Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Politics and Religion

I've dutifully watched both political debates televised this week. HeWhoKnows warned that I'd find it annoying, but I do need to learn all I can about the system, in preparation for my citizenship application. This will, eventually, include a civics test. I should have listened to HWK. After the debates on Sunday and Tuesday, with a variety of commentary inbetween, I find myself feeling angry, sad and confused, by turns.

I so wish I didn't care!

Perhaps this sensitivity I'm experiencing just now is connected with transits to my natal chart this week. Transiting Mars has been 2* away from natal Saturn, transiting Moon 2* from natal Sun yesterday, transiting Neptune conjoins relocated ascendant, and transiting Venus conjoined natal Pluto. Something there is pulling my strings!

Only one candidate from the total of 18 got full marks from me. I could find no criticism of Dennis Kucinich. I'm sad that he continues to be largely ignored by the media and the public. He seems too far ahead of his time, for most of America. He's a politician of the future.

Something I'm finding puzzling and a little worrying is the emphasis on religion in politics here. Apparently Clinton, Obama and Edwards were questioned on Monday at something called The Sojourners Forum. Their religious beliefs and practices came under scrutiny.

What has candidates' religious belief, or indeed lack of it, got to do with politics and ability to run the country? You might as well be guided by the colour of someone's eyes, or whether they wear briefs, boxers or neither. There's an excellent example of how religion and politics play out together in the White House now.

Surely, religion (or lack of it) is a purely personal and intimate matter. It's very easy to establish whether a particular candidate would be likely to act in a way compatible with one's own views by reading, examining their record, listening to their proposals and views expressed in public debates. When people feel the need for additional detail, regarding the candidates' religious beliefs and practices, it smacks to me of bigotry and discrimination.

I understand that freedom of religion is one of America's most treasured rights. I can't see, at present, how this squares with the emphasis on just one religion - Christianity. If I were an American citizen of a faith other than Christianity, an agnostic or atheist, I'd be feeling very much an outsider, which doesn't seem to me to be in the spirit of the Bill of Rights.

Last night's Republican debate did nothing to ease my mind. Candidates made a point of referring to their faith. Admittedly, some of this, though not all, was in reply to questions posed by presenter or audience. What seemed most ironic to this onlooker was the lack of compassion apparent in many of their responses to questions about Iraq, immigration and health care. Something doesn't quite fit!

Among politicians the esteem of religion is profitable; the principles of it are troublesome. (Benjamin Whichcote)

I have judged others' religions by their lives, for it is from our lives and not our words that our religions must be read (Thomas Jefferson)


Anonymous said...

One day people will wake up to the realization that religion has nothing to do with governing a country. Hopefully soon. It's happened in Britain, it can happen in the USA.

Twilight said...

Let's hope so Chrispito - let's hope so!