hear if there is a valid connection or not.

I prefer fantasy, but I have to live in reality.
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22-07-2014, 04:02 PM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
As someone living outside the US but with a keen interest in US politics - this is almost a redundant question.

Religion unquestionably affects US politics - particularly on a domestic level...


"Name me a moral statement made or moral action performed that could not have been made or done, by a non-believer..." - Christopher Hitchens



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22-07-2014, 04:15 PM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
The separation of powers is a very important concept.
Just consider Shariah law and the Islamic states.
At least we allow opposing views!
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22-07-2014, 04:31 PM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
I'm not asking whether religion affects/manipulates politics, I'm asking if any certain party's policies or ideals are religious or not.

Does being religious make you more likely to stick to a particular party? If so, why?

Do parties have religious policy at their roots? Or are religious people just using the party for their own agenda?

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22-07-2014, 04:34 PM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
Republican didnt always mean religious. Thats a rather recent development historically speaking. Since the teaparty kind of infiltrated the republican party its become that. At least more so.
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22-07-2014, 04:39 PM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
Another way of asking it is...If you could make a list of the strategies, goals, and policies of each party...are there certain policies in either party (accepted by the majority of the party) that are actually religious?

If so, what are they??

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22-07-2014, 05:04 PM
Re: Does religious belief inform politics?
If you refer to that chart and theory on basic morality positions DLJ used to post a few times, it can kinda show why a link exists.

It seems people who are conservative generally have a strong value of tradition, sanctity, and authority while Liberals don't particularly value those. These are concepts deeply entrenched in religious value and belief systems.

Some schools of thought say anything people belief will effect their actions, so it's likely to impact ones politics

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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22-07-2014, 05:54 PM (This post was last modified: 22-07-2014 06:01 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
(22-07-2014 03:56 PM)Adrianime Wrote:  Let's focus on US politics. It's a topic I actually don't care much about, but I see it everywhere, and enjoy watching people bark at each other.

So does religion inform politics? Are religious people more likely to be republican (This seems to be implied often)? If so, why? What is "Republican" about being religious? Does being a "none" make you more likely to vote democrat? Why?

My take is: I can see some interesting points and ideals in both GOP vs Dem, but I think it's silly to think either has it right for every situation, and the tribalism that plagues internet forums is comical at best (i.e. incredibly stupid, but fun to watch nonetheless). However I don't see either side as being inherently religious or irreligious. So I'd be interested to hear if there is a valid connection or not.

Christians who identify by their Christianity first and foremost above any other category, are much more likely to be Republicans.

The historical roots of this are tied to slavery, Segregation, and the Cold War.

In America, especially during the 1950s era of McCarthy, the Cold War was painted as a conflict between an atheistic ideology, Communism, and the very Christian United States. Though there is a kernel of truth here -- Communism did explicitly identify organized religion as a political threat to its monopoly of power, and a tool used by the bourgeois to control the proletariat, and many of Soviet Russia's human rights violations were violations of religious freedom -- McCarthyism mischaracterized the nature of the conflict by portraying the religious issue as the central point, rather than a symptom of a larger fundamental disagreement over political structure, human rights, and economic strategy. This mischaracterization was taken to heart, and in the wake of WW2 (and large numbers of servicemen coming home from a military where they'd been indoctrinated by chaplains and propaganda), being Christian became strongly linked to ideas of patriotism and anti-Communism. Furthermore, the Baby Boom ensured that a great many people had their formative years coinciding with this change in the national gestalt, and a general economic boom following WW2 (as a peace dividend was reaped and other economic powers were too busy rebuilding to compete) meant that the normally idyllically-recalled childhoods of this population bulge were more-idylic than most, and the linkage between God, Country, and Freedom was strongly ingrained in their minds in opposition to Communism. Communism was in turn linked to labor unions, which was a good chunk of the Democratic base. Later, when Democratic opposition to the Vietnam war (over domestic issues like cost and conscription, as well as shock over American war crimes) led to US withdrawal, Democrats were painted as unwilling to support the god-given fight against the godless communists. Republicans, however, were much more firmly on the side of capitalism than the Democrats.

Another notable feature was the end of Segregation. Though this came about in multiple waves (and is still, in a sense, an ongoing project), one of the key milestones was the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The Democratic party had been particularly schizophrenic on the subject of race up until this point. On the one hand, Democrats had traditionally championed the populist cause of the poor and middle class against the wealthy. On the other hand, they were historically the party of slavery, due to their championing (the previous century) of the agrarian, slave-holding South against the industrial, anti-slavery North. Much of the Democratic party's strength remained in the South, and the South is where racism and support of Segregation was the strongest. It also placed the party in a divided state, wherein the Southern Democrats (aka Dixiecrat) were strongly in favor of Segregation, while Democrats from the rest of the nation tended to support the generally poor black population. The Civil Rights Act effectively outlawed many of the mechanisms for government segregation, and it was seen as a largely Democratic effort, through the strong push of two Democratic presidents in its support and a Republican filibusterer in its opposition. President Johnson, upon signing the bill, famously commented, "We have lost the South for a generation." The South did indeed defect from the Democrats, who they saw as having betrayed the central, defining tradition of Southern culture. The only error in Johnsons prophesy was that he had underestimated. Nixon, showing his trademark moral character, actively courted the jilted Southern states and wooed them away from the Democratic party in what is known as "The Southern Strategy". 50 years later, the South remains reliably, and solidly, the Republicans' strongest bastion, and blacks strongly remain a huge part of the Democratic base. And the South was then, and still is today, the strongest home of the domineering, evangelical Christianity that vexes the rest of us so much (as opposed to the lighter flavors that are easier to coexist with).

There were other factors. For example, Roe v. Wade had been decided in the early 70s. If you're not familiar with this case, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman had a right to privately arrive at medical decisions with her doctor (called the right to privacy), which restrained government's right to illegalize abortion procedures, be it federal, state, or local law. While not all Christians disagreed with Roe v. Wade, quite a many among the more conservative Christians saw it as a sign that the government was growing increasingly godless.

The late 70s and early 80s saw a huge fundamentalist, evangelist, conservative Christian revival, bringing to the fore such figures as Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, and Jerry Falwell. By this point, Republicans were seen as more strongly aligned with fundamentalist interests than Democrats were. They were the true patriots against the godless communist menace, they were the side that WASN'T undermining Segregation and allowing such godless institutions as mixed-race marriage, and so on. Jerry Falwell in particular sought to mobilize his many followers in support of Republican candidates... and in addition to this section of the electorate, propped up a paper tiger (the Moral Majority) of supposedly Christian-values voters voting Republican, which pretended to be much larger than it was and caused many Republicans to become more overt in their religion to gain its support. On the government side, Ronald Reagan wooed this new wave of evangelical Christianity, and he has been the figure to emulate in Republican circles ever since.

Taken together, these forces have converged to define the present character of the two parties on social issues. The Republicans are more hawkish and seen as more resolute in war, while the Democrats are seen as vacillating and more prone to talk things out. Republicans emphasize much more majority rule (specifically, the white male Christian majority), while Democrats emphasize inclusion of underprivileged minorities and disadvantaged groups, including social welfare programs, rights for other religions (and no religions), womens' rights, gay rights, and so on. (That said, most Democratic elected officials are also white, male, and Christian.) These social welfare programs and safety nets also bring them into conflict with Republicans on economic issues, where Republicans favor unrestrained, untaxed capitalism, while Democrats favor regulated markets and employers and taxes to raise funds for government needs. Democrats are more likely to embrace, or at least allow, new social trends and changes, while Republicans are more likely to decry or oppose them.

ALL of this (along with the stand down of the military by Clinton following the collapse of the USSR, as well as the way his sexual morals, um, sucked) combined to make Republicans the home of Christians who want old-fashioned Christianity... especially the evangelical, Calvinist brand of Christianity prone to see prosperity as a mark of God's favor and disadvantage as a mark of God's disapproval of some sort of shortcoming (laziness, moral laxness, whatever).

Of particular note is an election in... I forget. It was 2002, 2004, or 2006. Privately, I call it the purging. The Republican party had, until then, been a "big tent party". If you agreed with it on some of its issues, you were in, even if you disagreed on others. In this election, though, the national party backed primary challenges against much of its membership that it saw as insufficiently pure. For example, if you were conservative economically, but progressive on social issues, you could see a well-funded primary challenger that kept you from ever reaching the general election. Since then, the Republican party has been much more dogmatically, much more narrowly defined, and the party at large sees Christianity as part and parcel of their own brand emphasizing it heavily, while Democrats tend to see Christianity as more incidental to their politics and touch on it fairly lightly (lest they fail to include those of other faiths).

Anyhow, that's my best off-the-cuff summary of the reasons for it. Anyone who cares to add or correct anything I've said is welcome.
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18-09-2014, 01:15 AM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
I think, politics is the part of any religion and you learn the system of politics from the religion. It guides you in better way about the system. watch religious tv here http://www.freetv.pk/peace_tv_live.html
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18-09-2014, 08:19 AM
RE: Does religious belief inform politics?
(18-09-2014 01:15 AM)sana5500 Wrote:  I think, politics is the part of any religion and you learn the system of politics from the religion. It guides you in better way about the system. watch religious tv here http://www.freetv.pk/peace_tv_live.html

The separation of church and state has proven to result in more freedom and less oppression.

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