Religion vs. Politics: Where Do We Draw the Line?
March 24th, 2014
Religion vs. Politics: Where Do We Draw the Line?
As the old saying goes, “Never discuss religion and politics”; this has been a common courtesy practice amongst individuals because of the diversity in our culture, but unfortunately this is not always the case when it comes to religious groups and political officials. Keeping separation between the two is imperative in meeting the needs of all political and religious affiliations without restricting the religious freedoms of other faiths. The separation of church and state is vital to not crossing the lines of personal freedoms and acknowledges the various religions as well as the non-religious groups that we have in the United States. On February 26th 2014 Senate Bill 1062 was vetoed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a law that would allow business owners to refuse service to anyone that impeded on their religious beliefs, the largest group to be homosexuals. If this bill had passed it would have allowed any action taken upon a business, for refusing service, to have a legal defense when facing discrimination lawsuits by proving a “sincerely held religious belief” (Nowicki, Sanchez & Rau, 2014). This is an example of how the line between religion and politics could have led to unimaginable consequences on society by discriminating on personal rights and freedoms. “Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value – so is nondiscrimination” (Nowicki, Sanchez & Rau, 2014, para. 3). The quote made by Gov. Brewer is meant to show that religion is always a priority but the line has to be drawn when it leads to segregation of others that do not share the same beliefs. Allowing this type of law based upon religious beliefs that are not shared by all Americans shows that religion cannot be allowed to interfere in politics without discriminating on others who don’t share the same convictions. If someone opens a business and spends their hard earned money into finding a place, ordering merchandise, and hiring workers, then they should have the right to tell someone to leave their establishment right? As a business owner, an individual can tell anyone to leave their business, but discrimination can lead to lawsuits, in which you can be fined, and this could cause you to lose your business or customers depending on the severity of the charges. Choosing a particular group into your establishment and excluding another is segregation, and looking back on the segregation of blacks and whites that ended in the 1960’s, this was a violation of human rights, and a piece of history that should never be repeated, and an example of why religion should not have an involvement in politics. Another example of how religion and politics need to stay separate is the Catholic Church and organizations run by Catholics wanting to take out birth control as a mandated requirement of health care because it is against their religious beliefs to use birth control. In the online article “Supreme Court temporarily allows religious groups not to cover birth control,” Harvard University professor Ashish, Jha (2014) discusses how demand for birth control after the mandated health-care law went into effect, never happened because of the court ruling that catholic groups did not have to cover birth control in their employee health plans (Somashekar, Barnes, & Boorstein, 2014). Allowing churches and church run organizations to mandate whether or not the use of contraceptives are used by their parishioners or employees is a violation of the separation of church and state. It is your right to choose to not take contraceptives if it is for religious convictions or as a personal choice, but making the choice for your employees goes against their personal freedoms. The mandated requirements of the health-care act do not force birth control on individuals...
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