Church and State

The presence of religion in politics and questioning of its presence has been a relevant issue in American politics for some time now with the rise of the religious right movement. The religious right and the Republican party’s platform were thought to have truly aligned with one another in response to the many social liberation movements that stemmed from the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. An issue that has remained relevant throughout the decades of religious and political discourse is abortion. In chapter 8 of Chaves’ American Religion, he discusses the controversial presence of religion in politics and vice versa. Chaves writes, “A second cause of the increasingly tight connection between religious service attendance and some kinds of social and political conservatism is that people have been changing their religion to match their political and social views.” (pg. 104). With recent shifting bipartisan political tensions, many people have been looking to and relying more on the views of those that are of the same religious affiliation. Some individuals who do not have a clear stance on a political issue may look to the views of their religious organization for clarification on what “their people” believe. On the other hand, there has also been an increase of some individuals who abandon or even discredit their childhood or previous religious affiliation because their views on social and political issues do not align. Because of political and social tensions that many religious organizations show their stances on, the lines of the political and the religious often blur, which can be especially worrisome when these religious political stances are preached by individuals in high public offices.