The Instigator
Michael-X
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
THEBOMB
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Religion does indeed have a place in politics

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
THEBOMB
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,958 times Debate No: 20662
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
Votes (5)

 

Michael-X

Pro

The United States is well known for its Constitution that established the freedom of religion and prohibiting the establishment of a state church. Many people say that this means that there should be a total separation between politics and religion. I will argue that it is morally acceptable for individuals to make political decisions based on their religious beliefs and furthermore, that a complete separation of church and state is impossible.

--This debate applies to American politics--

Round 1 is acceptance.
THEBOMB

Con

Alright, I accept this challenge. Fire away!
Debate Round No. 1
Michael-X

Pro

Thank you for taking the argument, lets have some fun. If you want my sources, feel free to ask.

First we need to consider what part religion has played in the creation of our nation. I accept the fact that mot of the founding fathers were NOT Christian. Thomas Jefferson himself wrote a bible that didn't even consider Jesus as the savior. What needs to be considered is the fact that most states had established religions that did have an affect on the drafting of the Articles of Confederation and ultimately the Constitution itself. Americans have grown up reciting the document that outlines their right however this document was ratified by states with religious ideals in mind. It is hard to deny the fact that religion has a place in America's history. Furthermore the US has been raised on the ideals that the religions have set. For example, the puritans (Christians altogether) have the idea set in their minds that they have to propagate their religion and spread it to the corners of the earth. This idea of spreading our brand of morality can be seen in multiple foreign relations episodes. Here are a few just for an example; manifest destiny, forming of "The League of Nations" after World War I, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, the Cold War, and so on. In addition the ideals of the original settlers still have an impact in popular politics (abortion, legal homosexual partnerships) even today. Important questions are often answered with religious biases and these biases are nearly impossible to ignore.

A major question that must be asked is this; "What role should religion have in politics?" The first conclusion that people jump to is that it should have none at all. People should not vote based on religion nor should religious groups be allowed to petition government officials in order to promote religious based legislation. There has been a general disgust with the LDS churches in Utah for spending money on lobbying in California against gay marriage.

Lets examine the two statements. First is the statement that individuals should not vote based on their religion. What are the most influential things in a person's life? Their parents? Their friends? Teachers? Many people who hold religious beliefs would say that their church or their pastor has been their influence. When a person is raised on a certain morality, should the vehicle of learning said morality matter? I don't believe so. Religious people have a morality in place due to their religion and this morality will show in all their decisions. Decisions including who or what to vote for. Even politicians who truly have religious beliefs are subject to the morality that is so imprinted in their minds. Maybe the government should just ignore religious people. Maybe if you hold office in a church you should not be considered within the government. This seems to be the only answer to getting religion out of politics 100%. However if you support this idea you need to consider the 1960's. Two of the most influential African Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were religious leaders. What would have happened if the government just ignored them? The influence these religious men had on American society was pivotal to forming the nation we have today. We can not tell people to not vote based on their morality nor would the Constitution allow a ban on voting based on religion. The individual person's right to believe whatever they want will always affect their voting, especially for religious people.

Individuals are impossible to remove from the democratic system so let's inspect the religious groups or organizations that partake in politics. I believe that these groups are also impossible to avoid. Consider this; the NAACP is lobbying to get a bill passed. No big deal, right? What happens when I substitute the group in the statement? The LDS Church is lobbying. Why does this offend people? Is it because the LDS is pushing their religion on others? Maybe we don't allow the LDS to lobby. What then? Then the people who care about the issue in the first place will form another group. This time the group will be something else like "Concerned citizens for banning gay marriage". The CCBGM is still a group lobbying for the same ideals due to the religious affiliation of the people in the organization, the only difference is the name. At this point we may disagree with what the CCBGM is lobbying against and we may know why they lobby against it but we can not discriminate against them because of how they got their morality. If the NAACP has a right to "push their beliefs" on others, why shouldn't the LDS Church?Since religion is such a major part in the lives of so many Americans I believe that it is morally permissible for religion to have a small influence in politics.

For the reasons stated above I believe that it is impossible to dismiss religion from politics. I support a secular government but as long as we give the individual the right to choose their religion, we will have a government influenced by religion.
THEBOMB

Con

I thank my opponent and will now begin.

Definition:

Politics: "the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments" (1)

Now I shall begin.

C1. The United States is secular

The Constitution set up the United States government such that no religious organization would influence internal governmental affairs.

a) "Separation of Church and State"

Thomas Jefferson first coined this term in 1807 in his letter to the Danbury Bishops. In this one term, he expressed what the intent and purpose of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It was not until 1878 that the Jeffersonian concept of "separation of Church and State" became reality.

i) Reynolds v. United States 98 U.S. 145 (1878)

Within this case, the United States Supreme Court (the final arbitrator of what is constitutional or not) examined the religious history of the United States. Determining that while the Constitution does protect religion it does not defined what religion is. They had to search deeper. "The court found that the leaders in advocating and formulating the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Quoting the "separation" paragraph from Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists, the court concluded that, "coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured." (2) The Supreme Court affirmed Jeffersonian thinking for the first time.

ii) Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)

In this 5-4 decision, the 9 justices agreed on one thing. "The clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State." (3) The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that there should be a impassable wall between politics and religion.

b) The Constitution is a completely secular document.

The Constitution was written to set up the United States government. There is only one place where religion is directly seen in the original text of the Constitution and that is in Article 6 "[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." As you can see, the clause "means that no public position can be required to be held by any one of any religious denomination. It would be unconstitutional for there to be a requirement that the President by Lutheran, or even for the mayor of a small town to be Christian." This shows the framers did not want any one religion dominating the United States. In fact, James Madison even noted that "Religion itself may become a motive to persecution and oppression". The framers wanted to keep religion out of the government and thus out of politics.

Now I shall use my remaining time for rebuttals.

C1. Religion in creating the United States

States may have had established religions, but, the states played no direct role in drafting the Constitution. That was left in the hands of representatives who created a secular government. No matter what they believed the government was created to be secular. Thus, politics were meant to be secular according to the Constitution. Religion has no place in politics.

a) The puritans and the other things you stated

All religions believe that they should "spread it to the corners of the earth". This Puritan idea did not impact American decision making. The manifest destiny was the spreading of the United States from East to West. This was purely for economic gain. The "League of Nations", the precursor to the United Nations, was meant to attempt to prevent another world war. (It obviously failed). Iraqi Freedom...this was to depose Saddam Hussein because he "supported" al qaeda and "find" WMDs. The Cold War when you have to huge superpowers with conflicting ideologies they are going to fight. Furthermore, religious ideals cannot affect the actual law making and the laws as the government is not allowed to favor one religion over another nor are religious biases allowed to come forth in laws. This means laws cannot be made because of religion.

C2) Voting

People should not vote based on their religious beliefs. They should vote based on who would bet run the United States. The influence of religion should be discarded simply because the one person may be more religious does not mean they are the best for the job within the government. The government should not ignore religion but, they should not let religion influence their decision making or law passing as the United States is secular.

C3) Groups and organizations

Why should the Church of the Latter Day Saints not be able to lobby simply because the United States government is not allowed to pass a "religious law". That would be unconstitutional. A law cannot be based upon religious beliefs. Nor can the government allow the passage of the law pushing religious beliefs on others as this will most likely infringe upon the first amendment.

Religion has no place within politics.

Source:
1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Michael-X

Pro

Michael-X forfeited this round.
THEBOMB

Con

This is to bad...I was hoping for an intellectual debate.

I will give my opponent another round to respond.
Debate Round No. 3
Michael-X

Pro

Michael-X forfeited this round.
THEBOMB

Con

Extend....extend....extend....
Debate Round No. 4
Michael-X

Pro

Michael-X forfeited this round.
THEBOMB

Con

Extend...

Vote me...
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by THEBOMB 5 years ago
THEBOMB
ohh man...I hope your ok
Posted by Michael-X 5 years ago
Michael-X
I apologize for my absence. I spent the past few weeks in the ER as a result of a car accident.
Posted by Fluer 5 years ago
Fluer
I might accept this debate but it says you are pro and from your into I would have thought you would be con
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Ricky_Zahnd 5 years ago
Ricky_Zahnd
Michael-XTHEBOMBTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: seems conclusive.
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Michael-XTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited.
Vote Placed by Koopin 5 years ago
Koopin
Michael-XTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by The_Fool_on_the_hill 5 years ago
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Michael-XTHEBOMBTied
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Reasons for voting decision: All the evidence around the worlds shows that religion in politics kills the devopment of a country. We would have to be blind not to notice that. If it worked there would never be seclurism in the first place. We need to move forward. not backward.
Vote Placed by TUF 5 years ago
TUF
Michael-XTHEBOMBTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Via forfeit.