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Republicans And Christianity: Can A Political Party Own A Religion?

1785 words - 8 pages

Many scholars make the claim that religion and politics are so closely intertwined that it almost impossible to separate the two; the idea that the break in church in state really is not a break, but a bond. If one agrees with that, then which party closely resembles a religious ideal? There must be one party that can make the mass of religious participants happy with their public policy. There are many people that would support the idea that the Republicans as a whole are more supportive of what many religious people want. This is where the phrase of “religious right” comes from. Is it possible for just one political party to hold all the cards when it comes to something as big as ...view middle of the document...

The second reason is that it is easier to point to the other guy as more extreme to median-voters who even somewhat agree with you, as Glaeser (2005) explains.
The evidence that Glaeser (2005) points out shows the connection between religious beliefs and political participation. People who regularly attend religious services are going to be more politically active; this can be verified through many exit polls for major elections. This means that have strong religious convictions are going to make sure that they vote, as well as everyone they know. This means that more and more people are going to be voting based on morals. The moral argument is one that shows people will support the candidate that closely aligns with their own personal beliefs on certain issues. The break in two parties also looks at their platforms as Glaeser (2005) shows. If you look at something like abortion, the Republican platform features that the “right of the unborn child” shall not be hurt, while the Democratic platform focuses on the rights of the mother. These two ideological differences show the way the Republicans start to make Christianity their own.
If you look at the issue from a Christian mindset, you would claim that there is no way a political party could ever have control of a religion. Nederman (1998) points out that to have a Christian republic, social and political institutions would have to be “organic” in nature. This means that everything would be interdependent and connected. Nederman (1998) explains that the structure could be hierarchical but should be characterized by mutual respect and inclusiveness. How does this relate to the bigger issue at hand? Well, Nederman (1998) argues that owning a particular religion by a party cannot be plausible because the system as a whole is not Christian in method. Contemporary politics are not characterized by inclusiveness and mutual respect. While some may point to voting as a method to include the masses, but there are voting laws that hold back portions of the population from voting for various reasons. Nederman would ask the question of how is something meant to be inclusive, truly inclusive if people are left out. This question sits at the entire basis for the argument that no party can claim ownership to a religion.
Amanda Porterfield’s book makes a vastly different argument than Nederman. In her review, Engel (2014) highlights the fact that religion in the early Republic was something of a force that silenced many opponents. Engel even comments on the idea that maybe this force is still in play today, where people are more concerned with their religious duties, than their political role. This corresponds to the information presented by Glaeser, where people are more interested in how politicians feel on religious items than other social issues. The fact that religion is such a large part of elections highlights the suspicion of Mitt Romney and his Mormon religion by many Christian conservatives as...

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