Monday, June 13, 2005

Religion and Politics

“A Unified Country Without Unified Causes”

In the last year it has become increasingly evident that people’s religion has a major impact on how they vote. The most evident example of this is what the media has deemed the “right wing Christian.” To the political world Christians are just another demographic that need to be won over. But this “right wing Christian” demographic has a wide array of people groups included in it. There are no doctrinal distinctions in this demographic. The question that many are left with is: “where do I fit within this demographic?” When is it ok to work with people that we do not agree with, and why do so many different groups fall into this one political demographic? To answer these questions is to answer how people think, and why they do what they do.

The first thing that we can note is that there are many different World Views within one political ideology. People can have a unified ideology without having a unified World view. These are people who come to the same conclusion on issues, but have a different way of arriving there. Take Terri Schaivo as a test case. There were plenty of people on both sides of the issue, but lets look only at those who wanted to keep her alive. There were a lot of people who fought to keep Terri’s feeding tube in, including Jesse Jackson. For the most part these people were all fighting for the same reason, because they felt like it would be taking her life to remove the feeding tube. While this was the common answer not all came up with this answer in the same way. For instance, some wanted to keep her alive because they did not want to end up in the same situation one day. Others wanted to keep her alive because they did not trust her husband. And others wanted to keep her alive because they believe that God is sovereign over human life, and for man to unjustly take a life is murder. All of these people came to the same conclusion, the sanctity of human life, but they all arrived to that conclusion in a different way.

But there is another distinction within political ideologies. There are those with unified causes without unified ideologies. These are people who fight for the same causes, but for different reasons. A good example of this is the recent political activity with same sex marriages. Again we could look at either side as an example, but we will look those who oppose same sex marriages. The cause is the same, ban same sex marriages, but the answers are different. There are those who hate homosexuals and see banning homosexuality as a means of ridding the country of homosexuals. There are others who see the negative effects that homosexual marriages have had on other societies, and see banning homosexual marriages a means for saving our society. There are others who see supporting a ban on homosexual marriages as a political advantage, and see banning homosexual marriages as a means for furthering their political career. Finally there are those who see homosexuality as rebellion to God’s established order, and see banning homosexual marriages as a way of upholding Biblical truth. These are not concrete categories some people can hold to a mixture of two or more of these generalizations. But the point is that they all have the same cause with different ideologies. Their motives are different for one another because their answers to life’s questions are different. Take for instance the final example given; if this person truly wants to uphold Biblical truth he will love the person caught in homosexuality and hate homosexuality because it will result in the eternal punishment of the homosexual.

Because so many different people have so many different ways of viewing the world we are a unified county without unified causes. So be careful when you identify with a political demographic. Remember what politics are. We can be in agreement with someone on a particular issue and be diametrically opposed to their view of the world.


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