The Role of Religion in American Politics

1768 Words Mar 2nd, 2011 8 Pages
The Role of Religion om American Politics
As the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution stipulates, ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. This regulation represents one of the most important principles upon which the American democracy is built: the separation of church and state. Rhys H. Williams and N. J. Demerath III, the authors of the article ”Religion and Political Process in an American City”, however, raise the question that ”if our national political history is bulit on a religious-based morality – if we are a ’nation with the soul of a church’ – then why should government be excluded from religious affairs and churches have their political activities
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Evidence has been found of a shift among a wider group of mainline Protestants away from the Republicans towards the Democratic Party. As far as the reason for this mobility is considered, the Civil Rights Movement is sure to have contributed to it with its calls for social reforms. Consequently, the more liberal Protestants became more attracted to the Democrats, while the more conservative ones remained in or joined the Republicans. Regarding the Catholics, a considerable percentage of them is of Latin-American origin. The Catholic citizens, many of them deeply religious, belong to the lower social classes, although some of them have become more affluent recently. Those who has moved up on the social ladder, are more likely to make inroads into the Republican Party, since they no longer strive for social reforms.

Relating this religious and ethnical affiliation to civic participation, it is remarkable to note that the extent to which someone is involved in civic life may be dependent on whether they have acquired the ”civic skills through their assiciational memberships and, in particular, from their experience in church.” It is even held that it is only religious institutions that play a major role in providing opportunities to be educated for politically active citizenship for those who would otherwise be resource-poor (such as the Spanish-speaking immigrants from Latin-America). Accepting this assumption means it is
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