Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Politics in Islam I

Separation of Church and State

Today’s contemporary thought is that there must be a separation of church and state to be considered a modern, progressive democracy. The presumption is that one’s religion should be personal and not something that affects or is forced on others. The inherent problem with this ideology is that people do not separate their lives from their religion, and thus their religion affects every other aspect of their life.

Simply put, people are more likely to vote for people of a similar background as themselves. Why would one consider a person’s religion when electing a public official? Because people assume that a person, who shares the same religion, will share the same values, the same values they hold to be true, and correct. The same values they use to govern their own lives, and thus they are in fact encouraging the cooperation of church and state, not the separation.

The US Congress is comprised of 535 members, and all but 13 are of a Judeo-Christian background. In general, the percentage of elected officials is similar to the percentage of population of the backgrounds of their particular faiths; Christians tend to be slightly higher (Catholics 29.2% represented to 23.9% population, Protestants 56.8% to 51.3%), others are significantly higher (Jews 7.3% represented to 1.7% population), some significantly lower (Unaffiliated 0% represented to 16.1% population) and all others slightly lower (Muslims 0.4% represented to 0.6%, Buddhist 0.6% to 0.7%). What this suggests is that religion is very important to people, and to those they elect; as a majority Christian population, America only recognizes only Christian religious holidays (Christmas and Easter).

Laws of Morality

While some laws are understandably universal such as crimes directed against other individuals, other laws tend to be morally identifiable. The concepts of crimes against others, such as murder or theft, are almost all universally recognized (killing someone for no reason is condoned in any land) and as such cannot be considered laws of morality. Restriction on the number of wives one can have, public nudity, age of consent and many other laws may directly infringe on the religious freedoms of other religions, that are based on a conservative Judeo-Christian perspective are considered morally inspired laws.

All such laws cannot be universal if they differ vastly from location to location. Europeans tend to much more freely accepting of nudity, the legal drinking age in Europe also tends to be significantly lower than in America. Even in America, issues such as age of consent are decided on a state by state basis.

From country to country and place to place laws based on morality tend to mirror the religious perspectives of the majority of the population. Religiously conservative countries or states will tend to have (or propose) laws based on their ideological views, whereas more liberally oriented ones tend to promote fewer of such laws, however, regardless of their conservative or liberal views, all states, and in fact all countries around the world have laws based on morality. Now one must ask, where does one learn their morality from? By far and away the majority of people take their moral perspective from their religious beliefs, and as such it is clear how religious belief will determine not only their own personal direction, but through elected officials, will determine the direction of those around them.

1 comment:

egyptaya said...

Salam Hamza,

very important topic. I am waiting for part 2 :)