Influence of Religion on Political Decisions in the Public Sphere
A religion can refer to a specific cultural system of beliefs, which establishes symbols that relate humanity to moral values and spirituality. Religions in most instances draw humanity to the worship and total reliance of a deity (Vries 46). Religions are designed under a set of traditions, symbols, narratives, and sacred histories which attempts to give life its meaning. Religion once viewed as an indoor deity-worship activity; has since moved to the open public sphere, where it airs out its demands and expects the states to abide by them. Many of the governments decisions are greatly influenced by religious groups who lobby and protest incase policies unfavorable policies are enacted. This paper explains how religion influences political decisions.
Religion forms a major part in a nation since from it the citizens; specifically the followers, derive ethics, morality, laws and preferred lifestyle from religion’s views about the universe and human nature. The world has over one thousand religions, and each plays a significant role in the country in which it operates. The role could be its influence on the state or the impact it has on the citizens. The three major religions, that is, Christianity including Catholicism and Protestantism, and Islam, can either occupy the position of a state religion, civic religion, or public religion to influence state decisions.
The Islamic Religion
The Islamic bases its belief on the sovereignty of Allah, upholding equality of mankind, adherence to the: Sharia, the Qur’an and the Sunna of Mohammed. In most Arabic or Islamic states, Islam is taken to be the official state religion and other religions are prohibited. This makes most of these Islamic nations are theocratic believing in God to be the supreme law authority (Hasan 5).
The unique grip religion has on humanity places it at unrivalled position to influence major societal decisions. Furseth and Repstad have proposed five ways in which religion can influence decision making in the public sphere, that is; as an official state religion, as a civil religion, as a public religion, through religious nationalism, and through its political power (104). State religions are like Islam in the Arabic countries, Judaism in Israel, and Roman Catholicism in the Vatican City. Few countries have state religions due to the many denominations and the requirement of non favoritism by the different constitutions. Most of these countries with state religions are theocratic with the government being subordinate to the church or religion.
The official religion of the state could be a creed that is officially endorsed by the government to be adhered to by its citizens, and accepted and followed as the state religion. Examples of state religions include Roman Catholicism in Brazil, Costa Rica, Vatican City, and Islam in most of the Arabic countries (Fox 45). In these countries no other public worship...