Politics and Churches

The world of politics and those who get involved are increasing in numbers. In the past churches or at least church leaders never commented about politics but that has changed in recent years. Whether this is something new or something which has been a part of our history we may never really know but the increased activity of our churches I believe is a good thing. Some individuals may not have the same opinion but the point I am making is church leaders have opinions on issues of the day and they have the right to express them.

The world of politics today has countless individuals who are expressing their opinions on issues which are important to them. This sometimes occurs as a result of groups, organizations or as individuals but it is the free expression of their right to let our political leaders or elected officials know how they feel. The same right exists within our church communities. There are many different religious organizations that have various opinions some of which we may not necessarily agree while others we do.

Churches regardless of the denomination or non-denominational philosophy have a group of individuals who come together to hear what church leaders have to say. Today as part of the message political commentary has become the norm rather than the exception. Religious philosophy sometimes has a connection to political issues and as such church leaders express their opinion or at least the opinion of the church regarding specific issues. Connecting politics to churches can come from government decisions and/or regulations which sometimes single out specific religious groups and their philosophy.

Connecting politics and churches is not always an easy task given the coverage between government decisions and churches. Churches have specific religious principles and when those principles are targeted which has occurred in recent events political issues and responses are identified. Politics and churches to some is a violation of separation of church and state principles. To some individuals this may be the case while others feel freely expressing views on political issues of the day is part of our constitutional rights under the Constitution.

Religious views of political candidates does bring the two together and while the religious views of elected officials or those wanting to be elected are important in that it may signal positions on specific issues. The key point I am trying to make is the fact churches and politics have been a part of the political landscape for several presidents. There have been many examples of Presidents or other elected officials entering or leaving churches.

The extent of politics and churches and/or religious principles varies from one administration to another. The religious background of each President has in many cases shaped the decisions that have been made. Whether this is right or wrong depends on the issue involved and whether decisions are made in conformance to the Constitution. Granted there are some issues which are vague in relation to requirements in the Constitution and when this is the case religious philosophy does impact decisions by some Presidents. The main point in this fact is the need to make the right decision for the country regardless of religious principles by which any President believes.

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Comments 34 comments

Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

I appreciate you saying this and agree with your position. The falsehood that church and state must remain separate is too prevalent in society. A simple reading of the First Amendment would clear that up for any thinking person. Morality is the basis of every decision, whether that morality is religious based or not. Those that preach separation of church and state do so because they want to eliminate any morality system that opposes their own.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago Author

Dr. Jerry Allison,

Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting on this hub. I appreciate it.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Interesting points of view. And i do agree that religions do have the right to voice their opinions, but they do not have the right to impose those opinions, or their limited and narrow minded views, into the political arena.

When people try to distort the first amendment regarding religion and politics they try to justify having their own personal religious beliefs being forced onto others inappropriately.

This country was founded on equal rights for every citizen, and the original intent was to prevent undue religious influences on government. Most of those who came to this country did so to escape the negative influences on them by religion and its history of oppressive and repressive behaviors.

Religion and politics can never co-exist in harmony. Government must keep in mind the best interest of all citizens, their safety, god given rights, etc..

Those who are elected to serve the people must be held accountable for trying to impose their personal "religious'' beliefs onto others in the form of law or mandate.

Religions want to mandate their own brand of morality that is generally inappropriate and unrealistic.

If religion has the right to interfere in politics they should be made to pay their fair of taxes, as does any other business. (NO taxation - NO representation).

It is imperative that the separation of church and state be maintained in all respects.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Ah,so you would impose your anti- religious form of morality on everyone? Everything has a basis in morality. The basis of the morality is the difference.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago Author

d.william

The separation of church and state is about the government not imposing a specific religion on the country.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Dr: exactly what is an anti-religious form of morality? Morality is not inclusive of religion. It is a state of mind that differentiates between what is right and what is wrong. We do not need religion to understand that. Frankly we do not need religion for anything of substance.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Dennis: the intent of separation of church and state was to work both ways. The church was to not be allowed to influence political matters, and the government was not to interfere in religious matters.

We seem to be re-writing history in order to further our specific agendas, as indicated by the likes of Palin, Bachmann and Perry to name a few.

There was to be no government funding going to support religions, until Mr. Bush unilaterally changed that policy allowing certain religious entities access to tax payer money. I find this appalling and quite disturbing that those of us who pay taxes are seeing it wasted on businesses that pay no taxes at all.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

D.william, please tell me where the words "separation of church and state" are written in the founding documents. I would like to read it for myself.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Bill of Rights: Amendment 1: '' Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.''

Declaration of Rights Section 16: "That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other."

There is nothing further that states religion has any authority to dictate anything to government.

When they spoke of the "dictates of conscience" this was meant for the individual to decide for himself/herself - not to mandate any kind of religious morality on the general public.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

I appreciate you proving my point but I am saddened that you missed it as well. Congress cannot make a law establishing religion or prohibiting religion's exercise, regardless of the religion. This was put in the Bill of Rights to guarantee there was not a state religion such as England had. And, on the flip side, the founders did want each person to decide right or wrong for his or herself. No one is arguing that point. But there is nothing preventing a person voting, campaigning, or performing any political act based on their religious beliefs. Everyone's religious beliefs (or anti-religious beliefs) are a part of who they are; they cannot be left at the door.

I reread your both of your statements and I believe your position is that religious people want to turn the country into a religious state similar to Moslum countries. While I am sure you did not mean to do for this to happen, that type of statement is very sterotypical and bigoted. I have been around many very consertative evangelical Christians and those who are not so conservative. No one is promoting a religious take over of the country as you fear and to suggest it is laughable. The point of Dennis' article is that religious people are constantly told by politicians and the news media that, because they are religious people, their opinions do not matter, they should not be speaking out, and they should not exercise political power. In other words, religious people do not have the right to speech or the right to vote their conscience. Quite frankly, they are getting tired of it. Religious people understand what you have quoted, that Congress cannot interfer with religion and they have the right to decide for themselves. And they often do collectively.

When a person goes into the voting booth, he/she selects someone that represents their point of view. When anyone is elected, that elected person has been selected because he/she represents the viewpoints of the majority of people voting in the election. If the viewpoints of the majority happen to be based on religion, then so be it. If the viewpionts are not, then so be that. This is the beauty of elections. But to tell a part of the electorate that they should not be part of the electoral process is anti-Constitutional.

Your comment earlier about the elected officials Palin, Bachman, and Perry are vacuous because people really voted for them; they did not steal elections. As you again elequently stated, people should be able to decide for themselves and their voters did. And when the voters in those regions don't like them, they will be voted out. Just because you do not like the outcome does not mean it is unconstituational or a violation of "separation of church and state" (wherever that is found). It seems the real reason that most people scream about separation of church and state is to drive competing ideas and policies from the political arena. By labeling them as "religious", a person can attempt to eliminate those competing ideas from debate.

Incidentally, those fearing a religious takeover of the country can rest assured. The First Amendment, which you so elequently quoted, prohibits that. In order to put the country into some religious takeover, Congress would have to pass laws for the President to sign to make it happen. And even if that happened, all it would take is an appeal to the Supreme Court to easily reverse those laws.

Incidently, you ignored my original question to you, so I will expound more. You obviously have your own brand of morality (or ethics or philosophy, whatever you want to call it). You have quite obviously stated it is wrong for religion to be anywhere in politics. You stated you think it is wrong for corporations to not pay any taxes. You have stated that it is wrong for a politician to advance a conservative agenda. So you have some moral basis for right and wrong, particularly in the political realm. So why should your moral basis be listened to and implemented and not some religious person's?


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

you state: "...nothing preventing a person voting, campaigning, or performing any political act based on their religious beliefs." Unfortunately, this is a truism that should not be. No-one has a right to impose their religious beliefs on others, for any reason.

I see your comments defending religion as just the opposite. Every time i look at the news, or hear some politician trying to justify their attacks on women and/or minorities, they do so in the name of their religious beliefs.

Religion will someday be a thing of the past, and that will be a glorious time for humanity.

you continuously defend religion as if it were actually based on any type of reality. It is so steeped in mysticism, the supernatural, superstitious ignorance and grossly illogical, it is nauseous when people who have discarded it are constantly bombarded by that mentality.

to address your last paragraph concerns: My goal is to present ideas that benefit all of humanity on an equal, logical, and common sense basis. When we interject religion into anything, logic is abandoned in favor of mysticism and all its frivolity.

The idea of everyone paying their fair share of taxes should be a non issue. Corporations who take more than they give back need to be reined in for the benefit of the common good.

Greed is not good in any sense of that word. And neither is superstitious belief.

Mankind must learn to embrace our spirituality without the influence of organized religions that only exploit for profit, promote guilt, hatred and intolerance. Our creator does no reside in any religion.

And perhaps taking over this hub is inappropriate as well. If you want to further discuss any of my beliefs feel free to visit my hub pages and comment ad infinitum. This is not the place to discuss our personal differences in philosophy.


Dennis AuBuchon profile image

Dennis AuBuchon 3 years ago Author

Dr. Jerry Allison,

Thanks for adding your latest comments about my hub and it is much appreciated.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Dennis, You are very welcome! I do not want to wear out my welcome so whenever you wish to stop the debate, please say so. Unless I am mistaken, you are enjoying this as much as I am.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

d.william, I get the idea. You hate organized religion, despise those who practice it, and would deny them access to the political process if you could. Here is how you get what you want. Organize with people who are like minded, elect politicians who are like minded, and get rid of that pesky First Amendment and possibly the Fourteenth Amendment defining the rights of citizens. That will shut up those who are religious. Now, since voter registration is controlled by each state, you then get people in your state to deny the voting registration for anyone with a religious background. In fact, you could organize this for all 50 states. That would get you what you want. Until that happens, these religious people are going to keep talking and keep voting. Even you said they had a right to make up their own mind.

As for taking over this hub, this is the perfect place for this debate. Dennis AuBuchon has had the ability to shut this down at any time. One word from him and I will say thank you and be on my way. But I think he is enjoying this as much as I am. You see, many religious people enjoy the open debate of ideas. They like everyone being involved in the political process because that is their constitutional right. Even for those that are elitists like yourself, who are "enlightened", and would discriminate against the religious at the voting table, the religious people would defend the right for them to be involved in the political process and not try to shut anyone out.

So I have two more questions. Why is organized religion a threat to you personally? And exactly who is trying to impose his or her religious beliefs on you? Please be very specific.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

You have strong opinions but not more valid than mine. The GOP is blocking voting rights in many states. I do not hate organized religion, or anything/anyone else. Organized religions are no threat to me at all. I am quite content with my connection to God without the chains of brainwashing that their members must endure.

I do not deny anyone their rights, especially in voting, but i do object to the religious attempts to influence politics. These are personal beliefs for people like you, that must not be imposed on those who are more spiritually enlightened.

It sounds as if i am the threat to organized religions, not vice versa. There are several states that have rewritten their laws to allow prayer in schools, forbid the teachers from even saying the words "gay" or "homosexual", and completely banning abortions for any reason in spite of Roe vs Wade. When the congress (house) banned the use of the word "uterus" in the chambers, that is going a bit too far, in my humble opinion. Or when the house convened to discuss women's rights and denied female congresswomen entrance to those discussions.

Every day while i watch my favorite shows on t.v. i am inundated with ads for christian dating (pimping of christians? really?), ads condemning a lifestyle that religions have no concept of in reality, political ads that promote bigotry and hatred.

Unless you are of the same mindset it is quite disturbing and unnerving and too influential on children when they see these negatives as OK. I suppose you also think that these kids who flip out and kill others have some justification, or that they somehow were influenced by progressive minded people?

When you make comments in reference to mine, please read mine more carefully, and do not try to paraphrase them to suit your own agendas. These are religious and conservative tactics to dissuade and distract from the facts.

And i do apologize to Dennis for these "debates" on his hub. It is obvious by his response to your comments and lack of response to mine that he is of the same mind set as you. So, i will take leave from this debate as it is never to be resolved when logic is left out of the equation.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Fair enough. If I misquoted you, then I apologize. In your discussions you use very general statements about what is upseting you and I have asked you for specifics. Since you keep repeating the same generalities, I can only assume there are no specifics to discuss. I think we do have some things to agree on, but I need specifics to find where that is and stereotyping me and Dennis is not the way to accomplish that. If you choose not to debate, then I wish you well in your endeavors. If you still wish to, then I will be happy to continue.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

your questions that you consider unanswered are vague and ambiguous and i have answered them but you simply do not like the answers that i provided. You are still looking for too much in your interpretations of what i stated. Try keeping your questions and concerns in your mind and re-read my comments. I cannot give specification when none is due or warranted. You seem to hear the sound of your own voice as ultimately authoritative and cannot seem grasp anything that may diminish your beliefs or views.

Discussions and debates are meant to open lines of communication not persuade the other party to conform to your personal views. I state my concerns, but have no interest in whether you change your mind or not. As i have stated: your views on things have no more validity than mine, so exactly what do you hope to accomplish by continuing?

You will never outwit anyone by reinterpreting their words to justify your own beliefs.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

d.william, you have yet to tell me exactly who and how someone is forcing their beliefs on you. Names and methods, please.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

t.v. ads, laws that mandate morality, laws that continue to legalize discrimination against minorities, women's rights of choice, laws that make physicians felons who perform abortions for any reason, laws that ban contraception for any reason, to name a few - these are all based on religious convictions of the politicians who were instrumental in their introduction to congress. If you want specific bill numbers they can also be given to you, but they are easily accessible to anyone who want to see them by visiting the official web site of congress to see what bills have been introduced, passed, or rejected. How much more detail do you require?

Although these bills may not affect me personally they are obtrusive by their very nature, and having been influence by religion, they are even more insidious. Ignoring these influences on society that affect everyone equally does not diminish the influences they have on society in general.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Ok, let's run with that. So any person not associated with organized religion would agree with you on the issues you have cited, let's use abortion as an instance. An atheist, who is obviously not part of organized religion, would agree with you on the abortion issue. Is that correct? Please correct me if I have this wrong.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

you have it wrong as usual. Abortion for birth control is wrong. But banning ALL abortions for any reason is inappropriate. My logic has nothing to do with religion, but the proposed laws are based on faulty religious beliefs.

Obviously you are deeply steeped in your religious beliefs and you actually condone t.v. ads that state: Use our christian dating site so God can help you get a mate? that is outrageously inane even by centrist Christian standards.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

OK, I am making progress at understanding. You would ban abortions for birth control but keep it legal for other reasons. It that correct? It really does not matter what your reasoning is although I would like to understand it.

As for the tv commercials you keep bringing up, I personally think they are weird and treat them like most other commercials -- mute them. However, regardless of what the commercial is about, I support a free enterprise system and the company's right to purchase advertising. Just because they have a right to speak it does not mean they have a right to be listened to -- and I don't.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

again, you paraphrase incorrectly. The abortion issue should never be part of a political discussion. Is there a clause in our constitution that says murder is illegal? Common sense dictates it is. Such issues do not belong in a political debate especially when they are religiously generated. This also applies to the same sex marriage issues. This is not a political debate issue, it is an attempt at clarification of who has rights and who does not based on religious doctrine. It has nothing to do with the law per se. It is trying to define which basic rights belong to some but not others - or more precisely which basic rights some people do not deserve to have.

I can't seem to make you understand that simple concept.

again, you miss the point. Religion does not need to be advertised at all. And if we condone it as a business right then we must in turn require those businesses to pay their fair share of taxes. Religion should have no more privileges than any other business in this country.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Again, I apologize for my denseness. The way I interpret you first paragraph is that you believe that some people should have more rights than others based on religious beliefs. Those who are religious should not have as many rights as those who are not. Is that correct?

By the way, both of us are learning how to communicate better.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

no one can possibly be as obtuse as you appear to be. Now i believe you are just trying to antagonize me, or to see how far you can push before i lose my temper. Well, you are in for a rude awakening, as i rarely lose my temper. No one with even a minute ability to think and reason could possible have extracted what you did from what i said.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Can you throw any more insults? This is quite funny. I really am trying to understand your thinking. What did I get wrong?


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Those were insults? I thought i was being kind and considerate in pointing out that you methodically misinterpret words of others to induce an air of interpretive sensibility where there can be none.

There is no way that you could have interpreted anything i said to mean i believe that some people should have more rights than others based on religious beliefs. That is not even close to an appropriate interpretation of what i said. i cannot make it any clearer than that without actually being insulting.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

Well, if nothing, you are predictable. It was your statement " It is trying to define which basic rights belong to some but not others - or more precisely which basic rights some people do not deserve to have" that I probably am misinterpreting. There were a lot of pronouns used in that paragraph and I guess I got confused. First, the word "it" I assumed was referring to our conversation. Second, is this statement your position or are you claiming it is mine?


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

that statement was in reference to the congress trying to mandate morality. ''It (congress) is trying to.....''. I guess i could have been more clear. I will try to write more precisely. Sentences are sort of run in together with too many thoughts at once. and i should have prefaced that sentence with: These are not political debate issues, but rather congress's attempt at ....".

My apologies for not being more clear with my thoughts.

The statement was mine, i try not to project my thoughts into someone elses, but not always successful when my mind works faster than my fingers can type.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

I definitely understand that. Writing is an art and being clear while writing is a very difficult thing to do.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

then lets hope we have both gained something from this discussion.


Dr Jerry Allison profile image

Dr Jerry Allison 3 years ago from Mount Olive, NC

I know I have. I looked through the titles of the articles you have written but I have not had a chance to read any. Based on that cursory glance, there are some things we might agree on.


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

thanks and i, too, have learned something: to be explicit when making comments. I will look forward to your critique of my articles.


Aunt Jimi profile image

Aunt Jimi 3 years ago from The reddest of the Red states!

There is a reason why the Founding Fathers wanted to establish a country without a king or a pope. Read your history. When the two are combined they are often an instrument of oppression and torture of the people they govern.

Religious organizations shall not promote or involve themselves in political issues or by backing any particular candidate if they wish to enjoy a tax free status. I say, let the religious groups/churches involve themselves as deeply as they wish in politics and tax the crap out of them!

Given the many religions represented in the U.S. and the many different ways people interpret these doctrines, sometimes not even in agreement with other people of the same denomination and beliefs, it would sure make for interesting times if we included religion with government wouldn't it?

Would it please you if we brought back the Inquisition? I say yes, bring it back and start with bankers, and Conservatives!

Should we all be forced to comply with whatever religious doctrine a sitting president believes in? Or whatever religious doctrine the majority political party espouses? Would the required religious beliefs and practices change every time a new president was elected, or a different political party became the majority?

I dislike the idea of forcing a particular religious belief onto people. I know mine is infallible and correct, but even so, I think God prefers that people come to Him out of love, and in faith, rather than being herded to Him with cattle prodders or by other means, fearing for their own lives and the lives of their loved ones if they refuse.

I like the division of church and state. I think it protects people generally from zealots of any particular religion who would in fact, and who have in fact historically tortured anyone who would not publicly accept and embrace a particular religion and belief.

It seems to me that our government has a fine time trying to manage what it already has jurisdiction over, and to ask it to referee religion on top of all it is already failing to do is merely asking for more chaos and disfunction and misery.

History already has excellent examples of what happens when religion and politics mix. It is called tyranny. Must that lesson be taught still again?

Voted up for being controversial and therefore appealing. Will share.

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