Political Influence Of Religion In Politics

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Throughout history, religion has had an influential role in politics; however, the constant political influence of religion has sparked many debates and conflicts and continues to do so today. In the past, the major issue was the establishment of a specific religion by the government. People wondered whether it was more ethical for a country to support one religion or to not support any religion. Over time, this issue has receded as more and more countries have adopted a policy of religious freedom, yet religious freedom has raised all new issues regarding the role of religion in politics. The major questions now pertain to the extent to which personal religious views should influence citizens’ political decisions. In the United States, it …show more content…
Rawls believes in idea that “public reason…allows citizens to base their political views in their religious doctrines, but… that religious reasons are not sufficient justification for those views under some circumstances” (Steinhardt). In other words, people are free to use their religious beliefs to shape their personal political opinions, but they cannot apply these religious views to justify public political decisions. Since the citizens of a democracy have different religious views, Rawls claims that using religious beliefs to justify political decisions is unfair. He believes that the only way to validate a law is to use non-religious reasons that all citizens can potentially agree upon. Rawls’ opinions are used heavily in what authors Eberle and Cuneo describe as the “standard view” of religion in politics. The core idea of the “standard view” is a principle that the authors call the “Doctrine of Religious Restraint”, which states that “a citizen of a liberal democracy may support the implementation of a coercive law L just in case he reasonably believes himself to have a plausible secular justification for L, which he is prepared to offer in political discussion” (Eberle and Cuneo). This statement contains almost exactly the same beliefs as John Rawls as both require non-religious reasons for passing a law. However, Eberle and Cuneo’s idea of the “standard view” has a distinct difference from Rawls’ opinions. In the “standard view”, people can support a law solely because of their religious beliefs as long as they can present a legitimate and convincing secular reason to others. Under the “standard view”, there still must exist a non-religious reason for passing the law, but a citizen does not have to believe in this reason in order to support it. This is a sharp

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