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What happens when politics is combined with religion?

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posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 08:49 AM
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I hope this is the right place to post this... I have been thinking.

What happens when politics and religion come together?

We usually understand politics in terms of governments and people running the country. Most people are familiar with Tony Blair and George Bush and we are aware that the public are a part of politics, because once every 4 or 5 years, we vote at elections in order to choose who we want to run the country. So politics is all about the public allowing politicians to be in charge of us by running things like the National Health Service and the Education System for our benefit.

Politicians seek ‘power’, so it makes sense for the public to consider ‘how’ the use their power. In ‘democratic’ countries like Great Britain, we vote to remove governments if we feel that they are overusing their power in order to change things in ways the we do not agree with.

Some countries are not democratic which means that people often take power by ‘force’ or ‘inherit’ power through tradition as in the case of many Kings or Queens. In non-democratic countries, problems can arise if the population starts to disagree with the leaders of those countries. A good example of this is the case of Zimbabwe in Africa. The President there is unpopular at this time and he is keeping his power and control by force using the army and police to arrest or attack people who are unhappy with the President’s decisions. This is an ‘abuse’ of power in a country which says it is democratic but fails to change its leaders even when those leaders are no longer wanted by the majority of the people!


Now, what has any of this got to do with religion?
Well, let’s define religion in the first place. Simply put, religions are ‘belief systems’ which people put their ‘faith’ into, usually in order to live a happy, well behaved and altruistic life.
Also, religion gives ‘meaning’ to many people’s lives in terms of answering questions like.... why do we exist? Or.... where do we come from? So religion is a very powerful force in many people’s lives and has been for thousands of years!

So, ‘power’ is an ingredient in both politics and religion with both having a powerful influence over the way we live our lives. The desire for power naturally leads to ‘competition’ and this takes the form of politicians competing to run countries the way they see ‘fit’ or best. As we said before, in democratic societies, we can remove the politicians if we don’t agree with what they are doing and we can try out a different set of ideas by voting in a different political party to run the country.

But, problems can arise in the world when a particular religion decides that it has the best ideas and rules and puts those rules into practice in the place of elected politicians. Note how Bush referred to the war as a ‘crusade’! Politicians can be ‘pushed out’ and forced to conform to these ways which are usually very traditional and possibly intolerant of other ways of life. The Taliban in Afghanistan is good example of a religious group of people who replaced the politicians’ rules with a set of extreme religious laws which were forced upon the population. So, in effect, the religious leaders mixed both religion and politics in order to satisfy their thirst for power. The took a position where they selected certain ideas from the Koran and interpreted them in a way they saw ‘fit’ to run the country. Example: females not allowed to attend school! The result of these extreme ways of thinking led to war which has unfortunately resulted in widespread terrorism in many parts of the world since. The events known as 9/11 are linked to extreme Islamic ideas about how the world should be run.

It is only a particular version of religious activity that causes a problem when politics and religion mix and this version we call ‘Fundamentalism’. Now, whether we look at Christianity or Islam, we can identify fundamentalist sections within both. We can tell that that they are fundamentalist because they believe in the ideas presented in their holy books ad the ‘traditional’ ideas which should guide the way we live our lives and cannot be changed because they have been given to the world by God himself although written down by man. So they are fundamental ideas which no one has a right to change!

I’ve already mentioned Islamic Fundamentalism by talking about the Taliban but there is a Christian version aswell which is sometimes referred to as the Christian New Right. This movement is powerful in the U.S.A and often has a strong influence on political decisions in that country. The movement rejects ‘changes’ in society such as legal abortion, rights for homosexuals and scientific ideas like ‘The Big Bang ‘ theory on how the world began! So they are ‘looking back’ to old ways of understanding the world and refusing to accept any social changes which contradict the teachings of the bible as they interpret them.

So, religious fundamentalism then is a reaction against the modern period (Modernity) with its new ways of living and new ideas far removed from older ways of thinking about and understanding the world. In order to try to return to the old ways it often uses politics to get its message across and unfortunately this can involve violence as we have seen. Some people believe that the problems between Iraq and the U.S.A are based on religious difference but it is far to complicated to be that simple!
What do you think?
Is religion combined with politics a force for good or a force for evil?


[edit on 26-6-2004 by happyk]

[edit on 26-6-2004 by John bull 1]




posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 08:58 AM
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What happens when politics is combined with Religeon,you get Tony Blair: the Second Coming!

Sorry bad joke there just like TB.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 09:14 AM
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.........thankyou for that............



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 09:32 AM
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I see politics as a mass distraction and Religion as mass control. I think when both are put together bad things happen.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 09:58 AM
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What happens when politics and religion come together?


Simple,,,,,you get a bigger book of laws (dont do this, dont do that) and the penalty is this if you do that etc.
A hopeless and vicious cycle that only leads to destruction in the end.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 02:42 PM
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I'm with Thomas Jefferson on this one:

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes." --Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813

and:

"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1810

There are many other Jeffersonian quotes on this subject as well. Jefferson was a firm believer that the mingling of Church and State was a great evil, and I have to agree. Certainly he was correct in estimating that a religious sect in power will dumb-down science -- as has been proven by the political appointment of Dr. W. David Hager to the Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. As has been noted in another topic, Dr. Hager refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women and claims that PMS can be cured by reading the Bible.

I've found Theocracy Watch to be a good resource in tracking just how -- and how much -- the Religious Right has infiltrated the government of this country. Rep. Henry Waxman's page, Politics & Science, shows the clearly religious bias of the Bush Administration against research on human sexuality issues, which of course includes HIV/AIDS. The Union of Concerned Scientists has also protested the current Administration's suppression of scientific research and findings, though many of these issues involve Bush's buddies in big business rather than religious conviction.

I'm a pagan, but I believe it's a bad idea for ANY religion to impose itself upon the American people via a governmental position or agency. Quite frankly, the stories about Bush meeting with the Apostolic Congress before setting international policy gives me the willies, and raises serious questions about exactly WHO is in control of this country. It's clear the line between Church and State has been deliberately violated, and it seems to be getting worse every day.

In closing, I think it appropriate to quote Millard Filmore:

"I am tolerant of all creeds. Yet if any sect suffered itself to be used for political objects I would meet it by political opposition. In my view church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact. Religion and politics should not be mingled." Millard Fillmore, 1856


[edit on 26-6-2004 by Hecate100]



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:19 PM
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Politicians usually get good, masses back up when it comes to calling themselves church goer and righteous, not only they get the exposure they need for campaign but they also get endorsements.

President Bush, a Methodist who rediscovered his faith as an adult, speaks openly about religion and has been making aggressive pitches not only to evangelical Protestants but also Catholic and Jewish voters.

His campaign recently sought the help of thousands of congregations in Pennsylvania to distribute campaign information and register voters.

www.chron.com...

www.firstthings.com...



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:48 PM
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I do not see much a difference between organized religions and politics. (and note, I am strickly speaking of organized religion here - not spirituality) They both are attempts to establish law, power and rule over people. They both claim to know what is best for everyone else, they both have elete hierarchies that have control over the people and they both claim to be the best form with the right answers. Each have many different variations and structures all claiming to be "the way". They both rely on leaders and followers. They both are never satisfied with their current establishment and seek to grow bigger, and stronger and convert the world to their way. They are both liars and manipulators and controlers that invariably become too big for their britches. They are both full of corruption and end up making a mockary of the very institutions they have established.

Besides, throughout history relion has been the basis of most governments and apperently, still is.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:55 PM
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when they are combined you get totalitarian, and fascist dictatorships.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:55 PM
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If a Christian politician truely tries to do his job in harmony with his religion, only good things can come of it.
It's also about the nature of the religion...
The Islam is not as much about love grace and hope as Christianity is, so politics mixed with the Islamic religion is totally different.


E_T

posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:58 PM
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Religion together with politics doesn't do any good. (at least from these big religions)
History has showed it.

These extreme islamists show that today.

In dark medieval age church used its power to torture and kill people who didn't agree with them and supressed science because those guestioned its power.

And I everyone should know today's example of this already.

[edit on 26-6-2004 by E_T]



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:58 PM
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From the day a new president is elected to the time he is swored in religion plays a role

United States Supreme Court Justice once again ask a President-elect to place his hand upon a Christian Bible and swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. The candidate will end his oath with "so help me God," and mention God somewhere in the inaugural address; prominent clergy will lead the nation in prayer.

Religion is present from day one.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:27 PM
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Yes, but you don't HAVE to take an oath on the Christian Bible to take office. Or to give testimony in court. Personally, I'd love to see a President, Christian or no, refuse to do so on the grounds that it violates the separation of Church and State. Fat chance of that happening, though.


While it can be said that one living in harmony with hir religion can do much good in the political sphere, I believe that the opposite has held true for most of history -- including right here and now. Political power and a religious agenda = tyranny, pure and simple.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:33 PM
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I think that the reason the elected president will not refuse to put his hand in a bible is because it will not look good on the public oppinion. And public oppinion is very important for a politician.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:37 PM
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Originally posted by marg6043
I think that the reason the elected president will not refuse to put his hand in a bible is because it will not look good on the public oppinion. And public oppinion is very important for a politician.


Only near an election. The rest of the time it really doesn't matter what we think - they do what they will.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:41 PM
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That is true, Badkitty,

But it is well known that Clinton refused to attent church during his term in the bases of security reasons.

I don't think he was that religious after all.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:43 PM
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Originally posted by Jakko
If a Christian politician truely tries to do his job in harmony with his religion, only good things can come of it.


I think you are partly right here however, I would say if he is in harmony with the teachings of Jesus, not with his religion, then good will come of it. Jesus teachings were all positive and respectful of humanity, however, the current "religions" that are professing to be followers of Jesus all seem to fall short in their parctice, teachings, dogma and ...politics.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by E_T
In dark medieval age church used its power to torture and kill people who didn't agree with them and supressed science because those guestioned its power.
[edit on 26-6-2004 by E_T]


That had nothing to do with someones desire to do their job in harmony with God and Jesus teachings, it had everything to do with hypocrits seeking power and fortune.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:53 PM
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TextThat had nothing to do with someones desire to do their job in harmony with God and Jesus teachings, it had everything to do with hypocrits seeking power and fortune.


This is true, most politicians appeal to the good will of regular church going Christians to advance in their political careers, this people are been used.

And politicians have not right to do this. Most of them are dirty, deceiving and more evil that the common people think.



posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 04:53 PM
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Amen Jakko! And as far as I'm concerned that is precisely one of the fundamental problems with organized religion. It seems almost every single one gets hijacked by some megalomaniac that turns it into a quest for power rather than a quest for enlightenment.



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