In the Middle: Religion and Politics

Jeremy Fugleberg

Jeremy Fugleberg

Religion plays a role in government. If you think it doesn’t, you’re wrong.

It’s impossible to divorce core values from decision making.

It’s impossible for government officials or voters to check their values at the door.

It’s lovely to imagine that a decision could be made by using a cut-and-dried flow chart of options. But logic and reason is more black and white to me than morality and religion.

Our values – good and bad – define us and drive our decisions. Even we ignore them, as we often do, they are the driving force behind who we are.

Sure, it makes things a bit murky. After all, if religion were black and white, there would only be one global belief system. It would be easy to determine what to do.

But that’s not the case. We’re a mixed bag of beliefs.

And in that lies the strength of who we are.

It’s the sheer diversity of what we believe that keeps us going. It’s the patchwork quilt of us that keeps this democracy cozy during the long, cold night.

On the Left, Justin is right to stand on the principle of a state free of the historical tyranny of religion.

But he’s wrong to consign religion to the dust bin of historical symbolism.

On the Right, Dan is right to acknowledge the effect of morality on the laws of the land.

But he’s wrong to think that morality must be the driving force behind what we think about what we do.

Bottom line: Religion has a part to play in politics. But its role is much more of a private than public one.

What is in our hearts must drive what we do. But it must never become what we wish to force on others.

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