Essay Religion in American Politics

1985 Words8 Pages
The United States of America has the most diverse religious population in the world. In places like Iraq, Syria, Israel, Afghanistan, Yemen, and other countries too numerous to mention, countless lives are lost over religious differences. In America, a Protestant can live happily next door to a Jew, who might live across the street from a Muslim, or a Catholic, or a Sikh, or even a Humanist! This is in no small way attributed to the fact that the US Constitution’s First Amendment includes what is known as the establishment clause, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” effectively separating affairs of religious institutions from secular,…show more content…
It was starting to look as if politics were beginning to become more secular. As it is well known, after Kennedy’s assassination, Lyndon B. Johnson carried out the rest of Kennedy’s term, and then ran for reelection in 1964. Johnson, a left-leaning Democrat found himself up against Barry Goldwater from the right-minded Republican Party. Early on in the 20th century, many of Protestant denominations had adopted progressive, social reformist doctrines, that many people still value to this day. Despite being Protestant, Goldwater’s platform took a much more conservative approach. This ended up backfiring on him, however, as many Christian publications stated that they opposed Goldwater’s policies. He was further stigmatized by the religious publication The Christian Century as turning his patriotic rhetoric into “religious nationalism.” To make matters worse for Goldwater, in October of 1964, less than a month before the general election, 725 Episcopalian clergy and laymen from forty-one states signed a resolution accusing him of “a transparent exploitation of racialism.” Richard Nixon, a Republican and ex-Vice President at the time, claimed that these allegations were “the most vicious in political history.” As a result, Lyndon Johnson won the 1964 election in an unprecedented landslide victory, with Barry Goldwater only winning six states: his native Arizona, and five states in the heart of the Bible Belt (Kosmin 1993:174-5). While religious leaders in the end
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