Religion in Politics: The Church and the State

Welcome my congregation to another episode of Moderate Divide. We’ll be taking a moderate, non-emotional look at two sides of a topic. Today’s topic: Religion in Politics. Let’s get started! Well, thank you, it’s such a blessing to be here. I’m Pastor Michael. The question here today is not “Should we allow religion in politics?” but “Should we allow those with looser morals to be able to erode our Christian backbone?” We are “One Nation, Under God” and we need to make sure that those morals don’t fade away. Hello, I’m Daniel. Our country is a giant melting pot, and as such we have different backgrounds, cultures and different belief systems, so you wanna make sure that you don’t try to cross that line between, you having a belief system and you trying to force others to follow that belief system. So understanding that religion and beliefs are very personal to the individual, what are your thoughts on religion being used in politics? Look, everyone has their own beliefs, I have no problem with that. My problem is when you can’t separate your personal convictions from your public policies. A politician should not use his platform to try to push a religious agenda. What do you mean by “agenda”. Are you just referring to Christian morals? Yeah, an agenda. Our country is made up of many different religions including athiests and agnostics, so when there’s a big push from politicians for conservatism and Christian morals, this is a problem. Even though you can have whatever religion you want, we ARE a Christian nation. “One nation, under God”, heck our national motto is “In God We Trust” Yeah, but that’s only been our motto for like 60 years. Pledge of Allegiance didn’t even include “under God” until about the same time. This is not how we were founded, or how those documents originated. Perhaps not officially, but belief in God has been around since the beginning. Since our country was founded, Bibilical principles
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have been influencing our laws and leaders Yeah, that’s really scary to me because if we look to history, we can see so many examples of countries that were just run to ruin because they were ruled by religion. But they believed in false gods. That’s what lead to their ruin. Yes “false gods”, you believe one thing, and you believe everything
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else is a false god. That’s the beauty of having religious freedom. We have separation of church and state. Yes “separation of church and state”. It’s every important, unfortunately it’s very misunderstood. Thomas Jefferson was saying that you cannot impose restrictions upon religion that you cannot create laws that tell people what they can and cannot believe. The separation of church and state is intended to protect the church from the state. Not the other way around. But taking that line of thought, I could just do anything I want to you and claim that it was for my religion, and now you can’t say anything? Well, no, it’s not about trying to justify anything, especially nothing negative. The point of this is to allow freedom. The freedom to express your religion the way you see fit. Well your religion says gay people can’t get married, right? So, maybe my religion says I need to slap everyone named Michael. Well, in that case, my name’s Bob, nice to meet you. I know you’re joking, but that’s exactly the point. You felt like you needed to hide who you were because of my religion. Our religions should not be allowed to control other people. We’re getting some social media comments about the variety of religion: I guess that’s my point: it’s not “Christianity in Politics”. It’s “religion in politics”. My examply might have been over the top, but the point is, there are many different religions, and may different belief systems. It can’t be called “religious freedom” if we’re only allowing one religion. We need to keep our politics and our faith separate. There are many religions, absolutely, but many of them teach the same basic morality as the Bible. My issue is when we take the Ten Commandments down simply because it comes from the Bible. Even athiests would agree with most of the commandments. Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t cheat. That’s really not the topic here. The question is not whether your religion is good or right. The question is should you be able to use your religion to create laws that affect everyone else. But the question also “Can I continue practicing my beliefs? Or will God-hating atheists be able to outlaw religion in this country?” Atheists don’t hate God. Atheists don’t believe in God, so…there’s no “God” to hate. Similarly, they don’t worship the devil. The “devil”, “god”, these are all part of the religion, that they don’t believe in. Well maybe they don’t “hate God” per se, but they’re against God. They’re against religion. Look, no one is outlawing Christianity, no one is saying YOU can’t be a Christian. The thing is, you can’t say that Christianity is the “only way”, the default way to be a good American. “Freedom from religion” includes freedom from religious institutions trying to impose religion. That last phrase sounds like it’s a coded message saying I’m not allowed to voice my opinion about my belief. No, you can be as Christian as you want, but our politics shouldn’t just reflect only Christianity. We are a melting pot, that’s different races, cultures, backgrounds, genders, orientations, and different religious beliefs. Our politics need to reflect all of this. I have a two part question. The first part refers to the bakery owner who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. Should they be forced to participate in something that violates their beliefs? Or are they allowed to choose which customers they service? Oh, I remember that – the internet just went nuts because of the discrimination toward the gay wedding. This is a perfect example of them trying to force a store to violate their own beliefs. This shouldn’t even be a question, I mean, most businesses already have a sign that says “We have the right to refuse business to anyone” so we shouldn’t be forcing them to do something that goes against their beliefs. You know, I hear this, and it makes me think of, not that many decades ago where we had signs in store buildings that said “Whites only”. And I think we all agree we shouldn’t be discriminating against color, so shouldn’t we also not discriminate against orientation? I understand that point, so let’s go the other way. If someone asked you to make a cake, celebrating a peadophile’s relationship, would you want to be forced to make it? God, no. No one should be forced to do that. So now, if someone has those same feelings toward a homosexual, shouldn’t they also be able to say no? The difference is, peadophilia is an attack on a child, homosexuality is just: your religion thinks it’s bad. That does not give you the right to attack them. Nobody should be attacking anyone, no. But neither the government, nor the protestors should be allowed to force a business owner to do something that violates their beliefs. If you wanna say that your belief that homosexuality is wrong allows you to discriminate, then these people are allowed to take what they believe – that discrimination is wrong – and say that they can protest you. They can boycott you. You say Christians shouldn’t try to change people’s opinions, based on their own beliefs. But that’s exactly what the protestors are doing.
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The protestors are saying “Loosen your morals, or lose your business”. This is an attack on the Christian principles. No one cares that they are Christian, no one’s telling them to stop being Christians. They’re saying to stop discriminating against them because they’re gay. Well, where you see discrimination, I see loyalty to my beliefs. Intesting you both feel that each side is being attacked for who they are, and that the government is trying to force them to be something they’re not. But speaking of the government, that brings us to the second part of the question. There was another case where a marriage license was refused to a gay couple. Should she have been allowed to do this, since it was a government position? That’s very similar to the gay cake, but with one major difference: this is the public sector. It’s not a private business. If gay marriage is legal in your state, then you have no grounds to refuse a certificate to a gay couple. I do agree with this one. If it is your Federal job to give out marriage certificates to all eligible people, and your state allows for gay marriage, you are obligated to give them one. If you don’t like this you should probably get a new job. Along those same lines, we have a comment that reads: This is what I was referencing earlier with the Ten Commandments. My issue is: if it were a philosopher’s statement, we would have no problem leaving it up there. But because it comes from the Bible, now we hate it I love a good philosopher quote, but the Ten Commandments are not put up there as a good quote. It’s not just a great line from the Bible, the Ten Commandments are put up there as a representation that these are God’s laws and those are what oversee our country and our own laws. It allows one religion to really invade the public sector. It just seems to add up to a constant attack of Christian values. Take down the Ten Commandments, don’t put up that Nativity Scene, Don’t say Merry Christmas! No, you’ve always been able to say Merry Christmas, just don’t get mad at me if I say Happy Holidays. You can put up a Nativity Scene at your house. Just don’t put it up in a public, tax-payer funded location. But why can’t a Nativity Scene go there? Let me answer that with a question. You like the Nativity Scene But what if it wasn’t Christianity? Let’s say it was a different religion. Let’s say they took their symbols, their holiday and they put it up in your public space. Would you still be okay with that? I can see that point.
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But I think this is the overall problem. Especially trying to force people to say Merry Christmas, you’re not facing discrimination. You’re the one trying to say “Christianity is the default”. If Christianity feels like the default, that’s probably just because most of our country is Christian. These symbols, they represent our faith, but you can’t get rid of our faith, but getting rid of the symbols. Maybe you can make people hide it. Maybe they’re stop telling you, but they’ll still believe. That’s perfect. You still get to have whatever belief you want you just don’t get to tell me that I’m wrong. So the end goal IS to make people hide their religion. It’s just another step toward religious persecution. Look, it’s not Christian persecution just to admit that there are other relgions. The real persectution is that we still have seven states where atheists can’t even run for public office. They are literally discriminated against because of their religous, or lack of religious convictions We have one more comment that reads: Yes, if the only reason you don’t like something is for your religious beliefs, then it’s not public policy. You go ahead and don’t do it, but don’t try to force other people to follow along as well. So you’re saying, when I vote on public policy, I’m not supposed to use my personal beliefs to dictate how I vote? Of course, vote on your beliefs. That’s what you should do. But I’m saying you shouldn’t take your beliefs and try to turn them into policy. But public policy also shouldn’t try to silence my beliefs. Or make me give them up Well, I guess time’s about up here for our assembly. Let’s get to the final thoughts. Look, our country’s extremely diverse, and it always has been. But fighting over religion never ends well. Our melting pot seems to be at a boiling point. The wold has become so concerned with whether or not we offend each other That no one cares anymore if we give up our beliefs and offend God. Well as we say here, you don’t have to agree, you just have to see the point. So Daniel, what’s Michael’s point? As a man of faith, Michael, of course, wants to uphold his Christian values, and I don’t think his intention is to hurt anyone, but I believe that his viewpoint is so rigid, that it doesn’t allow for modern lifestyles or beliefs. And Michael, what about Daniel? Daniel believes that morals should be fluid. He believes that as people change, we should adapt and change with them. He doesn’t believe that our morals should be based on one religious set of principles, but should be based on the adapting, changing world around us. Well thanks for joining us once again on Moderate Divide. If you think we missed anything, or you just want to add to the discussion, please put it in the comments below. See ya next week!

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