Influence of Religion in Politics

If ever there was a time to examine the role of religion in politics in America, it is now. On the heels of an historic presidential election, in the United States a new mandate has been issued by the American people, and it is a mandate that is steeped perhaps even forged in religious dogma. Ideology is nothing new to politics; however, today the political involvement of the church in what is ostensibly a secular society is changing the agenda of the average conservative ideologue in America. This phenomenon is not an accident. It is, in part, the result of a conscientious effort by the Catholic Church to use its considerable influence to persuade politicians and common citizens alike to adhere to an ideological platform that is more religious than political. This is wrong, and threatens to undermine the very system of open democracy that has, for more than two hundred years, taken as a first principle the separation of church and state.

It has never been easy to neatly maintain a demarcation between the bounds of church and state. Like any other politically minded group, the church has always maintained a natural interest and influence in the political affairs of the American state. When the founding fathers thought it wise to amend the Constitution, the first words of the Bill of Rights (arguably the most eloquent codified testimonial to personal liberty) insist that the "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion". Church mandate is no



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