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Kuntz: Religion no place in politics

BY KATIE KUNTZ | NOVEMBER 02, 2012 6:30 AM

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Religion has no place in politics.

Pastors should not preach politics from the pulpit, nor should churches force employees to abide by their rules with regards to their health care, and most importantly, pastors should not bring their religious doctrine into the presidency.

Still, former leader for his Mormon congregation Mitt Romney could become the next president of the United States.

“I served as a missionary for my church,” Romney said during the second presidential debate Oct. 16. “I served as a pastor in my congregation for about 10 years.”

With him, a running mate who admits that he does not believe he can separate his religion from his politics.

“I don’t see how a person can separate [her or his] public life from [her or his] private life or from faith,” said vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan during the vice-presidential debate Oct. 11. “Our faith informs us in everything we do.”

Of course, not all Americans practice either Mormonism or Catholicism, and they do not want those doctrines to dictate executive policy. This is why religion should stay out of politics altogether.

Religion has played a major role in American politics for the last four years. People have questioned President Obama’s alleged (but never demonstrated) Muslim ties, charged him with attacking the Catholic Church by guaranteeing women access to birth control, and disputed his policies with regards to same-sex couples and women’s right to choose.

But these decisions were based on laws, judicial precedents, and equal rights — not on religion.
Religion is not bad; it offers many people comfort, community, and opportunities for improving life.

Yet recently, religion has been used to keep certain privileges from those who want to be married and from women who would much prefer to speak to doctors than to legislators.

It’s important to remember that if we allow religion to dictate policies, we abandon our First Amendment freedom, which is that Americans chose their own religions and dictate their own lives.

“My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life,” said Vice President Joe Biden, also during the vice-presidential debate. “But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others.”

Biden has it right. Go and practice freely, and let no politician take that freedom away.


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