The United States is technically a secular nation. The founding fathers of the U.S. sought to separate church and state because they came from England, a theocracy. Yet religious influence, specifically Christianity, plays a large role in U.S. government.
Last March, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allows people to claim their freedom to religious views has been breached. Ultimately, this act discriminates against the LGBT+ community; employers have used this act to exclude LGBT+ members from their businesses.
Although the U.S. was founded by Christians, it was built on diversity, bringing people from different countries and backgrounds together; the first European settlers in America were Lutherans, Catholics, Quakers, Anglicans, and some Jews. Clearly, not all Americans are Christian, yet Christianity remains the most represented religion in our government.
On September 24, Pope Francis spoke to Congress. The pope is the leader of the Catholics, 23.9 percent of the U.S. population, and by speaking to Congress, he has the ability to influence this large group and sway their opinions. It is not his place to speak to Congress as a religious leader because he is not a politician, even if his speech concerned climate change and immigration, two subjects at the forefront of Congressional discussion. He also briefly discussed how family values need to be emphasized, revealing his steadfast conservatism about same-sex marriage. If his sole claim to power is through his position as the Catholic leader, then what role can he appropriately play in politics?
Historically, religious leaders have also come under criticism for their role in reporting crime. The Seal of the Confessional allows for priests with knowledge of criminal acts to not be required to report the criminals.
Kim Davis tried to justify not issuing same-sex marriage licenses with her personal right to exercise Christianity, saying that doing so was against her religion. As a government clerk, Davis had no right to place her own personal views on her fellow citizens. One’s religious opinions should not factor into the law.
United States currency says “In God We Trust” and the Pledge of Allegiance says “under God,” but not all Americans believe in God.Ben Carson, a presidential candidate, said that he would not approve of a Muslim being in the White House, and within 24 hours of this statement on the National Broadcasting Company’s “Meet the Press,” he raised one million dollars. Religious views should not come into politics because one’s judgement can become clouded by his or her religious opinion, ultimately affecting his or her vote.
Ben Carson, a presidential candidate, said that he would not approve of a Muslim being in the White House, and within 24 hours of this statement on the National Broadcasting Company’s “Meet the Press,” he raised one million dollars. Religious views should not come into politics because one’s judgement can become clouded by his or her religious opinion, ultimately affecting his or her vote.
91.8 percent of Congress is Christian, while only 78.5 percent of the U.S. population is Christian. Only 5.2 percent of Congress is Jewish, 0.4 percent is Buddhist, and 0.4 percent is Muslim. This disconnect strongly favors Christians while it leaves religious minorities misrepresented. Only two out of 43 presidents have not specified as being Christian. One’s religious beliefs or values likely factor into one’s decision-making, and because laws are decided on by a Christian majority, it seems logical to say that Christian views contribute to the laws that govern the U.S.
The majority of the U.S. government is Christian, so the government runs the risk of being biased towards religious views. Because the majority of the current Congress and past leaders have been Christian, it feels that the U.S. government is led by Christianity and leaves other religions in the dust.