Do People of Faith Have to Leave Their Religion at the Door When Entering Public Life?

In: Religion Topics

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What is the role of faith and religion in the liberal political culture of the United States where citizens in theory play a significant role in the formulation of public policies? Some would argue that the United States is a Christian nation, and as such, faith and religion has a central place at the messy table of politics. Moreover, some would argue that the United States is an exceptional nation because of the blessing of having enlightened founders. In addition, American democratic principles are universal, thus religious followers, clergy and institutions ought to be directly involved in political affairs. Others would caution too heavy of a reliance on faith and religion in politics, the manipulation of Christian symbols and beliefs by religious leaders as well as civic leaders for political gain should be a warning to liberals. Moral panics, President Kennedy having to defend his religious faith to potential voters, the symbolic role of “cheap grace” are illustrative of the nightmarish influence of religion on American political culture. Finally, the messianic impulse that often drives American politics has the potential of destroying the fabric of the nation. What do you think?

Do people of faith have to leave their religion at the door when entering public life?

Everyone knows that it is impolite to argue religion or politics with strangers and dangerous to do so with friends. These topics are treated with such delicacy because they evoke strong passions; men and women have been known to discuss debate, argue, organize, demonstrate, resist, fight, and kill – or be killed – on behalf of their religious or political beliefs.
The growth of religious controversy around the globe has also reverberated in American political life. The collapse of European Communism in the 1990s often stimulated by the uprisings of religious groups, and left a…...

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