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Should Religious Ministers Be Allowed To Hold Political Office?

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posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 02:52 PM
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www.idebate.org...
Context: Clerics have often come into conflict with political leaders. Their beliefs give them a moral perspective on political life, and they sometimes speak out accordingly. But the correct boundaries between religion and politics are difficult to draw. In theocracies like Iran, clerics wield immense political power. But should clerics, with their spiritual authority over their flock, hold political office in a secular or multicultural state? Could they be impartial enough to represent people who do not share their faith? And would they be independent of the hierarchy within their religion?

I think this is a relevent and timely topic. I'm sure this issue has been hashed out in other threads numerous times, but I want to focus a light on the topic now in a very direct way, and ask the question in a straight-forward manner. The link and the text are from idebate.org. I wanted to provide a framework for the question, and idebate.org seemed the right place to find independent, objective pros and cons for the premise of the question.
The paragraph at the top of the thread is text from their page, and the 2 examples below are from that page as well. I provide them because they are stated well, and set the tone of the debate. There are other pros and cons on the page, and you can read them there.

PROS: Religious clerics could be subject to the authority of a religious hierarchy. Political office holders must be independent and free from outside influence from private persons or organisations. It is unwise to allow such potentially compromised, subordinate individuals to have a role in taking a country’s decisions. Even if they tried to be neutral, allowing them to hold elected office undermines the separation of church and state, which is an important part of many countries' constitutions.

CONS:The independence of the representative is a myth. Political parties instil rigid discipline, forcing politicians to ‘tow the party line’ rather than exercising independent judgement. Parties and individual politicians can also be dependent on special interest lobbies and campaign funds from private sources. Moreover, many clerics do speak out independently of their hierarchical structures, and clerics within political parties may be more willing to vote with their conscience, regardless of the "party line". In any case, we should allow the electorate to make their own judgements about the suitability and independence of particular candidates, and not make a blanket ruling against any ministers of religion from seeking office.

I personally believe in the separation of church and state. I don't feel that anyone with a strong religious agenda will ever honestly represent the interests of people outside of thier own religious group. I don't care that Mitt Romney is a Mormon per se, I just don't want anyone with a religious agenda to be the President of the United States. I feel it is a conflict of interest on a moral level. I believe a secular society is the best kind of society.
Look at how devisive religion is in the political arena here in America, and all over the world, especially in the Middle East. We would be best to keep religious agendas out of American politics.
edit on 10-10-2011 by moonzoo7 because: Spelling Correction




posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 02:57 PM
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reply to post by moonzoo7
 



Religious leaders should not be involved with politics.

No man can serve 2 masters.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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Regardless of their beliefs, to bar them from running for office is religious discrimination.

To boot, ministers from many denominations in Christianity (can't speak for other religions) are very well educated. Along with this education generally comes a good understanding of the history or their religion and a lot of philosophy.

The ministers are the last people you should be worried about; it's the fervent laymen that one should fear.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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Here in the U.S., the liberal argument would have to be the same one used to defend politicians that have gotten themselves into trouble:

"Why not? They're people just like the rest of us."

Meaning we shouldn't place them on pedestals, or expect any more from them than the "regular Joes and Janes".



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:00 PM
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I feel like as a free and constitutional country our public servants should be chosen by the PEOPLE.

Regardless of their faith or other ties, if the people want it they should get it.

The question everyone must ask before YOU want to impose new laws or rules on the PEOPLE is "to what end."

What next will someone like you think is a good reason to not let people serve public office?

It's a bad idea, and not an American idea. Anyone can and should be allowed to run for office, and quite frankly, your idea on this is offensive to freedom loving people.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:02 PM
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Originally posted by moonzoo7
I don't care that Mitt Romney is a Mormon per se, I just don't want anyone with a religious agenda to be the President of the United States. I feel it is a conflict of interest on a moral level. I believe a secular society is the best kind of society.


So, is this laying the foundation for attacks on Romney based on his religion?

Didn't work when they tried it on Kennedy for wanting to be the first catholic president. How did that then, and how does that now even matter?



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:03 PM
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aww that means you have to fire al sharpton

cool count me in.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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I didn't say it should be illegal for them to hold office. I said I think it's a bad idea. I wholeheartedly think that the American people should decide this together. I gave my opinion; I want to hear from our community on the issue. I'm not going to bag on anyone either way.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by centurion1211
Here in the U.S., the liberal argument would have to be the same one used to defend politicians that have gotten themselves into trouble:

"Why not? They're people just like the rest of us."

Meaning we shouldn't place them on pedestals, or expect any more from them than the "regular Joes and Janes".


You couldn't be more wrong, but what would you expect when on assumes?

Pick one. Religion or Government.

Long live separation of church and state.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:08 PM
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reply to post by centurion1211
 


I used Romney as an example because the topic is out there. I'm not endorsing or trying to discredit anyone.
This is an honest question, with no other agenda than to spark some (hopefully) meaningful debate.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by moonzoo7
I didn't say it should be illegal for them to hold office. I said I think it's a bad idea. I wholeheartedly think that the American people should decide this together. I gave my opinion; I want to hear from our community on the issue. I'm not going to bag on anyone either way.


But is Romney really a "cleric"?

If not, and IMO he is not, how does his faith making electing him a "bad idea"?

If that's where you want to go with this, then IMO yours is the real "bad idea" because it would make it a bad idea to elect anyone who goes, or who ever has gone to a church, or synagogue, or mosque, or temple, etc.

That would be disqualifying most of the population ...




posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:15 PM
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Nah, they shouldn't be barred; we don't bar other frauds and liars from public office, after all.

We just need to wise up about bronze-age fairy tales about an angry daddy in the sky who will beat us up for bringing home bad grades.
edit on 10/10/2011 by TheWalkingFox because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by negativenihil

Originally posted by centurion1211
Here in the U.S., the liberal argument would have to be the same one used to defend politicians that have gotten themselves into trouble:

"Why not? They're people just like the rest of us."

Meaning we shouldn't place them on pedestals, or expect any more from them than the "regular Joes and Janes".


You couldn't be more wrong, but what would you expect when on assumes?


Wrong?

Look at all the people supporting Dem Rep. Weiner after he got caught exposing himself online and then lied about it as the perfect example of what I meant. A lot of their support was based on the argument that Weiner was "only human", so should be given a pass.


Pick one. Religion or Government.

Long live separation of church and state.


Instead, long live politicians who can have a faith, but are able to keep that from driving their political agenda.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:25 PM
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did people miss the presidential address when the current potus invoked the name of GOD after he "killed bin laden"

that sure was a seperation of "church and state" or is it always wrong with theirs an R by their names and are MORMONS.

theres a word thats floating around on here used so much starts with and B and sounds like a BIGOT.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:25 PM
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Originally posted by centurion1211
Here in the U.S., the liberal argument would have to be the same one used to defend politicians that have gotten themselves into trouble:

"Why not? They're people just like the rest of us."

Meaning we shouldn't place them on pedestals, or expect any more from them than the "regular Joes and Janes".


To be fair, generally politicians get in trouble for their sexual status, cheating on their wives, or some other thing that generally has nothing to do with politics.

So using this as an example doesn't make sense to me. The difference between the two is this. If a politician is embroiled in some sexual scandal then the only person the politician is affecting is himself.

If a politician is using his station to further his religious agenda, then he could be affecting others too. Including others that may not hold his own views on the world.

In my own personal opinion one should have nothing to do with the other.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by Lovebringer

Originally posted by centurion1211
Here in the U.S., the liberal argument would have to be the same one used to defend politicians that have gotten themselves into trouble:

"Why not? They're people just like the rest of us."

Meaning we shouldn't place them on pedestals, or expect any more from them than the "regular Joes and Janes".


To be fair, generally politicians get in trouble for their sexual status, cheating on their wives, or some other thing that generally has nothing to do with politics.

So using this as an example doesn't make sense to me. The difference between the two is this. If a politician is embroiled in some sexual scandal then the only person the politician is affecting is himself.


False. Anyone in office guilty of these acts also opens themselves up to blackmail - which could end up affecting us all if it affects their votes on issues.


If a politician is using his station to further his religious agenda, then he could be affecting others too. Including others that may not hold his own views on the world.

In my own personal opinion one should have nothing to do with the other.


Agreed. But it seems that the OP was saying that people with a faith - and he used Romney as his example - shouldn't even run for office. As I said before, that would exclude most people.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:35 PM
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reply to post by negativenihil
 


I agree. Separation of church and state. Now if a minister retires, or quits...not much I could say. But don't see how a government official could also be a church official and have that be separation of church and state. Not that it really matters...some of our leaders are more fervent than the ministers who preach to them probably and the whole lot of them suckin you know what's and snorting blow behind the scenes. There is far to much religion driven politics in this country as it is.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:55 PM
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Title 18, Section 242 of US Code would be violated if anyone was barred from public office based on prejudice. All Americans are afforded equal protection under the law and rights of equality in the eyes of the law. If you are a citizen, you can hold public office.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishing of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof:; or abridging the freedom of speech or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

We are guaranteed free exercise of religion. The people vote for the candidates they desire. Exceptions to these guidelines are as follows:

-You apparently can serve as President if you refuse to show your true birth certificate and are in possession of a fake SS number.

-You can get yourself voted in to any office as long as you have the money to hack the voting machines and get away with it. As long as it's not caught until after the election, then you are free. Courts look the other way. The rule is to avoid embarrassment over justice.

-Religion in politics is the least of our worries.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 03:56 PM
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reply to post by centurion1211
 

Please don't put words in my mouth. Finding someone without any religious beliefs at all is unrealistic. I want a leader with a moral compass, and if faith is a integral part of his conscience, so be it.
This is not about Romney, per se, it's about religious influence on our politics, and whether someone with a religious agenda ( that trumps their political agenda ) should be in power. yes, there's a bigotry on ATS, just like there is everywhere else. I see it all the time, but I have thick skin.

Eventually, someone will try to portray the Occupy Wall Street people as "godless" or immoral ( if they haven't already ). I don't trust a hard-core Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, etc., to do anything to represent the rights of the LGBT community, or women who want to maintain their reproductive rights. Their religion would color their policies towards Israel, for example.



posted on Oct, 10 2011 @ 04:12 PM
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reply to post by SuperiorEd
 


Yep, ask George W. Bush about stealing elections, you are correct on that point. The birth certificate issue died a long time ago, by the way, in case you didn't want to accept the facts, er, I mean, in case you didn't notice.
There are a lot of things that are legal which aren't morally correct. I mean, should a guy ( or gal ) who believes in magic underwear or deny the validity of science actually be in control of our nuclear arsenal ( which was created by science, by the way ) ? You can argue all day that gravity doesn't exist. You can say that it's just "God making things stick together", but that doesn't change the fact that gravity exists.



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