Inclusion Of Religion In Public Policy Analysis

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One of the most contentious debates of modern times is whether religious beliefs should be included as a basis of evaluating and implementing public policy. While modernization and secularization are seen as signs of progress and development, adherence to religion or involving religious beliefs is seen as backward, primitive, outdated and irrelevant to the workings of the political system by many. This is based on the idea of linear development and that total secularism and abandonment of religion in the public sphere are the epitome of development. On the other hand, others find the secular modern world to be alienating and void of meaning and hold on to their religion for a sense of identity, morality and community. They also argue that …show more content…
The first argument for the inclusion of religion and politics is the solid empirical evidence that religion is a road for liberation and furthering of right as demonstrated by the Civil Rights Movement in the US or the different liberation movements in colonial states whether in Latin America, Africa or Asia. This counters the secularists argument that the law treats everyone equally and that the constitution is the epitome of justice. Time and again, the constitution proved to be grounds for discrimination such as in Slavery and Jim Crow segregation in the US, or the illegality of same-sex marriage in most countries around the world until very …show more content…
For example, many of the ideas about religion in the middle ages ushered in the Enlightenment and were part of its core values. The works of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas on justice and dignity play a major role in the development of the concept of human rights with the focus on equality and justice in the Enlightenment period (Charlton and Barker 326). The final, and strongest, argument Charlton and Barker present is that religion has to be a part of public policy in a liberal democracy because a healthy democratic regime is only sustained through plurality of arguments and positions. This entails the involvement of religious arguments alongside other interest groups and social movements that make their arguments heard as constituents in hopes of affecting the policy making process to achieve the ideal society they wish to live in. This is also aided by the capability of churches and other religious institutions to mobilize their members based on the belief that “the church is one of the few institutions that the people — in a communal sense— own and control” (Stith 154). This would ensure the involvement of citizens in politics which is characteristic of a healthy democracy and keeps the government constantly in

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