Essay about When Politics Meets Religion

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When Politics Meets Religion

Much of the history we are taught in grade school and secondary education is filled with stories upon stories of political movements and uprising. The vast majority of these movements had one or two political leaders at the forefront whose ultimate goals included such things as liberating an oppressed people or reclaiming a status taken from a group of people by an outside force. Leaders of such movements have used a wide range of tactics to gain support for their political agendas, but one particular tactic has been so often used by said leaders that this tactic certainly deserves a closer examination. This tactic is religion. No matter what the nature of the movement may have been, so often we
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For centuries, religion has been a means of uniting a wide array of people under a common belief system. According to Scott McClennen, Dean of Religious Life at Stanford University, religion gives people a sense of identity. Undoubtedly, religion has in some way influenced the lives of us all, whether or not we are a part of a religious group ourselves. The United States has as its motto “In God We Trust.” Numerous schools and universities were founded by religious groups. It is often said that the majority of wars that have taken place have involved some level of religious conflict. For most religions, particularly the three major religions of the world – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam – adhering to the components of the religion requires a level of faith. Perhaps it is this faith that makes religion so important in the lives of its followers. Most often, an individual’s religion sets the standard for his or her moral values. As a direct result of this, the more prevalent religions of a particular society tend to set the moral standards of that society as a whole.

This notion of the value of religion to an individual provides great insight into the implications of a political leader’s use of religion to legitimize his political agenda. In order for a political leader to be successful, he will need a support group. What better way to gain support than by identifying with the very religion with which the majority of the target group identifies?

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