Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Role of Religion.

It is unmistakable that religion has a very prominent role in American society and always has. According to an article published by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, over half the people in America say that religion impacts their lives in a profound way. “Religion is much more important to Americans than to people living in other wealthy nations. Six-in-ten people in the U.S. say religion plays a very important role in their lives”(851).
If this is the case, and it is evident that religion on a personal and communal level is not capable of breaching the Constitution, why now the reluctance to allow morality and religion be a larger part of the government? One of the reasons this is a more sensitive subject than in years past is due to the increasingly pluralistic nature of society. If a Judeo-Christian in the senate is voting based on his beliefs and religion, it is bound to upset the Muslim population. Some have a strong objection to the government ‘legislating
morality’. While this might appear to be a justified claim, it is still not an infringement upon the constitution to legislate what one thinks to be morally correct. All laws have their basis in an absolute morality. No one would accuse the government of “legislating morality” for imprisoning a convicted murderer. Consider the thirteenth amendment. It is highly unlikely that anyone would accuse the government of “legislating morality” for abolishing slavery. These are issues that have their roots in ’morality’. Issues such as murder, rape, slavery, and theft are all considered absolutely wrong, they are not subjective to different religions. In American society they are deemed unethical and morally wrong.
If the Judeo-Christian senator has not made a government establishment of religion, then he is not breaching the Establishment Clause by legislating what he deems to be moral. If the people are unhappy with the way the senator has voted, they have the unique right of not reelecting him or her.
It is evident that religion does have a very important place and is widely accepted throughout the United States. It is also clear that people of faith are guaranteed the right to exercise their religious freedom when and wherever they choose to do so. Their place of employment, i.e. a government agency, should have no bearing on their right to exercise their religious freedoms. The government is obligated to protect that right, not restrain it.

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