Religion and politics

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Does anyone here think that, a similar situation between politics and faith to turkey’s where, they are [meant to be] kept completely separate, should be struck up in your own country. I felt this quite strongly yesterday when I saw a politician saying that something was evil, and supported by satan, or some similar thing where her main argument was the christian faith. It appalled me frankly and I was wondering if many people agree that politics and religion should be kept separate.

 
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Religion and politics are supposed to be kept separate in most countries I believe. The only exceptions are theocracies such as Islamic republics (Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.) which I think are run according to Sharia Law as laid out in the Qu’ran, and I suppose Vatican City if you consider that a country.

But yes, religion and politics should be kept separate. The duty of a government should be to bring the greatest happiness to the greatest number of its citzens and to ensure them their human rights, and I don’t think this is served by allowing superstition to govern how you run a country.

 
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But yes, religion and politics should be kept separate.

You really think this is a given? We’re taught that it is true in the US (among other countries I assume…is the UK explicit about this separation?), and while I like the policy, I don’t know that it’s fully justified.

A government, in general, must make laws. Laws are based on some sort of rules that we believe society should operate by. Why is it necessary that these rules, these guidelines, must be derived from a secular source? In a country where everyone is of the same religion, it makes perfect sense for the government to be heavily influenced by religion. Only in countries where there is a mixture of belief systems is this really a problem.

 
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However, every single country in the world has a mixture of belief systems – especially since no two people share the exact same interpretation of their religion.

 
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I wouldn’t claim every country has a great variety in its beleif systems, and I wouldn’t say most peoples interpretations of their religion would differ too much on what you can and cannot do, but the points you make are mostly valid, Einar.

 
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But religion is the cause, or at least one of the justifications, for many really really terrible things. Also I don’t like being taught a belief is true. My primary school head teacher tried to do this to the whole school, luckily I was old enough to get past her patronizing conversion. in my experience religion+power=bad stuff [terrorism, war, genocide, discrimination].

 
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I think we have to be fair, here. Religion has done a lot of good too (great works of art/music, charitable work, increased happiness and healing for believers, etc.), and non-religious groups have done some bad stuff too. You are taught beliefs are true all the time. The scientific community believes that the model of the atom involves a nucleus with electrons in layered orbits around the outside, but that certainly wasn’t always the case. Beliefs without evidence are more of a problem, and in the case of Christianity you have to decide whether or not you consider the Bible to be sufficient evidence. No, a school teacher shouldn’t be preaching religion in class, but we’re taught to believe many things every day that we only think are true.

 
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>is the UK explicit about this separation?

Honestly I couldn’t tell you confidentally whether Blair was Christian or not… it’s just not a part of the electoral campaigns as it is in the US. Compared to recent history I’d say it’s more about policy in general, not that we don’t have a certain amount of mudslinging. I’d say overt conservative religious convictions would be a major vote loser overall.

 
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In the Uk religion doesn’t play as large a part in politics as it does in the US, but there are no legal bars restricting it from doing so either.
The church of England, for example, has a couple of traditional seats in the house of Lords. Seats which always belong to their bishops.
Politicians are not shy of proclaiming their religious affiliations or lack of them, but they don’t shout about it either, as it’s usually seen as irrelevant. It only comes up when they wish to use it to justify something, such as alterations in the abortion laws to cite a recent example.

During his Prime Minister…-ship Tony Blair converted from protestant to catholic. And… no one much cared. It was mentioned in the news for a week or two, and then dropped.

More locally to me, in Northern Ireland, religion and politics are intimately linked. There being two main factions in the country. One half was the protestant “unionist” population that wanted Northern Ireland to remain a part of the united kingdom, and the other half was the catholic “nationalist” population that wanted it to split from the UK and join with the republic of Ireland to for a single united Ireland. It’s not a pretty sight.

 
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“I think we have to be fair, here. Religion has done a lot of good too (great works of art/music, charitable work, increased happiness and healing for believers, etc.), and non-religious groups have done some bad stuff too.”

Just to clarify Phoenix great works of art and music were usually funnded by the Church as it had all the money, from the backs of the poor to do so (not much has changed today). Also more people have died in the name of religon than for any other cause, religon has no place in Government as it adds bias at best.

 
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He didn’t say religion had a place in gouverment, he said that it had also done good things.

Wich it has, and continiues to do.
If people had not died in the name of religion, then they would have died in the name of something else. Many a man has used religion, amongst other things, to have his way.
Perhaps he wanted a name in history (like a certain pope calling for a crusade), or perhaps he was motivated by greed. For those ambitious enough any means will justify their ends, and religion undoubtedly can be used as a means to an end.

 
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RennBoy: Also more people have died in the name of religon than for any other cause, religon has no place in Government as it adds bias at best.

I see this claim made all over the place. Has anyone actually ever done a study to justify this?

In fact, here’s an editorial that claims it’s false, citing Genghis Khan, the Huns, Goths, Vikings, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and Stalin as but a smattering of examples of mass killing with little-to-no religious reason.

 
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Much of the killing in WWII had explicit religious motivations. See holocaust.

As for the rest, well there are more people now than there were previously, so modern wars simply have large manpower bases to attack. That massively skews the data.

Genocides are nothing new, just the size of the populations involved.

 
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The Holocaust had nothing to do with religion other than the fact that the victims were Jewish (and also communists, homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally handicapped if you broaden the definition). Hitler didn’t have them killed for his own religious reasons, he capitalised on and whipped up anti-semitism to get the German people behind him, and then took their money and power for himself.

And I’d hardly put Genghis Khan, the Huns, the Goths, and the Vikings under ‘modern wars’.

 
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I’m fine if a politician is religious, and avoiding the combination of politics and religion seems nearly impossible. The only real thing that bothers me is, I’ve noticed the more extreme a person is, the less tolerant they are (and this applies to atheists, as well.) Films like “Jesus Camp” really hammer in the fact that there are people who, if they got elected, would remove stuff like freedom of religion. =P

 
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They were killed because of the long lingering hatred and distrust of Jews in Europe, especially after it was promoted so strongly by the followers of martin Luther.
Whether you think Hitler merely use that hatred as a tool for power, or really hated them himself, it changes nothing of the fact that the cause of the hate was religious.

I wasn’t referring to wars of Genghis Khan as a modern war, or any of those others. I was talking about WWI and WWII, and things from around that time to now.

 
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Films like “Jesus Camp” really hammer in the fact that there are people who, if they got elected, would remove stuff like freedom of religion.

Maybe they would want to, but it would take an amendment to the constitution to actually change that in the US, and that would never go through despite who is elected into office.

Redem: Ok, let’s assume for a second that we give you the Jews of the Holocaust as a religious killing (which no, I don’t buy, but just for the sake of argument). I still don’t think you’re anywhere close to the secular death toll.

 
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Phoenix: There is a difference between killings perpetrated by secular people and secular killings. Does a Christian killing someone automatically become a Christian killing?

The amount of people killed for the ideals of secularism itself is tiny, I certainly haven’t heard of anyone being killed for atheism.

 
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It will happen when the westboro baptist church pulls its next stunt. :(

 
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Navarre: Phoenix: There is a difference between killings perpetrated by secular people and secular killings. Does a Christian killing someone automatically become a Christian killing?

Of course not, and I think I was arguing that it wouldn’t. Perhaps I misspoke? Or am I misunderstanding your point?

 
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Then what is the secular death toll?

 
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The Holocaust had nothing to do with religion other than the fact that the victims were Jewish (and also communists, homosexuals, gypsies, and the mentally handicapped if you broaden the definition). Hitler didn’t have them killed for his own religious reasons, he capitalised on and whipped up anti-semitism to get the German people behind him, and then took their money and power for himself.

You’ve made the point for the other argument right there. Hitler used anti-semitism to get support, which primarily stems from the view that Jews are ‘Christ-Killers’, although there are other, smaller, reasons. Hitler regularly used Christianity to manipulate people and to get their support. It is a lot less likely that without these religious beliefs, the holocaust could have happened on a scale anywhere near the numbers that we know of.

 
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Perhaps I sabotaged my argument though a poorly-chosen made-up-term. By secular death toll, I meant the number of people primarily for non-religious reasons. The original claim was that more people have been killed “in the name of religion” than for any other reason, and I’m trying to refute that.

 
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While I’d say that more have been killed without the inspiration of religion than with it, I’m not sure if there’s an individual reason that more people have been killed for than religion. Unless you mean like ‘lust for power’ or something?

 
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Hmm – that’s a decent point, though I think “lust for power/land/wealth” (i.e. growing an empire, conquering nations, etc.) would put up a good fight. However, I find it to be a trick of words at that point if we have many more deaths for secular reasons, but they happen to be varied so people try imply most deaths are caused by religion.

Of course, religion certainly did (and does) kill many people, so it’s not an entirely invalid point. I saw a great bumper sticker the other day: “When Jesus said ‘Love thy neighbor’, I think he probably meant ’Don’t kill him.’”