Friday, February 01, 2008

I disagreed with Thought For The Day on Radio 4 this morning. The guy was talking about how good the separation of religion and politics was in America, that religion should stick with moral issues. It strikes me it’s that kind of imbecility which leads to a nation of upright people and in particular a large number of Christians voting for someone who lines the pockets of the rich and murders 500,000 Iraqis. If politics isn’t about moral issues, what is? Whoever the speaker was they said that faith and politics getting together was always a bad thing. Well, this is what I say. Martin Luther King. End of argument.

More seriously, I guess the point is that involving religion in politics gives it a lot more potential to affect people’s lives, so the real conclusion is that getting the right kind of religion involved in politics is a good thing and getting the wrong kind involved is a disaster. But of course one can’t admit that without admitting that there are right and wrong kinds of religion.


Blogger Martin said...


I think that there are perhaps different ways that religion and state can be linked.

a) institutionally, in the sense that the Church of England has some ties with our government/monarch. (bishops rubber stamped by goverment/monarch, monarchs crowned church, bishops in the House of Lords)

b) through a party who takes a particular religious line

c) via individual political candidates, who's religious conscience affects the way they debate and vote on policies

d) through ordinary people voting for parties on principles matching their important religious principles, and writing to and debating with politicians on these matters.

e) through the church leaders, or groups from the church discussing, airing views, taking action or protesting.

There can of course be many combinations of these, and there may be some I've missed. It is good to acknowledge that even if the first does not exist, the others may.

And of course these various links may be good or bad, depending on the circumstance, and in a way on what leads what. And of course, you have to ask, is the church telling government what to do, or the government telling the church what to do?

1:18 PM  

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