I often think about Religion, it’s impact on the world and it’s impact on me as an individual. There may not be another subject that I feel so at odds about than this one. This year has exacerbated my angst about Religion as I watch a majority of the evangelical christian community support a man whose character is so at odds with the way Christ framed the way to live and treat others. Once again, like history repeating itself endlessly, religion was used to influence people to make a political choice. Today if you “belong” to certain religious communities in the United States there is incredible pressure to vote and believe along Republican party lines. When politics and religion join hands there are bodies left behind the road they walk. Religion appeals to a deep place inside of us, a sacred space, where our minds and hearts simply obey. The power of linking religion and politics takes this obedience to God and directs it towards a political party or a political figure.
Religion can be used for harm or good. It can be used to influence and pressure people in positive and negative ways. I have seen the positive power in my community where people of Faith come together to help the homeless, the hungry, the disenfranchised. The values of kindness, hope, patience, self control, respect, grace, mercy, forgiveness are ones I believe in. I want to be influenced and reminded of them by clergy and others of Faith.
However, I am deeply opposed to religious leaders and religious people who seek to define what it means to be have Faith in terms of politics. I am opposed to those who through religion speak with a “higher calling” to control others’ lives through legislation and seek to override the freedom of others with their own code of ethics. It is oppression.
*Rome, taken by my husband*