The Role Of Faith In American Government Today

1876 words - 8 pages

The role of religion and faith in politics is topic few want to discuss. As a person that has worked in sales and customer service his entire career it has been drilled into me to avoid the topics of both religion and politics. Combining the two is a recipe for trouble. However, I believe that religious and faith based groups need to be active in forming political parties, electing people that reflect their faith, and in the process affect the laws by which this nation is governed. This is not only for their benefit, but for the benefit of America as a whole.

The Great Experiment known as the United States of America started with a group of revolutionaries standing up against a tyrannical ...view middle of the document...

Their faith was such that the leaders of our revolution believed that it was only because of Divine Providence that we were able to secure victory. In a country that has faith as a pillar of its creation it is imperative that people of faith in general, and members of the Christian and Jewish faiths in particular, remain active in politics and government by trying to elect politicians that reflect their faith, in order to assure that God remains a central figure in the governing of this nation.

People of faith are not the only ones to benefit from the active role of religious and faith based groups in politics and government. Michael Novac included an anecdote by a minister regarding Thomas Jefferson on his way to church. A friend of Mr. Jefferson asked where he was going and upon hearing that Jefferson was on his way to church said, “You going to church Mr. J. You do not believe a word in it.” Jefferson replied, “No nation has ever yet existed or been governed without religion. Nor can be. The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man and I as chief Magistrate of this nation am bound to give it the sanction of my example.” The important thing to note is that in spite of his non belief Jefferson recognised that all members of society benefit from the moral laws given to believers by their God. Even when a portion of the population do not believe the members of the predominant religions in the area are enforced without the need for government stepping in. Just the threat of being shunned by your friends and neighbors is enough to keep most in line.

One of the strongest secular arguments for allowing faith and religion in politics is to read Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson in which he promotes individualism and nonconformity on a truly narcissistic level. Emerson goes so far as to state that, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names very readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it.” He would rather you follow your own moral judgment, no matter how evil, than to follow the accepted moral code of society. If everyone in America followed Emerson’s philosophy in every action then murderers, rapists, and child molesters, as well as corrupt politicians and CEO’s are morally justified in their actions so long as they are following their nature. Unfortunately given American affinity for moral relativism and our reluctance to ever call a person evil, society is looking more and more like the one Emerson dreamed of.

Thankfully there are powerful leaders throughout American history that have looked to their Christian faith for guidance and refused to tolerate laws and policies that violated the principles found in the Bible. Martin Luther King Jr. was one such American. Refused to accept the injustice of segregation in the South. In his fight to win freedom for his people he could have responded to violence...

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