Religion has been used for thousands of years to justify societal ills and to determine the leaders of nations. This country was founded on the principles of Christianity, so I will use this religion as an example.
Many different denominations read the King James Bible. Although they are reading the same book, it is translated in many ways. The variations in translation may be attributed to the fact that hundreds of books were eliminated from the Bible by Constantine, the Roman Emperor around 312 B.C., according to bibleufo.com. These missing books are evidence of the Bible’s vagueness and pose problems in interpreting its pages 100 percent accurately.
The vagueness of the Bible leaves room for political leaders to manipulate populations to believe that laws should be accepted by virtue of the populous faith.
For example, the enslavement of African people was justified by Christianity in this country. The Christian church’s main justification of the concept of slavery is based on Genesis 9:25-27. After a world-wide flood, only Noah, his wife, their six sons and daughters-in-law were left alive. Noah’s son Ham had seen “the nakedness of his father.” So, Noah laid a curse — not on Ham, but instead on Noah’s grandson, Canaan, and all of his descendants. Christians traditionally believed that Canaan settled in Africa after leaving his grandfather, and so the dark skin of Africans became associated with this “curse of Ham.” Thus, slavery of Africans became religiously justifiable, and the populations of the past allowed it to continue.
Some political leaders use faith to sway votes. According to leanleft.com, in the 2004 presidential election, over 120,000,000 total votes were cast, compared to the 105,405,100 in 2000. If we assume that the percentage of evangelical voters remained constant at 23 percent, then we find that there were 27,600,000 in 2004, which is 3,500,000 more than in the previous election. It has been reported that Bush won over 80 percent of the evangelical vote. This means, 2.8 million evangelical voters helped re-elect Bush.
These evangelical voters tended to vote based mainly on two issues — abortion and same-sex marriage. The morality of abortion, at least, is something about which reasonable people may disagree. Indeed, much of the abortion debate centers on when human life begins and how the rights of the fetus compare to those of the pregnant woman.
But I’ve yet to hear any good arguments as to why same-sex marriage is “immoral.” All you generally hear are unsubstantiated scare tactics such as it will somehow destroy or damage the sanctity of marriage. If you are not a homosexual, why do you care? Never has anyone to my knowledge sufficiently answered the question of how Adam marrying Steve will do more damage to the sanctity of marriage than, say, Britney Spears’ hours-long marriage or Liz Taylor’s serial marriages.
The point is that the evangelicals let the right wing of government brainwash them … again. I think it is wrong how any government will use someone’s faith to control his or her decisions and actions. This phenomenon is not new — we saw it in the days of slavery, as well. We need to have total separation of church and state. Mixing the two is and always has been a recipe for disaster.
Teddy Harris is a senior communication studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]