The Impact Of Religion On Public Life

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Some of the leading philosophical debates, even in developed western democracies have focused on the role of religion in public life. In some debates, the ethical dilemma is limited to the nominal use of official religion while in others it is about more substantial outcomes at stake. Governments and courts have had to tread a thin line between advancing public interest and protecting the religious freedom of individuals. In the United States, political debate has centered around issues with heavy religious undertones. The way this ethical dilemma manifests itself can vary a lot. It could be about offering religious instruction in public schools, teaching a curriculum with deep religious roots, using public tax dollars on religious…show more content…
A lot has been said about the religion in shaping public policies that somehow relate with religious principles including abortion, same-sex marriage, stem-cell research and end of life decisions. Yet, the broader issues of the role of religion, limits on the power of state to regulate religion and the ability of religious minorities to claim exemptions from statutes are just some key underlying issues. We’ll look at ethical and practical dynamics of this broad issue. Religion and state recognition The dilemma can often start with the question what kind of group deserves to be called a religion. Is it just a set of beliefs about a higher power, a way of leading a spiritual life or even denying the existence of a higher being? Answering this question can be an ethical dilemma in itself. There is no doubt that some religions are more firmly established than others. Some have had an upper hand during the course of history while others have been persecuted. In the United States, people of the Jewish and Catholic faiths have been historically been discriminated against. In recent times, many people at one point were opposed to giving the status of a religion to Mormonism and Scientology. There could a logical claim in saying that a particular religion was started to siphon off money for the benefit of its founders. Yet, principles of justice demand that we should not undermine beliefs of a certain
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