Thursday, November 3, 2016

Religious Authority

      This week's post has to do with authority and how my topic relates to religious authority. My topic, arguing the legitimacy and appropriateness of religion's place in politics, tends to be less concerned with religious authority in terms of physical hierarchy or religious texts and their interpretation. That being said, when referring to authority in the realm of ideology and/or structure, religion's place in politics begins to be a little more relevant.
      When it comes to structure, an interesting dynamic arises in that, in the American constitution, in the first amendment, there is clearly a precedent of separation of church and state, but when you take a look at contemporary politics, religion, especially in terms of campaigns, religion seems to make a huge impression on politics. Many times a politician or hopeful politician will both use their religious affiliation to leverage their legitimacy and gain the support of people who would otherwise be a little more unbiased, and to also use the religion and beliefs of their opposition to gain an edge support wise. In my opinion, this recent development in religious interference in political discussion and propogation is a direct violation of separation of church and state, yet it seems so ingrained in our culture that it doesn't seem to be talked about all that often.
      In terms of the ideology definition of authority in religion, I think the most important aspect to focus on in terms of religion in politics is the sense of shared identity. To be more specific, the sense of shared identity is essential to any campaign for public office. In order to put together any successful campaign, it is important to align oneself with different communities of people to reach as many voters as possible. Some of the largest communities we have in America are religious, so naturally it would make sense to adjust a campaign scheme to make sure to play on religious cultural cues in order to gain the vote of that community. The alignment of a certain politicians religious identity with a community of people can be a key to creating the idea of shared identity between the targeted religious community and the political hopeful.

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