Monday, February 26, 2007

This monumental choice given to us is taken out of our hands

Home > Editorial / Opinion Politics, not religion
By: Dan Nicastro. Issue date: 2/26/07
I'd like to start out by saying that I only really point to Christianity in this column, because it's what I know, and because it's the religion most utilized by politicians, not to devalue other religions, or the lack of religion. 'Christian,' in the sense of the political world, has been perverted into a rigid definition of Right vs. Left. "Christian Conservatives" have usurped religion and invoked God in order to justify a wide range of policy decisions, ranging from abortion, to gay marriage, and even to the federal budget. On the other hand, many liberals scoff at those who call themselves Christian, buying into the strict definition of Christianity that is espoused by Conservatives. These are not definitions that I, nor many others, subscribe to.
I consider myself a pretty devout Christian. I've gone to church since I was a little kid and remained active in my church until I left for college. I very firmly believe in the basic tenants of my religion and find myself thinking about God more often than I realize. I also consider myself a pretty devout Democrat, as I have been arguing against my more conservative friends since I was in middle school. I strongly believe that everyone is created equal and that everyone deserves equal rights. I believe that the job of government is to help its citizens, and not to increase the wealth of a select few. How can I justify my religious beliefs with my political beliefs in the context of the current battle taking place between religion and politics?...
Religion is one of the most controversial and contentious subjects that exists in the world today. I wrote seven different versions of this column because I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say and because I didn't want to offend anyone in the process. After starting draft number seven, I realized that religion is so touchy because it's probably the most personal aspect of our lives. It is really one of the only major things you are allowed to choose in your life. Gender, race, sexual preference, although somewhat debatable, are concrete aspects of person hood which are chosen by random chance. Choice of religion (or for that matter, the choice not to have a religion) is monumental.
Religion, whether we like it or not, is a defining force in this country and our ability to choose it helps to give us the power to define how we are seen by others, and how we are able to visualize the world. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this choice because of its extremely personal nature. When people are allowed to usurp the meaning of religion and dictate what is right and what is wrong, as has happened in the current political climate, this monumental choice given to us is taken out of our hands.
The definition of Christianity needs to be taken away from those in government. While our nation is built on religious tradition, we are not a theocracy. By forcing the religious subject into the political world, politicians risk increasing religious intolerance everywhere. Christian does not just mean Southern Baptist, or Born Again, but it also means Mormon or Unitarian, just in the same

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