How to mix religion and politics
Posted on August 16, 2012
In country with a rich religious landscape such as the United States, it is almost unavoidable that religious belief will mix with politics. But that doesn’t mean anything goes, which is is why I am so excited about the updated edition of People For the American Way’s pamphlet outlining 12 reasonable guidelines for the relationship between religion and politics:
Most Americans embrace freedom of religious expression and the separation of church and state, but the application of these principles in electoral, political and policy settings is a perennial source of controversy. The appropriate role for religion and religious language in political debate is often the source of confusion and conflict across the political spectrum, particularly as our communities grow more diverse religiously. The line between an appropriate accommodation of religion and an inappropriate establishment is not always clear; good faith policymakers frequently engage in complex efforts to balance competing interests. Unfortunately, some political and religious leaders are quick to portray policy disagreements as dire threats to religious liberty or even a “war on religion.”
This third edition of People For the American Way Foundation’s “Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics” is meant to generate a broader conversation about how we can create and sustain a civic space that reflects the principles of the Constitution and the values of respectful civic discourse, one that welcomes the participation of people of all faiths and people of none. These Rules reflect our understanding of the Constitution and the body of federal court cases on religious liberty as well as our judgment on issues beyond the law.