This election has caused many to question the role of religion within American politics. Some believe that separation of church and state is being violated by people who make moral decisions based on their faith. They feel that religion is irrational and unreasonable. This view of religion in politics is completely false.
The first thing that everyone should remember is that religious people are not forced into religious beliefs.
In this day with modern means of distributing information, there is no reason for anyone to stick with whatever faith he or she was brought up in and usually when that faith is forced on someone, he or she rebels against it later in life.
So, far from being a controlling force over people, religion becomes a means to fully express what someone already believes and a means to know more about life and live it more fully.
This is why I would want people to vote based on what their religion is. They have freely chosen it and it is part of who they are. If people cannot make public decisions based on their religion then certain beliefs are being oppressed.
Still, some say that this overt attempt to impose morals on society is a violation of the separation of church and state. This is untrue because all “the separation of church and state” means is that the state will not endorse any religion. If the majority of elected officials just happen to be conservative Christian types and they all vote based on their morals, then it is just as legal as voting for other reasons.
However, some may say, religion is superstitious and obviously wrong. They would then go on to say that there is no reason to ever be against what people do in privacy since it has nothing to do with another person.
So, gay marriage and abortion are perfectly acceptable and how dare anyone say these choices are wrong. I feel this is less of a function of rational thought than pure blindness to how these decisions would affect society.
I am not just against abortion and gay marriage because my religion tells me to be. Abortion is far from being a miracle that alleviates women from the pains of raising unwanted children. Every year it kills more people than all 12 wars America has ever fought combined. It is an abuse toward women in terms of guilt and physical-emotional damage, and ultimately it is men who do not want to be tied down to children who win.
Gay marriage cannot even be granted by the state because, at least in western culture, marriage is a religious notion. Therefore, only a religious body can grant a marriage.
All a government can give two people is a civil union based on a contractual agreement dealing with monetary responsibilities and legal rights.
A marriage assumes that there is a couple that can and will reproduce and that the two people involved will be completely devoted to loving and honoring each other.
The state cannot grant this because marriage is not owned by the state. So, if the state starts granting marriages, then that would mean the state is enforcing a religious belief.
These, in short, are my rational arguments for anyone who ever wanted to know why anyone without religious beliefs would be against abortion or gay marriage. My faith helped me to come to these conclusions but it in no way bound me to them.
Another misconception is that it is mostly/only right wing Christians voted for Bush and against gay marriage.
Being that 60 million people voted for the president and that gay marriage was voted against in every single state where it was on the ballot, including Oregon which voted Democrat, either there are many more Christian Evangelicals in America than I ever dreamed or more than just them voted for Bush. This shows the universality of moral issues beyond the scope of just one point of view of faith.
Overall, this strange backlash against religion displays nothing more than a fear of religion. To someone without any faith in general, religion seems like a weird thing: people do things sometimes without completely thinking out why and a lot of times they do not even live up to their own morals. Sometimes it seems that people have absolutely no reason to believe what they do.
But, since the grand majority of people think and act like this, the best thing skeptics can do for themselves is try their best to understand why people have religious faith.
So, I suggest to all of those people who are very scared of a giant religious invasion of a formerly free America that they should try to find a religious person who is not a bigot or a hypocrite and knows his or her faith well enough to explain it.
Try talking to this person and try to get deep into understanding why he or she believes in the invisible. Even if you do not agree, you just might understand from where these people come.
Once you do that, you may realize that there is very little to fear from religion.