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#31 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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It boggles my mind how much the role of religion takes in U.S. Politics. I remember a couple of years ago Blair being questioned on whether he had 'prayed with Bush' and how he deflected the question. The reason he deflected is because he knew that it would affect his credibility and image with the British public.

One could almost hear the collective chuckles that spread across the UK when the issue of joint prayer with Bush was exposed.

Religion is very much considered a personal issue in the UK. And the majority of people that I know don't vote for someone on the sole basis that they are Christian/Jewish/Muslim etc. I would dare to say that they vote for an individual based upon what their political position and policy is.

For me personally, I would never vote for someone who espoused a really strong religious conviction, because I wouldn't trust their ability to respect my individual liberties over their own religious convictions.


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#32 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 12:47 PM
 
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For me personally, I would never vote for someone who espoused a really strong religious conviction, because I wouldn't trust their ability to respect my individual liberties over their own religious convictions.


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I agree with you 100%. Even though I would consider myself a religious person, I despise the way religion is so important in elections here. It shouldn't be a part of it at all in my opinion.

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#33 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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IIn my personal experience (personal experience, y'all) people who are spiritually traditionalist but politically liberal/pro-civil-liberties (like me over in the corner here, endangered species, believed by many to be imaginary) are more likely to be serious about personal freedom, even to engage in activities with which they disagree, than the more secular or spiritually-liberal type of people. I.e., they actually believe in not imposing their personal beliefs through government, instead of simply giving lip service to it.

Can you help me decipher this part?

Are you saying "spiritual traditionalists" (does that mean religious?) are more likely to be serious about personal freedoms, while atheists or secularists, for example, would be more likely to just give lip service to it?

in other words do you mean religious people value freedom more than secular people?

Please tell me I misunderstood that or at least explain how that would be so.
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#34 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 03:01 PM
 
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Can you help me decipher this part?

Are you saying "spiritual traditionalists" (does that mean religious?) are more likely to be serious about personal freedoms, while atheists or secularists, for example, would be more likely to just give lip service to it?

in other words do you mean religious people value freedom more than secular people?

Please tell me I misunderstood that or at least explain how that would be so.
Well, I am talking about within liberalism. Not in general.

What I mean is... say you've got a person, very secular-leaning, politically liberal. And he supports all of the commonly-discussed politically-correct positions concerning personal freedom of choice. So he's pro-birth control, pro-marriage-rights, pro-choice on abortion, pro-legalizing MJ, etc. And he gives these pompous speeches about keeping the government out of the bedroom, and the nastiness of the authoritarian Religious Right, and so forth. But, he's never been tested. Because all of the things that he believes the government should stay out of, he has no problem with anyway. It's almost redundant. But when he gets in office, and is confronted with a behavior or lifestyle or belief that he finds abhorrent, that he disagrees with strongly, that he believes is evil and immoral... what's he going to do? Sure, he says in his campaign speeches that he's for personal freedom. But he's never actually been in a situation where somebody is coming to him and saying "I do this thing that you consider immoral. Do you support my right to do it?" So, it's anybody's guess what he's going to do.

Now, say you have a devoutly religious person. He believes that blasphemy is abhorrent. But he thinks about the issue carefully, and he supports freedom of expression. So when a blasphemous (in his opinion) art exhibit comes to his town, he doesn't try to censor it. If that guy gets elected to public office, and he is confronted with something that repels him, that repulses him, that is the antithesis of everything he believes in--maybe he will flip-flop, but maybe he will think "just like I supported the personal freedom rights of that nasty art exhibit, I should support personal freedoms here too."

Basically, because religious people are a majority and secularists are a minority, stuff that is offensive to religious people is a hotly-debated political issue all the time. Porn, school prayer, abortion, evolution, on and on. Of course, I know that not all people of all religions feel the same way about this. Not at all. But in the public debates, these issues are framed as religious people's sensibilities vs. personal freedom. And it's always a struggle which will win out in any given case. So it's likely, that if you are a devoutly religious person, and you are in politics, you have been confronted with at least one of these issues in which your personal faith and sensibilities was in conflict with personal freedom. And if you, as a citizen, came down on the side of religious freedom, there is evidence there. Evidence that when you say "I support personal freedom even if it means people making a choice I don't like," that you mean it.

In contrast, secular humanists are a minority. As such they have many fewer opportunities to impose their sensibilities on the majority. That doesn't mean they wouldn't like to. Some of them would like to. Some of them would like to impose their sensibilities but don't think of it as imposing their sensibilities, just as "protecting people." And they justify this as being very, very different from theocrats imposing their sensibilities, because theirs are not religiously based. A huge distinction--an unwarranted distinction, IMO--is made between religiously based sensibilities and non religiously based sensibilities. I firmly believe you can be a secular humanist authoritarian just as much as you can be a religiously theocratic authoritarian. But because issues on which some (some! not all! don't accuse me of saying 'all,' because I'm not!) secular humanists would like to be authoritarian don't come up in mainstream political discourse, a secular humanist candidate is more likely to be untested, as far as where he stands on authoritarianism from his side.

Okay. That makes no sense.

I am basically describing a phenomenon with people I know personally. So, absent context... well, maybe you know some people like that too. So maybe it makes some sense.
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#35 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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I'm trying really hard to understand.

So let's say I ran for office. Why would my saying "get sodomy laws off the books" or "let's look at reforming drug laws" (or throw me an example, I'm not sure what issues we are talking about exactly). Why would I be less serious about my care for personal freedoms because I have never had a religion that said sodomy, for istance was wrong?

I think it is yucky, I think a lot of drugs are bad for you, but I haven't had a religion telling me that. How would that make me less able to really care about freedom?

Or even if I loved anal and crack (before running for public office, of course) how is my willingness to defend personal freedom diferent then?

I am trying to tease all these issues out into ideas and theories I can understand.
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#36 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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I'm trying really hard to understand.

So let's say I ran for office. Why would my saying "get sodomy laws off the books" or "let's look at reforming drug laws" (or throw me an example, I'm not sure what issues we are talking about exactly). Why would I be less serious about my care for personal freedoms because I have never had a religion that said sodomy, for istance was wrong?

I think it is yucky, I think a lot of drugs are bad for you, but I haven't had a religion telling me that. How would that make me less able to really care about freedom?

Or even if I loved anal and crack (before running for public office, of course) how is my willingness to defend personal freedom diferent then?

I am trying to tease all these issues out into ideas and theories I can understand.
It's not the religion, per se. Say you ran on legalizing sodomy and drug use. And I vote for you, because I'm also for legalizing sodomy and drug use. You have no problem with sodomy or drug use. You think they're good clean fun. So you're in congress, and a bill comes up to outlaw plastic surgery. Well, you're okay with sodomy and drug use, but plastic surgery? That's just wrong. Besides, the people who do it are only doing it because they've been brainwashed by society. And it sets a bad example for the children. So you're doing everyone a favor by voting in favor of this bill (they'll thank you later). I, your plastic surgery loving constituent, am outraged. I thought you were for people's right to control their own bodies! That's why I voted for you! I don't even like sodomy or drug use, but I stood out there demonstrating for their legalization in the hopes that the precedent would trickle down my way.

If you think this is way out there, think about all the feminists who will rant for hours about "a woman's right to control her own body" when the issue is abortion, yet vehemently oppose a woman's right to use her body to work as a prostitute! So, I'm not going to support you just because you say you're "pro-choice." Really? Pro-all-choice? I am very disillusioned with the progressive movement for this reason.

I have been an anti-theocrat/pro-religious-freedom/pro-church-state-separation activist for years. Not because I care one way or another whether Nowheresville has a nativity scene at its courthouse. I don't. I care about precedents. I care about how precedents will be used in the resolution of issues that aren't even issues yet. So, I have nothing but contempt for the assertion of some (some! not all!) secular humanists who claim that somehow their authoritarianism is different because it's not religiously motivated. That doesn't matter to me. Authoritarianism is authoritarianism. Religiously based vs. non religiously based is irrelevant.

And I think that, based on my own personal experience, religious people who are politically liberal get this. They have beliefs. They know that these beliefs are beliefs, not irrefutable facts, and have no business being imposed on nonconsenting people. Many secularists.... don't. They think that just because their beliefs and views and subjective judgements don't come from a religious basis, that somehow they aren't beliefs and views and subjective judgements. That they are irrefutable facts, and therefore okay to impose on people. That would be my skepticism, in such a circumstance.
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#37 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 04:09 PM
 
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Whoa. That isn't how I view it at all.

The people who I know, liberal people, who have never been religious get this too.

I don't think that way at all, it doesn't make any sense to me. As much as I don't make sense to you, I suppose.

But I, and the liberals I know, don't want personal freedoms for only what suits us (as far as I see it, this has been the religious way all along). We are rational and believe everyone deserves the same freedoms.

I don't understand for a second how having a religion that tells me to do differently than I think should be done politically makes me able to be a better liberal politician.

I don't get it at all. Not even one percent. I have absolute zero understanding of how you come to this conclusion. Oh man, but now I am dying to try to figure it out .
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#38 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 04:23 PM
 
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Whoa. That isn't how I view it at all.

The people who I know, liberal people, who have never been religious get this too.

I don't think that way at all, it doesn't make any sense to me. As much as I don't make sense to you, I suppose.

But I, and the liberals I know, don't want personal freedoms for only what suits us (as far as I see it, this has been the religious way all along). We are rational and believe everyone deserves the same freedoms.

I don't understand for a second how having a religion that tells me to do differently than I think should be done politically makes me able to be a better liberal politician.

I don't get it at all. Not even one percent. I have absolute zero understanding of how you come to this conclusion. Oh man, but now I am dying to try to figure it out .
That may be true for the people you know. But if I may put it differently--no, we don't want personal freedom for only what suits us. We don't want to criminalize something just because someone thinks it's immoral. Right? We agree on that. But what if instead of "immoral," we say "unhealthy" or "harmful." Still agreeing? How many pro-civil-liberties liberals support banning transfats? I'm no fan of transfats. But I don't want governments dictating what I may or may not eat. Or what drugs I may or may not take, either. But there's this disconnect. Supporting personal freedom to do what may offend some religious people does not necessarily translate into supporting personal freedom to do what may be deemed unhealthy. I believe it should. It's more reliable, is what I'm saying, if the person who is professing a devotion to personal freedom isn't actually all in favor of everything he supports people's right to do. Then at least we know, there is at least one instance where he supports the right to do something he disagrees with. If we don't know, it's much less reliable.
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#39 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 04:31 PM
 
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That may be true for the people you know. But if I may put it differently--no, we don't want personal freedom for only what suits us. We don't want to criminalize something just because someone thinks it's immoral. Right? We agree on that. But what if instead of "immoral," we say "unhealthy" or "harmful." Still agreeing? How many pro-civil-liberties liberals support banning transfats? I'm no fan of transfats. But I don't want governments dictating what I may or may not eat. Or what drugs I may or may not take, either. But there's this disconnect. Supporting personal freedom to do what may offend some religious people does not necessarily translate into supporting personal freedom to do what may be deemed unhealthy. I believe it should. It's more reliable, is what I'm saying, if the person who is professing a devotion to personal freedom isn't actually all in favor of everything he supports people's right to do. Then at least we know, there is at least one instance where he supports the right to do something he disagrees with. If we don't know, it's much less reliable.
I agree with you on those things too. I don't think it is the governments place to tell anyone what to put in their bodies- drugs, transfats, whatever. Why would a religious backing make me better suited to stand by this belief?

It is only because you know the religious person has shown to be willing to stand up for something he is against? A seular politician can list things she is against personally but willing to support the freedom to do too, how does religion really change anything?
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#40 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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I agree with you on those things too. I don't think it is the governments place to tell anyone what to put in their bodies- drugs, transfats, whatever. Why would a religious backing make me better suited to stand by this belief?

It is only because you know the religious person has shown to be willing to stand up for something he is against? A seular politician can list things she is against personally but willing to support the freedom to do too, how does religion really change anything?
It doesn't. It's just that with a politician, with whom I'm not likely be able to have a conversation about my issues, it's comforting if there's something he can point to and I know, he supported the right to do this even though he personally disagrees with it.
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#41 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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Interesting. That makes sense, I suppose. I don't buy it, but at least I can see why you think it.
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#42 of 42 Old 12-16-2007, 07:44 PM
 
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Interesting. That makes sense, I suppose. I don't buy it, but at least I can see why you think it.
Well, I am not saying that I would not vote for a secularist or anything like that... just that in my experience, religious-type liberal people tend to "get it" more so than others.
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