Politics - playing the religious card

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  • #26
BobG
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Now that everyone else has weighed in to this discussion, I'd like to add that (IMO) religion isn't the problem - it's polarized ideology. Religion is merely a weapon in the battle. This article is quite thorough in it's comparison. After reading through all of the comparisons - please ask yourself - how is it possible for these 2 ideologies to ever agree to a compromise that makes everyone happy and doesn't result in bankrupting the Republic?

http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs/

"Conservative vs. Liberal Beliefs"
Probably the same way I refrain from intentionally rear ending cars in front of me that display truly idiotic bumper stickers. It's difficult, but it's doable. (Edit: I probably shouldn't drive before posting.)

Feeling that a thread discussing religion in politics is a waste of time is a valid point. But deciding to fix the problem by diverting it into a discussion of extreme liberal/extreme conservative views is disrespectful.

Besides, your topic would be better addressed in a separate thread with a poll to see if there were even one person that held every view on that liberal list or even one person that held every view on that conservative list. (It should probably be an anonymous poll agreeing with every issue on either list might make people think you were raised in some kind of cult.) And one of the options should find out how many people agree with at least one item on both lists (hopefully, I'm not that abnormal).

I guess the same could apply to religions. I know the Catholic church agrees with at least one item on both lists.
 
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  • #27
Ivan Seeking
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As for the op, as long as politicians have beliefs, those beliefs will to some extent affect and shape policy. Beliefs are beliefs and religous beliefs are just a subset of a larger set of all personal beliefs and perspectives. Evo mentioned that one should do what's best for the country, but beliefs will determine what one thinks is best.

Also, the country doesn't always come first. Sometimes the individual comes first. Sometimes you just have to do what's right whether its best for the country or not. But what is "right"?
 
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  • #28
BobG
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Also, the country doesn't always come first. Sometimes the individual comes first. Sometimes you just have to do what's right whether its best for the country or not. But what is "right"?
Good point. The use of torture would be one of those issues where numerous countries have agreed the benefit isn't worth the wrong of torture.
 
  • #29
Ivan Seeking
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Good point. The use of torture would be one of those issues where numerous countries have agreed the benefit isn't worth the wrong of torture.
In my view, and one that I think I can defend pretty well, drugs are bad, but the war on drugs is worse. What might be best for the country in a technical sense would be to just execute anyone that fails a drug test. But the entire point of doing what's best for the country is to do what's best for the people. And executing people for human weakness, or human nature, is hardly in the interest of the people. And to do so certainly wouldn't be "right" by any standard that I could accept. But then I was raised Catholic, so maybe that's just my former religion speaking. :biggrin:
 
  • #30
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As for the op, as long as politicians have beliefs, those beliefs will to some extent affect and shape policy. Beliefs are beliefs and religous beliefs are just a subset of a larger set of all personal beliefs and perspectives. Evo mentioned that one should do what's best for the country, but beliefs will determine what one thinks is best.

Also, the country doesn't always come first. Sometimes the individual comes first. Sometimes you just have to do what's right whether its best for the country or not. But what is "right"?
I understand that beliefs may shape policy to a certain extent, but as long as any extreme polarization is not reflected in the influence on these policies, it is fine.

BobG, the article is indeed a "smart" conservative's opinion of "stupid socialist" liberals.
 
  • #31
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Feeling that a thread discussing religion in politics is a waste of time is a valid point. But deciding to fix the problem by diverting it into a discussion of extreme liberal/extreme conservative views is disrespectful.
My intent wasn't to derail the thread. As stated, I think religion is a weapon of choice by both sides in the political debate. The right tries to achieve a higher moral position with it and the left typically tries to belittle the right by challenging on the basis of lack of proof. It's a tiresome game that can't be "fixed" - IMO.
 
  • #32
Ivan Seeking
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My intent wasn't to derail the thread. As stated, I think religion is a weapon of choice by both sides in the political debate. The right tries to achieve a higher moral position with it and the left typically tries to belittle the right by challenging on the basis of lack of proof. It's a tiresome game that can't be "fixed" - IMO.
Religion wasn't so much an issue until the faithful started challenging scientific theories and pushing an education agenda. Also, they have made a religious issue out of gay marriage when that is a civil issue. So I disagree. The right wing, and esp people like Beck and his followers, have made religion an issue. Back in the 80s, the Republicans allied with the evangelical/fundamentalist movement. In part, this is how Reagan was elected. Now we see the offspring of that marriage.
 
  • #33
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Religion wasn't so much an issue until the faithful started challenging scientific theories and pushing an education agenda. Also, they have made a religious issue out of gay marriage when that is a civil issue. So I disagree. The right wing, and esp people like Beck and his followers, have made religion an issue.
And religion was never meant to be that way. Religion is a misused weapon by those brainwashed or willingly accepting of right-wing ideology.

Sad thing that America has become a dumping-ground of extremists.
 
  • #34
MarcoD
In my view, and one that I think I can defend pretty well, drugs are bad, but the war on drugs is worse. What might be best for the country in a technical sense would be to just execute anyone that fails a drug test. But the entire point of doing what's best for the country is to do what's best for the people. And executing people for human weakness, or human nature, is hardly in the interest of the people. And to do so certainly wouldn't be "right" by any standard that I could accept. But then I was raised Catholic, so maybe that's just my former religion speaking. :biggrin:
Ah, physicists. No moral stature what so ever. :rolleyes: Like my father's solution to solving the world's population problem: just sterilize all women after their first baby. :biggrin:
 
  • #35
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Also, they have made a religious issue out of gay marriage when that is a civil issue. So I disagree.
What do you disagree with - I said ...religion is a weapon of choice by both sides in the political debate. The right tries to achieve a higher moral position with it...
 
  • #36
BobG
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And religion was never meant to be that way. Religion is a misused weapon by those brainwashed or willingly accepting of right-wing ideology.

Sad thing that America has become a dumping-ground of extremists.
Such as those right wing Catholic groups that protest the death penalty?

There's only one religious group that has a strong tie to any particular political party and that's Evangelical Christians.

Not that other religious groups haven't been active politically. It was Baptists upset over paying taxes to support the Congregationalist churches that got separation of church and state in some New England states, for example.

And Protestant churches played a big part in getting the Prohibition amendment passed, while Catholic organizations played a big part in getting the Prohibition amendment repealed. (And before you get the wrong idea, it was progressives that supported prohibition and conservatives that support repeal.)

Giving support for political issues the religion is concerned about is one thing. Wresting some control, even if limited, over a political party is another issue, entirely.
 
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  • #37
Evo
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President John Kennedy made the speech below.

"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the president — should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.... I believe in a president whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed upon him by the nation, nor imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office."
Compared to Rick Perry's words and actions.

When it comes to allies, Perry isn't a bit shy about cultivating some of the more sinister right-wing culture warriors. His event's website formally endorses the statement of faith of the Rev. Don Wildmon's American Family Assn., which has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of its strident anti-gay bigotry. In the late 1980s Wildmon, who is one of this event's personal sponsors, was denounced as an anti-Semite by the president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the head of the Atlanta office of the Anti-Defamation League after he alleged that Jews controlled the film and television industries and consciously laced movies and TV programs with anti-Christian messages.

Perry is hardly the only GOP candidate to troll for votes in these murky waters. Virtually the entire Republican field went to Washington last weekend to court attendees at Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Conference. Sarah Palin, who has written that Kennedy was wrong in his speech, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) both play up their evangelical connections. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum wears his conservative Catholicism so prominently on his sleeve that you'd think he was running for archbishop.
http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/11/opinion/la-oe-0611-rutten-20110611

Many people find what is going on with the religious right a disturbing direction for our country, to say the least.
 
  • #38
Ivan Seeking
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What do you disagree with - I said ...religion is a weapon of choice by both sides in the political debate. The right tries to achieve a higher moral position with it...
Their intent is to:
Deny people liberty and equal rights based on sexual preference.
Impose their personal mythology on public schools as science or equivalent to science
Declare when life begins based on faith and legally impose that belief on all women

This isn't about a higher moral position. This is about control.
 
  • #39
BobG
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Their intent is to:
Declare when life begins based on faith and legally impose that belief on all women
Life or human life or human consciousness?

I think when life begins would be a scientific fact that would be hard to dispute. When that life has some form of consciousness (and is capable of having a soul for the religious) is open to debate and hard to pinpoint scientifically. And, perhaps that difficulty in pinpointing when that life gains human consciousness might be a big reason several religions have shifted to using life, period, as the criteria. (A little bit of an over reaction, in my opinion, since I think it's safe to say human consciousness doesn't occur at conception.)
 
  • #40
Ivan Seeking
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Life or human life or human consciousness?

I think when life begins would be a scientific fact that would be hard to dispute. When that life has some form of consciousness (and is capable of having a soul for the religious) is open to debate and hard to pinpoint scientifically. And, perhaps that difficulty in pinpointing when that life gains human consciousness might be a big reason several religions have shifted to using life, period, as the criteria. (A little bit of an over reaction, in my opinion, since I think it's safe to say human consciousness doesn't occur at conception.)
"When life begins" is classically how it has been phrased - meaning that it has a soul, in the religious context. When we think of this as a person is the next question.

The point is of course that the religious position is driven by faith alone. Yet they wish to impose this belief on everyone else.
 
  • #41
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This isn't about a higher moral position. This is about control.
The higher moral position is intended/assumed to win the argument - and thus control or power - again, where is the disagreement on this? Religion is a weapon used to win the debate.
 
  • #42
CAC1001
Declare when life begins based on faith and legally impose that belief on all women
Both sides go by faith on that issue (although for the Left, not religious faith). There was very little, if anything, scientific about how the SCOTUS decided Roe v Wade.

"When life begins" is classically how it has been phrased - meaning that it has a soul, in the religious context. When we think of this as a person is the next question.

The point is of course that the religious position is driven by faith alone. Yet they wish to impose this belief on everyone else.
Not necessarilly. The strict religious types are against birth control. But there are plenty of pro-life people who are fine with use of birth control. The argument that it is human life at the moment of conception is true. What is not true is that it has human conscience, and thus constitutes being an actual human. An argument often made by pro-choice people is that it is just a "clump of cells" within the womb. This is true for about the first five or six weeks, but after that, is clearly not the case. The first trimester is weeks 1-12, the second trimester weeks 13-27, the third trimeste weeks 28-42 (these trimesters being decided by the justices on the Court). At week five alone, you have a basic beating heart and circulatory system developed. By week 8, you have a more developed heart, webbed fingers and toes, and arms that bend at the elbows (again, first trimester still).

Most pro-life people at this point say it is clearly a child, pro-choice people will differ depending on how far their views lean. Roe v Wade says for the first trimester, states cannot restrict abortion in any way. States can "restrict" abortion during the second trimester in terms of requiring it be done by licensed doctors at licensed medical facilities, but otherwise cannot place undue burden on the woman's choice to have an abortion. Third trimester, the states can restrict abortion, but any restriction must have an exception for the health of the mother. In Doe v Bolton health was defined so broadly that pretty much any reason given for an abortion is considered as requiring an exception for the woman's health, so basically the states were prohibited from restricting abortion in all three trimesters.

This is a baby at 13 weeks: http://www.babycenter.com/fetal-development-images-13-weeks

IMO, I think both sides (pro-life and pro-choice) go to extremes in their views, but both have points as well.
 
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  • #43
Evo
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The higher moral position is intended/assumed to win the argument - and thus control or power - again, where is the disagreement on this? Religion is a weapon used to win the debate.
But when you pit religion against reality, religion loses.

Can we return to the topic?
 
  • #44
CAC1001
Should religion be combined with politics?
Nope. But IMO what society should also watch for are claims that religion is being injected into politics when it isn't necessarilly.

What I also find interesting is how does one address religions that aren't officially religions, such as extreme environmentalism.
 
  • #45
Ivan Seeking
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The higher moral position is intended/assumed to win the argument - and thus control or power - again, where is the disagreement on this? Religion is a weapon used to win the debate.
If it were only a political weapon it wouldn't bother me. So I don't see that as the issue here. If we agree on this then the point seems trivial. The issue is what people intend to do with that power. Liberal don't plan to ban religion, the last time I checked.

By saying it's a weapon, you seem to suggest that is only a political tool, and I don't see it that way. The imposition of religious based laws on everyone else is the goal. Faith based arguments are one means to this end but that is not the concern.
 
  • #46
Ivan Seeking
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Not necessarilly.
Any religious argument here invokes the notion of a soul, which is completely a faith-based argument. I didn't say anything about pro-life generally. As I did say, when we consider this a person, is another matter.
 
  • #47
I assume that any person who is religious is most likely going to make decisions based on that view point just as I assume that any person subscribing to any philosophy is going to make decisions based on that view point.

The root conundrum would seem to be whether or not we require any justifiability for decisions and opinions. If the majority of people think that something is "wrong" do we ask them to justify this opinion or are they allowed to possess their opinion regardless of their ability to justify it? As a practical matter we can not require justification, at least not in politics. People will believe what they believe and make decisions based on this no matter whether its religion they believe in or something else. To actually require justification would be to take away their rights unless they can satisfy whom ever is in charge.

To answer the questions...

"Should religion be combined with politics? Should laws be made according to religious viewpoints?"

It will happen and the only way to stop it is to take people's rights away. I am against taking people's rights away. While I do not consider these to be things which "should" be done I will not say that they "should not" be done.
 
  • #48
Astronuc
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  • #49
MarcoD
But when you pit religion against reality, religion loses.
I am sorry, but this just isn't true. As an example, which is believed by some Jehova Christians and some conservative Islamists, the reason why the western world lives in a 'moral void' is because we worship false idols (rationality/capitalism) instead of the truth as depicted in a book which holds the real Absolute truth, the word of God.

There is no manner in which you can reasonably win a debate against -any- conservative religious person. At best, you can exchange ideas and hope that you're not being lied to.

EDIT: This was overly pessimistic. The best you can do is find a common ground.
 
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  • #50
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But when you pit religion against reality, religion loses.

Can we return to the topic?
My entire post number 39:
"My intent wasn't to derail the thread. As stated, I think religion is a weapon of choice by both sides in the political debate. The right tries to achieve a higher moral position with it and the left typically tries to belittle the right by challenging on the basis of lack of proof. It's a tiresome game that can't be "fixed" - IMO."

Btw Ivan (post number 29) - "But the entire point of doing what's best for the country is to do what's best for the people. And executing people for human weakness, or human nature, is hardly in the interest of the people. And to do so certainly wouldn't be "right" by any standard that I could accept. But then I was raised Catholic, so maybe that's just my former religion speaking. "
Did you just use religion to take a higher moral position?
 

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