Nothing like a mix of religion and politics to get us going on a Monday morning. I was reading this weekend from “God’s Politics” by Jim Wallis and thought I would share this section with you for discussion.
The politics of God is often not the same as the politics of the people of God. The real question is not whether religious faith should influence a society and its politics, but how.
As the Democratic candidates for president attended religious services during the 2004 election campaign, their worship was tempered by an uncomfortable fact: Churchgoing Americans tend to vote Republican.
An overwhelming majority of Americans consider themselves to be religious. Yet according to a study released in late 2003 by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, people who attend church more than once a week vote Republican by 63 percent to 37 percent; people who seldom or never attend vote Democratic by 62 percent to 38 percent. This was borne out by the 2004 exit polls–people who attend church more than once a week voted 64 percent for President Bush to 35 percent for Senator Kerry; those who never attend voted 62 percent for Kerry to 36 percent for Bush.
This disparity should concern Democrats-if not as a matter of faith, then as a matter of politics. More important, it should concern anyone who cares about the role of religion in public life. By failing to engage Republicans in this debate, the Democrats impoverish us all.
This chapter goes on to detail the two histories of faith based movements in our country’s recent history: The black-led civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s and the Religious Right movement of the 80’s and 90’s. Both advanced their “moral agendas” based in faith and sought to influence the direction of American life and culture.
The Civil Rights Movement operated first and foremost from a morally based and politically independent foundation. The Religious Right Movement sought immediately to gain political power and, in short, it’s desires were to “take over” the Republican party.
So here’s the questions (and I am sure there are more which we will get to).
1) What role, if any, should an individuals faith play in politics?
2) What role, if any, should the church have in politics?