Lawmakers, Religion, & Politics

Sarah Bowman

Sarah Bowman, Secular Humanist, atheist, studied theology, social work, some philosophy, anthropology

 

How has religion affected politics? This could be taken at least two ways.

  1. What happens when politicians allow their religious convictions to motivate lawmaking?
  2. What is the relationship between a politician’s religion and lawmaking practices?

Let’s look at Number 2 first. For some people, religion embodies their very values. A persons’ values dictate his/her behaviour. For example, if a politician believes that supporting abortion will cause him/her to spend eternity in hell separated from God (which is the worst possible existence the person can imagine), that politician may well introduce a special Bill into parliament (or Senate or whatever is the process in a given country) to outlaw abortion.

Now let’s look at Number 1 above. Suppose our imaginary politician introduced a special Bill to outlaw abortion and the Bill passed into law. Unwanted pregnancies would continue to happen. They always have and always will. Ridding the female body of unwanted pregnancy—abortion—suddenly becomes a legal issue, just like it has been for so much of Western history. (I am unfamiliar with the history of other parts of the world and will therefore not comment on it.) There will be more unwanted births, more unwanted and abused children, more unemployment problems once these kids grow up, more crowded jails, the list goes on. Of course, there will also be more white babies for childless couples to adopt.

Anyway, this is not a thread on abortion so let’s stay on topic. This is a thread on what happens when politicians use their religious values to make laws. We could use any other issue and likewise outline the pros and cons. It’s the stuff of novels. The thing is, it’s also the stuff and deep concern in real life. However, WordPress is an international forum, and each country has its own politics based on history, cultural values, and ethics. This is not a political thread. I think I will leave it at this for now and trust readers for constructive discussion. Thank you!

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