The notion that societies should separate their religions from their politics has been around awhile. For the most part, in countries around the world, it seems that more and more fewer and fewer of their citizens are having any problem with secularism.
That is not the case in the United States and the 2012 election that country is engaged in is a case in point. Faith is mentioned repeatedly by all candidates and for a candidate to win any government position without proclaiming long and hard how deeply rooted their faith is would be a virtual impossibility. Further, it seems that the 'right' kind of faith, the Christian faith, is required.
Politics and Religion: Election mix in U.S.
What other countries, in particular in the West such as Canada and the U.K., are now embracing is that politics can, and should be, conducted without the interference of an institutionalized God. It's a simple enough notion that, again, is hardly new, and it doesn't suggest a lack of respect for faith in a God or a lack of respect for any particular religion. It acknowledges the obvious, that one can believe or not believe, worship or not worship, adhere to one faith or another, and still be an effective and moral human, and politician.
Why do you so many in the U.S., often a leader in the world in accepting new manners of looking at how we co-exist, need their faith entrenched in their political candidates? It may be a secular country officially but not so in practice. Wanting others to respect your beliefs is one thing, but needing them to believe the same thing is another. America joins a list of other countries, many Muslim, as we've recently seen dramatic evidence of in riots surrounding the mock film which cruelly criticizes their faith, that can be said to be intolerant of people of other faiths.
Tea Party: Our faith or else
Even without the recent rise of the Tea Party in America, if Barack Obama or Mitt Romney were to say they did not go to church they would destroy all hope of election. But since the party, lead by Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, religion has made itself more entrenched in American politics. The Tea Party is a homogenized group of uber-Christians, arguably motivated by fear, unable to accept those who not believe as they do. They do not help their country move forward into a modern, pluralistic world, but backwards into a jingoistic and intolerant one.
Faith is not that which makes a man or woman good or not good. The goodness of someone, as simply a human or a politician, is about their degree of care for others, their integrity and sense of fair play, that along with leadership skills, intelligence and grasp of moral, economic and other issues. Can't one excel in any or all of those areas as a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew or member of any faith? Or as an agnostic or atheist?
Any country insisting leaders and politicians be among only one of those categories is increasing their likelihood of not getting the best person for the job and depriving itself of a manner of looking at and doing things that could benefit their society. The best choice is to accept your fellow human and recognize that we all have something to offer.
Unless we show otherwise, we are all worthy of one another's faith.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com