An overview of religion and politics
In comparison with other nations, faith in ten United States has a very high adherence level. In accordance with the first amendment if the United States constitution, the government should not interfere with religious practices in any way. Religion should be free to exercise irrespective of any underlying circumstances.
In contrast with other developed nations, religion has become a crucial aspect in the lives of Americans. It has helped them to make logical decisions as well as considerations in their life (Barber, N. (2012).
To add to this religious diversity, the United States has both imported religion as well as indigenous faiths. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the two core parties differed along ethnic as well as religious grounds.
The northern inhabitants were both the Protestants, Whigs, or republicans, while in the south, most of the Democrats were Catholics. At the end of the 19th century, the population in the south was comprised of white democrats and black republicans.
Composition of the Christian population
Approximately 70% of the entire American population are Christians, while the other 6% of the population is a combination of diverse faiths like Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. It is estimated that 23% of the entire population have no religious affiliations at all (Barber, N. (2012).
However, the extent of faith varies among the people residing in the East and West. While only around 50% entirely adhere to the belief in the western states, approximately 90% of the population in the south are sound believers.
With the foundation of the United States under religious frameworks, the nation has incorporated so many religions hence the name Protestant nation. Nevertheless, most of these religions in the states are politically active, just like the politicians (Barber, N. (2012).
It is sporadic not to hear a politician mention religion in the eve of campaigns. Politics are as important as religion in the country. Without religious backup, getting to an office can become a very tedious process. Thomas Jefferson had to fight his way through the office as a result of his controversial points of view regarding religious activities in the United States.
His writing was more anti-christian from a majority’s point of view, a factor that made him change the theme of his paper from one’s religious believes in accommodating spiritual ethnicity in the United States.
Church and Politics
Although most of the Christians are politicians or governmental employees, religious organisations cannot endorse a candidate since they are not taxable according to the law. However, most of the evangelical Christians are die-hard followers of the Republican Party, while liberal Christians are active followers of the Democratic Party.
Among all the presidents who have reigned in the United States, only John F. Kennedy and Vice President Joe Biden were brought up in families entwined to the Christian Faith (Gallup (2010).
The other presidents came from families with religious affiliations. There were even Quakers in the White House like Herbert Hoover as well as Richard Nixon. Christianity is, therefore, a critical aspect of the politics of the United States. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that most of the elected presidents either had religious affiliations in their entire lives, or they never joined any religious group throughout their life.
During politics, the votes are aimed at the religious groups in the states. Although the voting process is inclined to apolitical party, the fundamentalist religious individuals engage more than the average Americans in political activities.
However, on a closer look, winning in an election is determined more by the societal class than religious ethnicity (Gallup (2010). According to research, socioeconomic variables are the core determinants of who will win in any election.
There is a correlation between poverty and religious beliefs among the poor. They will hence vote for the person whom they feel is religious oriented. George Bush won the Elections due to essential Christian groups.
Separation of the church and state
Sometime in the past, the Federalist Party was closely linked to the congregational church to the extent that after the party collapsed, the church also disestablished itself. In elections of the 1800’s, Federalists critiqued any form of infidelity in the country.
They often argued that Republican candidates were non-religious, including Thomas Jefferson himself. However, the other religious entities like Methodists and Baptists favoured the republican and looked down upon the federalists.
The Baptists were against one of the founding principles and thus disestablished their religious motives. It is with this distinction that Jefferson stated that there should be a wall between the state affairs and the church (Gallup (2010).
This separation arose as a result of the first amendment of the United States constitution, where the state and the church are considered two separate legal entities.
According to the clause, Congress cannot enact any policy focused on any religion in the United States or that prohibits the exercise of particular rights. However, this act does not appear in the United States Constitution at any point (Gallup (2010).
The clause is traced to a particular letter that was written by Thomas Jefferson addressed to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. In the letter, Jefferson exclusively discussed the impacts of free exercise of the initial clause of the constitution and the Establishment clause.
This clause has then been used in the Court of law in the United States. According to Robert, Christians are the main participants in the politics of the United States. Although there are apparent differences between the church and the state, the religious individuals are responsible for influencing their followers towards a targeted political ground.
In his speech in 1967, John F. Kennedy stressed that although he raised the idea of separating faith wiry the state affairs, it did not mean that the crucial matters like politicians taking religious dimensions is forbidden (Gallup (2010).
Old assumptions about Christianity.
For a very long period of time, the researchers, as well as religious gurus, believed that faith and politics are always one direction flow. In earlier years, religion affected politics, and teaching was considered a compelling aspect within society.
As a special force, it influenced how the voters cast their votes. It is with this aspect that Margolis put down in his work From Politics to Pews that most of the people still believe that religion is a factor of an individual’s opinion (Zuckerman, P. (2008).
To many evangelical circles, faith is commonly referred to as a mountain of culture. It is like a shadow in one’s life where all the aspects of life must be aligned to it. From a religious point of view, politics is an idea that is perceived to be downstream or moving downhill.
According to scholars, religion is not a matter of influence, but it is an internal factor that remains unchangeable even in the presence of many fundamental opposing forces.
According to Margolis, religion and politics are so far intertwined that one cannot proceed without the other. In as far much he critiqued religion, it really mattered in people’s lives, and the impact of long-term transitions is essential (Zuckerman, P. (2008).
In healthy lives, a person who was brought up in a religious background, at some point in one’s life, changes occur. As people mature, they fall back from their usual routine of attending to their faiths, and it is at this point in life that the political muscles in the person develop. In as far as ethical decisions are made in life, not all the judgements are purely spiritual.
Political views can also be considered as one of the ethical decisions that people make to improve their life. In the voting process, many of the peopled in the United States, especially the poor and the low in the society, elect their leaders on the basis of their religion.
Making moral decisions on the basis of our needs is what is clearly defining the ethical aspects in society. It is for this reason that many scholars and elites in the organisation look down upon religious groups (Zuckerman, P. (2008).
Moving the mountain
LaBerge is an American who have spent many years researching the relationship that actually exists between religion and politics.
After attending a mainstream church in her village for several years, she ultimately became frustrated by the religious approach towards politics. Politics were viewed as external aspects in society, and those who engaged in politics were considered religious rivals.
Nevertheless, she quitted from the industry as a result of accelerating political agenda, which was pursued by religious denomination (Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2010).
According to recent research done, most of the political liberals in society automatically drop their affiliations in religion since they view it as an extension of politics. According to the study, most adults shy away from their childhood faiths and pursue other essentials in their life.
In a study done in the United States, it was observed that most of the n Democrats electives failed to attend churches after some years of service in the office. As a result of this aspect, most of the republicans familiarised themselves with the conservative Christians.
From this point of view, it is clear that politics are driven by religious aspects in the United States. Since the theological status of most of the inhabitants are still evolving, there is a clear path developing for secular Republicans on the one hand and atheist Democrats on the other (Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2010).
Politics is a hot spot for reputation, and in the current society, status includes the aspects of the individuals in relation to religion. Those who basically unite their voters through worship ultimately make their path into office.
However, there is an emerging trend that outlines the relationship between atheists and Christians. Most of the people have dropped their religious affiliations of late.
Why religion is emphasised in American politics
In the United States of America, politics are far much driven by devotion to a great extent as compared to other nations. In spite of a standard firewall between ten religion and politics, politicians hardly ever give a speech without religious aspects in them.
It is not uncommon to find the president sending spiritual messages to the dispersed, frequently asking the Heavenly Father to bless America, extolling more religious values as well as hosting frequent meetings with religious leaders (Huffington, A. (2010). This nature of religious advocacy is unheard of in other countries.
For instance, in the United Kingdom, political leaders pay very little concern to religion since even their voters are less advocate. However, in America, religion is part and puzzle of the day-to-day life. This is because of the 1970 push by evangelical Christians, where they pushed the political leaders to allow them to take part in religious debates.
The second aspect is that immigrants are subject to religious messages from the conservatives, which are based upon the class lines in the society. In as much as the agendas elevate the living standards of the wealthy, the poor continue to become more miserable, and thus, their voices can no longer be heard.
It is as a result of this religious right that the democrats feel the urge to emphasise their ethical credentials (Huffington, A. (2010). If they do not act promptly, they are risking the chance of losing their immigrant voters, who are the major constituents of their electoral region. Religion is thus apparent in the day-to-day life of Americans.
Research says that the United States went to war in Afghanistan to differentiate between politics and religion while they attempted to unite faith and politics back at home
Barber, N. (2012). Why atheism will replace religion: The triumph of earthly pleasures over pie in the sky. E-book, available here.
Gallup (2010). Religiosity highest in the world’s poorest nations.
Zuckerman, P. (2008). A society without God: What the least religious nations can tell us about contentment. New York: New York University Press.
Wilkinson, R., & Pickett, K. (2010). The spirit level: Why greater equality makes societies stronger. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
Huffington, A. (2010). Third World America. New York: Crown.