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 Religion and voting

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PostSubject: Religion and voting   Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:49 pm

Just thought I would pose a few thoughts/questions for people to have a think about and maybe respond to. As I mentioned in a previous thread in the forum, the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland produced a leaflet on how a Christian should approach the issues at the last general election. I posited my opinion that this was a new step by the 'Evangelical Church' in Ireland, stepping into rather than avoiding politics.

However, what do people think, both from a Religious/Church/Faith and a Secular point of view is the role of faith in the voting process. I suppose I am referring primarily to referenda as these present the most common situation where Irish citizens are asked to make judgements on often moral positions, which I would dangerously suggest, rarely affect many voting on them.

Personally, I think anyone who has faith, whether that be faith in God, or merely a faith in a political system and way of doing things, cannot simply cut off that faith from their actions. However, to what extent should that position extend? For instance, should those who are unlikely ever to experience a crisis pregnancy, or the desire to terminate, and yet have a strong belief that abortion is wrong, stick to their guns on the issue. Or should they abstract their position from that of society - that is that while they may feel abortion (merely an example) is wrong, that their opinion is based on free will and consequently they would not have an abortion, but that others who have a differently constituted opinion also based on free will should be entitled to exercise it. It is a deeply philosophical and almost impossible question to answer. The final example I gave in many ways might reflect Mills' "Harm Principle" - that in general people should have free will to do as they please, so long as it does not harm others. However, what constitutes a harm to another is a very difficult question to answer.

To what, if any extent, should people of religion be expected to suppress their belief in regard to making moral judgments for society? To what, if any extent, should people supporting secularism be expected to incorporate the views of the religious into society?

I presented abortion above merely as an example - let's not get entirely hung up on that specific issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:55 pm

Quote :
For instance, should those who are unlikely ever to experience a crisis pregnancy, or the desire to terminate, and yet have a strong belief that abortion is wrong, stick to their guns on the issue. Or should they abstract their position from that of society - that is that while they may feel abortion (merely an example) is wrong, that their opinion is based on free will and consequently they would not have an abortion, but that others who have a differently constituted opinion also based on free will should be entitled to exercise it. It is a deeply philosophical and almost impossible question to answer.

I have strong, but not typical views on this, because I don't believe that abortion is only a about a woman's right to choose.

If we exclude from decision making anyone who is not likely to have a crisis pregnancy, then we exclude the fathers of unborn children whose rights, as far as I am concerned, are shamefully neglected.

That is immoral in itself.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:02 pm

One my problems with republicanism (in the classical sense) and secularism is that they don't always take account of democracy. Many people are happy with the religious status quo but that's not good enough for some people. Personally I would favour democracy over ideology when deciding the direction of a country. Turkey is the obvious example, where a secular elite have decided that they know better than the electorate.

Democracy shouldn't have any restrictions. If you vote on an entirely religious basis then that is surely your own concern. This probably works better in theory than in pracrtice though, I suspect the Nazis had a democratic mandate for the Holocaust.

No system is perfect, but how do you restrict how people vote? Banning political parties is one method but the problems it creates are very serious.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:03 pm

Kate P wrote:
I have strong, but not typical views on this, because I don't believe that abortion is only a about a woman's right to choose.

If we exclude from decision making anyone who is not likely to have a crisis pregnancy, then we exclude the fathers of unborn children whose rights, as far as I am concerned, are shamefully neglected.

That is immoral in itself.

Emm yeah, not to mention the little nipper.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:13 pm

905 wrote:

No system is perfect, but how do you restrict how people vote? Banning political parties is one method but the problems it creates are very serious.

Well I am not suggesting subversive action against people who vote in a particular manner! I am merely asking a philosophical question as to what should motivate people when they vote. Personal belief, a belief in free will for everyone in society, or for the good of society. The latter is of course the most difficult to quantify as in general most will believe that their opinion constitutes the best option for all of society.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Fri Apr 11, 2008 6:37 am

i would hazard a guess that america has better protection against OTT religious interference in public politics then we do, the majority support abortion in cases of serious medical defect, the majority cross that line.

churches should just state their positions clearly, not endorse anybody in particular, not scare monger.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Fri Apr 11, 2008 10:53 am

lostexpectation wrote:
i would hazard a guess that america has better protection against OTT religious interference in public politics then we do, the majority support abortion in cases of serious medical defect, the majority cross that line.

churches should just state their positions clearly, not endorse anybody in particular, not scare monger.

Everyone can dispose of their votes for any reason they choose, apart from money.
Religion tends to be associated with right wing political movements more than left, but there seems also to be a growing radical Christian anti-globalist, pacificist activist movement so that may balance things out.

Libertas's "Charter" is explicitly Christian in the "God and Country" kind of way and anti-islamist.

I think that the State and the services it provides should be secular but individuals should be completely free to practice their religion so long as it doesn't cause anyone an injury (would not welcome FGM in Ireland).

Countries like France and Turkey that try to exclude people's free expression of their religious belief also run into trouble.
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PostSubject: Re: Religion and voting   Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:49 pm

Libertas's "Charter" is explicitly Christian in the "God and Country" kind of way and anti-islamist.

huh?
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