Religion and the Election
Religion and the Election
By Olivia Phetteplace
During this year’s Republican primary, religion seems to be a major deciding factor amongst the candidates. While the majority of the candidates declare themselves Christian, Mitt Romney has shaken up the religious expectation as a Mormon. Though ideally there should be a separation between church and state when it comes to a national election, it seems that religion has become more a deciding factor with both voters and backers. Though Mitt Romney has been doing slightly better in the poles, both Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been putting up a considerable fight.
It would seem that Romney’s unfamiliar choice in religion has confused certain voters. Because his faith is so relatively foreign to many voters, there has been a lot of concern about how exactly it will affect his campaign. Though separation between church and state exists, it is a well enough known fact that religion is a major factor concerning voting. People, when considering who to vote for, know that religion is a major component in determining one’s morals. Religion is so vital to one’s core that there really can be no true separation between church and state. While religion should not determine a candidate’s policy, a candidate cannot be expected to, at any point, operate completely detached from their religion.
The question then becomes exactly how much influence religion should have on a candidacy. Though it is an inevitable factor, it seems that religion has been too important to certain parties. CNN, for example, aired a story concerning the Evangelical faction of the Republican Party at the beginning of the primaries. It was understood that the Evangelical Christians were scrambling to find an even more right wing candidate compared to everyone already in the race. In this case, it is quite clear that religion is meant to be a definitive factor in a candidate. This notion completely contradicts the idea that those in government should be able to separate from their religion. Because a religious group is helping to determine who can run, and furthermore is only looking for ultra conservative, ultra religious contenders.
Though religion is a vital component in the makings of a presidential candidate, it should not be the single most, and deciding factor. This year’s race has simply become a race between religions. Mitt Romney is known firstly for his Mormonism while the other candidates are similarly known for how conservative they are. It seems that the candidates have become ranked according to their religion. For such a modern society we are putting too much emphasis on religion and not paying enough attention to the issues. The next republican candidate should be chosen for experience and ability, not simply religion.