Sunday, 3 October 2010

Religion and Politics

On the telly this morning was the question 'Should religion be kept out of politics?'

I would argue that this is indeed impossible. Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg are Atheists, this is going to affect their decisions whether they are conscious of it or not. Tony Blair was openly Christian, as is George Bush. Did this affect their decision to go to war? Was the claim of bringing stability to the middle east a smokescreen for a holy crusade against the infidels?

Every issue I take on is guided by my beliefs about morality, reality and the truths about the universe, and it was these beliefs that guided me to my chosen political affiliation. Hence the blank stares when I argue that, despite Ashford needing more houses (a view I'm not convinced of anyway) the land doesn't want to be built on, the trees don't want to be chopped down, they should be left alone for their own sake.

My belief is that all things have inherent value, and cannot and should not be judged only on their usefulness to humankind.

The point is that this is my belief and will guide my every move, word and thought so, as a representative of Ashford Green Party and 1014 voters I have a duty to be open about where my decisions and actions come from.

To 'take religion out of politics' would only cause politicians to hide what they believe, with a danger that Atheists would take over, effectively creating a theocracy that those of us with different beliefs will not be able to challenge. No faith should have total control, all should be considered and our representatives have a duty to be open about their beliefs, so we at least know where their moral compass is pointing.



  1. Religion and politics are bound together when a politician has religious beliefs, as you state any other option would involve hiding those beliefs which would be even more dangerous than showing them.

    Blessed be!

  2. Religion is part of politics, and the world, for its faults and failings. Surely though, the issue here is that religiou sbelief is afforded a 'special' untouchable status in politics, that people can believe anything however daft, because their GOD TOLD ME TO, and it is that untouchable status that should be challenged, surely?

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  4. I would tend to disagree. While a respect for religious positions is essential in a democratic society a way to reconcile those differences in the political arena is equally essential
    For instance using your example how, in a pluralist society do reconcile two views
    Belief X that this land does not want to be built on
    Belief Y that this land does want to be built upon
    If religions have equal rights then there is no way to discern between these two values – which is fine until someone needs to decide whether to build houses there.
    If these assertions are based on nothing more than belief then in a plural society there needs to be some way of differentiating between these beliefs. The only method we have so far that seems to work is rational thought.
    While politicians have a right to hold religious views I think it is there duty to make decisions through the rational evaluation of available evidence.

  5. That's fair enough, Tiny (can I call you that?), but the argument is that politicians should be open about their beliefs so we can judge if the decision was made rationally or religiously, not that those two need be mutually exclusive, in fact anyone would argue that their own belief is rational, otherwise, one hopes, they would cease to believe it.

    The rational argument for invading Iraq, to Labour the point, was the WMD. The absence of said weapons brings in the question of what the real motivation might have been: Holy War against the Heathen, security of our oil supply, or a genuine mistake on Blairs part? Admitting to Catholic beliefs after the fact just confuses the matter. Had we known before hand things may have been different. At least G. W. Bush wears his lunacy on his sleeve, as should we all.

  6. I know this comment is about 2 years late, but I must contest your stance. Whilst, I am more than happy for politicians to openly announce their religious beliefs/affiliations, to use a religious belief to justify your political position isn't rational. The only information that should be considered reliable for consideration is that which is supported by evidence and presented in a well rounded and reasoned argument.

    The problem with Iraq is that the invasion was not supported by any evidence but the public were asked to 'believe' Blair's assertion that he knew WMD's were present. If the so called 'intelligence' that was supplied to the Government had actually been opened up to public scrutiny, the whole argument would have fallen through.

    So in conclusion... The only way that any political (and to some extent religious) ideology can be reviewed rationally, is if we rely on evidence.