WHYS on Boxing Day (2007)

Ahhhh, Boxing Day. I always feel like Brits get weird looks when we talk about Boxing Day – I mean, it’s fine to take a day off after Christmas, but why call it Boxing Day?

Anyway, while most people are not working today (although far fewer than used to not work, since many shops have started their New Year sales today) that’s not the case for four of us in the WHYS office. We’re in (kind of) constant communication with Calcutta, where presenter-for-the-day Rahul Tandon is based.

But let me get to the point – what are we asking today? “Does religious belief make for better politicians?” Do religious people have a superior moral compass that helps them work for the good of society more than non-believers?

Tony Blair was well known to be a Christian and has now converted to Catholicism, although he apparently didn’t feel able to while at No. 10; in India where the BJP’s Narendra Modi has been elected chief minister of Gujarat for a third consecutive term – and where it’s been suggested by Hindu nationalists that Sonia Gandhi is unsuitable to lead the country; in the United States presidential candidates seem to be playing up their faith even as the influence of Christian evangelicals on the Republican nominating process may be on the wane.

So does religious faith help a politician do good for his country? Let us know and join us at 1800 GMT to find out what the world says.

66 Responses to “WHYS on Boxing Day (2007)”

  1. 1 steve
    December 26, 2007 at 14:41

    People who play up religious beliefs to win political campaigns are just narcissists, who will say and do anything to get the power they want. I doubt very many of these people actually even believe in God, but they say what they think they have to get elected. I don’t think religious people necessarily have a better moral compass. Some religious people are incredibly violent and will kill at the drop of a hat, and some athiest have no values either. However people who pretend to be someone they are not just to get a vote don’t really have much of a moral compass either. Let’s also not forget that some religious leaders, ones you’d think were moral, have been quite immoral. Need I even bring up the Priest scandals or the protestant gay sex scandals here in the US?

    I really have no comment on Tony Blair other than that I think he did this for his wife, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing a divorce soon.

  2. December 26, 2007 at 15:43

    People are people. Some will make decisions that are unselfish and take others into consideration and other’s won’t. Religion has little effect on a person’s choices. Religion, however, does give people a sense of superiority. That sense of superiority very often leads religious people to think that they can disregard the feelings of those they see as lesser mortals. Somehow war is always clothed in religious superiority.

  3. 3 Kirk WEntzel
    December 26, 2007 at 16:10

    I think religion is the worst invention of mankind. I don’t think religious people have a better moral compass…in fact, because of their inability to accept others I think many (notice I didn’t say all) religious people treat people outside thier little religious club unfairly and with disdain.

    Religion has been a major cause of death, destruction, exclusion and bigotry throughout human history…politicians who tout their religious morality are no better than say, for example, an atheist candidate.

    People are welcome to believe whatever they choose and I respect everyone’s beliefs but I don’t think that any one belief or another makes someone better or more moral or more ethical than others.

  4. 4 Brett Mills
    December 26, 2007 at 16:31

    While religion has historically done a good job to instil moral ideals into the general public, i believe it is exploited and used as a smoke screen to justify political agenda while hiding real causes. It also is used to ‘rally’ individuals for causes. Such as ‘holy wars’ or jihad for instance.

    I view religious politicians as more corrupt than ones who do not let their religion reign paramount in their political agendas.

    How are you to govern or run a city, town, state, country who is comprised of many different religions by making policy decisions which are indicitive of your religion without taking others into account. Racial and religions tension builds in instances such as these which I believe is dissasterous for countries and communities.

    More often than not it seems (and this holds true especially in the 2008 elections in the US) that the candidates are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and claiming their devout religion in hopes that it will boost their ratings and poll standings/votes.

    I don’t even think I need to list the long list of religious leaders who have used their religion to suppress others, cause harm, kill, or force their religion or agenda on other members of the population and other countries.

    Brett – Richmond, Va

  5. 5 John D. Anthony
    December 26, 2007 at 16:39

    Religion might be a positive thing for a politician who would otherwise have no moral compass, but only to the extent that he or she can keep it separate from their job. Simply having a faith does not raise your IQ.

    John in Salem

  6. December 26, 2007 at 16:42

    Well, here we are, waiting for someone, anyone, to emerge from the swamps to take hold of our great presidential race, and yet again, the average American says, “Oh no, who is the lesser of two evils?”
    I guess you could say those candidates with a taste for the scripture are better than those without, but then it would be difficult to explain the past several decades……
    Pandering to the the religious right, left, middle, will get you the vote, we have proved that over and over again, which is perhaps the only thing that matters. The average American is a middle American, and these politicians are not stupid, regardless of what their actions say and do.
    So, you pander to get the vote, works every time, and then you get into office and do one shameless thing after another.
    But, if the economy is good, all will be forgotten.
    On a serious note, perhaps conviction is the key, and yes, having conviction can be essential, at least in my opinion, when it comes to politics because you know about half the population base will be against whatever is you choose to do, so sticking to your beliefs is important.
    However, I don’t really see how religious beliefs would make you a better politician. Religion giving our leaders a better “moral compass” is laughable. Why would anyone moral get involved in our politics to begin with?

  7. December 26, 2007 at 16:44

    Hi to all my good friends in WHYS! Hi to all WHYS good listeners! Politics has no God, and if any politician thinks that he/she can practice politics and at the same time be a devout religious person then he/she must know that he/she is deceiving him/herself before deceiving the others! In my opinion, being a devout religious person means that you must be so concerned about correcting your own faults and mistakes instead of only telling the others that they’re wrong, because if you were really interested in making God satisfied about you then you should be experiencing the journey of “self-correction” on daily bases! With my love! Lubna!

  8. December 26, 2007 at 16:49

    Cathryn Smith, Pennsylvania, US (email)

    So does religious faith help a politician do good for his country?
    I don’t think so – but the important thing is that many people do think so.
    Here in the US, many people are convinced that morality and religion go hand-in-hand. Obviously, this is not true as evidenced by the religious leaders we have seen fall from grace because of corruption and highly-religious elected officials who try to twist our perceptions of right and wrong to suit their actions.
    Our candidates for President are bending over backwards trying to show that they are as religious (or more religious) as the other candidates. This is a ridiculous display that we should ignore. In reality, I believe that – regardless of their religious beliefs – a person’s past actions are a better gauge of his/her future actions than whether or not they are a member of a particular religion. I find that the more a person declares their high moral status, the more suspicious I am of their real motives.

  9. December 26, 2007 at 16:51

    Paul Simons USA (email)

    First in reference to a Newshour story I don’t know how anyone can revere the Egyptian pyramids, etc. – they’re nothing but enormous monuments to slavery. They are the result of massive repression and enslavement base on religion – religion as a proxy for race.

    The current crop of politicians who present their ‘faith’ as a reason to receive votes are the most vile and repugnant collection of garbage since the days of enforced racial segregation in the American south, when politicians vied to be the most racist. I see little difference between some ancient Egyptian pharoah slave-monger and some American Republicans, their game is the same – it’s an appeal to be part of an in-group which aggrandizes, enriches, and empowers itself while vilifying and dehumanizing the out-group.

    I for one choose to at least vilify the in-group.

  10. December 26, 2007 at 17:22

    Steven, Stuttgart (email)

    OF COURSE religious people do not offer anything “better”. Since when has conferring with a childish imaginary friend ever helped ANYONE?

  11. 11 vijay srao
    December 26, 2007 at 17:22

    Does religious belief make for better politicians?” Do religious people have a superior moral compass that helps them work for the good of society more than non-believers.
    Politicians are politicians and anything they do should be viewed with healthy cynicism ,a profession of religious belief may be an attempt garner votes or not lose votes.
    Religious people do not necessarily have a heightened moral compass because merely a statement of belief and an abilty to follow rituals is meaningless if they can not think critically about issues and do what is right for the whole of society.

    The USA is more like third world developing countries in some ways(religion and mentality etc) than it is like northern European civilised socialised countries.

    A lot of the positive elements of religion have been incorporated within administration ,governance and laws in northern Europe(Scandanavia,Benelux,UK,France and Germany) ,so people do not see the benefits of religion ,only the negatives ie .intolerance, bigotry and exclusivity.

    Tony Blair has always been capable of “flexible” thinking and being a Catholic may have been part of his exit strategy (post PM ) he is now a poster boy for catholism and catholics .
    He is working on his personal crusade in the Holy land(Israel, Palestine, Syria and Jordan) and being a person of faith will help him in his task.

    In the UK about 150 years ago Catholics and Jews may have been viewed with suspicion by the people and government because there was doubt about their loyalty to the crown and the UK ,were catholics more loyal to the Pope than the Queen ,were jews more loyal to zionism and Israel rather than the UK and the monarch ,did these groups show more affinity for their coreligionists (by forming monopolies,cliques ,cabals and practicing “entryism”)and therefore discrimate against the rest of the population.

    Sonia and Rahul Gandhi should not have set foot in Gujrat ,it should have been left to the local leadership and selected central Congress leaders.
    There was no need to lead from the front in this campaign because large sections in Gujrat and Maharastra are very backward in their thinking when it comes to anybody who is not Hindu and Upper Caste .

  12. 12 John in Utah
    December 26, 2007 at 18:04

    Religion does not make one better suited for public office. Just look at our current American president. No one doubts his religious conviction, yet his approval ratings are terrible. Many would agree with me that he has completely bungled his job as president of the United States.

  13. December 26, 2007 at 18:11



  14. December 26, 2007 at 18:13

    Religious in a multi-faith society should be left aside. Many atrocities were carried out in the name of religion. In recent history, there were many incidents. Yugoslavia was broken up because of religious tensions between Muslims and Christians. Lebanon has so far failed to elect a president because of political disagreement between political factions whose background is religious. The president in this country should be a Maronite Christian. Politicians because of their different faiths have different alliances even outside their country. The Shiites are allied with Iran and Syria. The Sunnis are allied to Saudi Arabia and the United States. India can be a good model about religious tolerance when it comes to politics as it had a Muslim president, although Muslims don’t make the majority of Indians.

    Religion can be a card used to sway the voters. In the USA, Obama has been attacked because of suspicion about his religious background and the Muslim religion of his stepfather. Religion can serve just a moral code but it shouldn’t be used as a weapon to discriminate against opponents of other faiths.

    Politicians in power as in Iran use mosques to make their points. The Iranian president has made many of his political speeches on Friday prayers. But in the eyes of many Iranians that despite religious devotion, he doesn’t make a good president. It can be a disaster for Iran because of his uncompromising attitude. George Bush is unpopular although he’s religiously devout.

    People expect from politicians integrity and competence. Secular political system can be a compromise for countries on the brink for break-up because of tensions between religious factions. Religion alone isn’t enough for better governance. What matters is tolerance on all levels, including political and religious tendencies.

  15. December 26, 2007 at 18:13

    Kwabena Brewu, Accra, Ghana (text)

    As long as such politicians respect others of different religions its ok to be a religious politician.

  16. December 26, 2007 at 18:21

    Kalenga from the DRC (email)

    True religion teaches love, unity, peace,…
    If we are talking about partisan politics then true religion can’t be mixed with politics. A democrat fight to make sure that a republican doesn’t win the elections but true religion teaches that we have to cooperate, love one another and work for the betterment of humanity.
    I can serve humanity without being a politician.

  17. December 26, 2007 at 18:22

    S E K Fallah,Freetown (text)

    Politics and religion are inseparable,since both deal with people.

  18. December 26, 2007 at 18:22

    Karo Umukoro. Lagos. Nigeria. (text)

    Piety can’t elevate the poverty of the people. Religion without true demonstration of your faith is sheer hypocrisy.

  19. December 26, 2007 at 18:22

    Owen mdindo.malawi. (text)

    i will always trust religious politicians because most faiths believe in love, which helps with good governance.

  20. December 26, 2007 at 18:24

    Davie Kadyampakeni, Lilongwe, MALAWI. (text)

    Religion & politics are 2 sides of the same coin. They ought to go hand in hand.

  21. December 26, 2007 at 18:24

    Maghboeba in Cleveland, Ohio (email)

    I absolutely do not believe that your religion gives you the moral high ground. Most people I know, whether politicians or ordinary folk, that loudly proclaim to be religious are hypocrites. They often use religion when it suits them and furthermore, they only use the religious principles that supports their “un religious” and unethical ways. Religious politicians will not get my vote – if anything, it will make me even more suspicious of them. It is your actions that will get my vote, not your religion. It is your religious tolerance that will get my vote rather than your specific religious beliefs. Religion and politics do not mix — lets just take a look at the state of the world to see the truth in that.

  22. December 26, 2007 at 18:25

    Jude in Vancouver, Canada (email)

    We all know many polititians say they believe in god to win votes. Perhaps a better question is whether god believes in poltitians?

  23. December 26, 2007 at 18:25

    Tom in Bend, OR (email)

    A person old enough to enough to lead a nation ought to have matured and stopped playing with childish imaginary friends.

  24. December 26, 2007 at 18:29

    Sanjay in Seattle, Washington (email)

    Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.

  25. December 26, 2007 at 18:32

    ALEX in zambia (text)
    In zambia one has to walk a fine line when dealing with religion and politics. ALL people of the collar have never been taken seriously when it comes to being in political office.

  26. December 26, 2007 at 18:33

    I am religious but I am always uncomfortable with politicians flying Religious flags.

  27. December 26, 2007 at 18:34

    Hemzley frm Malawi (text)

    Politics & religion shall never mix, I’d rather trust a non religious politician to avoid being disappointed. Religion is an illusion.

  28. December 26, 2007 at 18:35

    Dr J.Kamani jos Nigeria (text)
    Politicians can be religious but most of them are hypocritical using religion as a means to an end.

  29. December 26, 2007 at 18:36

    GB – OB/USA (emails)
    Actually Bush hasn’t practiced much religion even though he espouses it so much. He doesn’t attend church with any regularity the way Clinton and past presidents have. I am not sure that falling to one’s knees after years of bad behavior makes one religious.

  30. 30 Linda
    December 26, 2007 at 18:36

    Get religion out of politics and we can achieve world peace. I don’t care what religion a politician is – but when he/she announces it they have eliminated their ability to rule a country.

  31. December 26, 2007 at 18:37

    Anyii George, Kampala (text)
    Since religious societies are administered by politicians, religion and politics should not be separated. Religious politicians are more likely to lead society better.

  32. December 26, 2007 at 18:38

    Bill from Bend, Oregon, USA (email)

    there is nothing more dangerous than a religious fanatic. if those of religious beliefs would live by the word of their profits, we would not be killing each other. When was the last time you heard quotes from the sermon on the mount? the separation of church and state is paramount. Praising God to get votes will be the down fall of a free society.

  33. December 26, 2007 at 18:40

    John in Salem (email)

    Religion might be a positive thing for a politician who would otherwise have no moral compass, but only to the extent that he or she can keep it separate from their job. Simply having a faith does not raise your IQ.

  34. December 26, 2007 at 18:41

    Bill Bend, Oregon, USA (email)

    Religion in literature is considered myth. Would you want a leader who puts myth over science? Political or otherwise. Believing God is on you side giving you the right to kill is an abomination.

  35. December 26, 2007 at 18:42

    Arojjofumbi, Tororo-Uganda. (text)
    All politicians that claim to be religious are only Machavalian, not religious in the real sense.

  36. December 26, 2007 at 18:42

    I feel religion is a personal aspect; and as far as possible should not be allowed to come into public sphere. All through the ages, religion has been a divisive factor sparking off conflicts. It’s ironic since all religions preach peace, happiness, and better well being. But all over the world so much of blood is being spilt over religion.

    I don’t agree with what is going on in the US. This is the time the US should really separate religion from state. I don’t approve of mixing religion with politics in Gujarat in my country India either. I don’t think Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, should have invoked religion. He has won, not because of it, but in spite of it.

    I don’t trust politicians who invoke religion in the public sphere.

  37. December 26, 2007 at 18:42

    Majer Goch Wuoi, in Akuai-Deng Sudan.
    I believe that religion plays vital role in politics because a religious leader can run the society in good faith.

  38. December 26, 2007 at 18:42

    Pradeep in Bangalore, India (email)

    Dear Rahul Tandon,

    I am listening to the programme.

    I feel religion is a personal aspect; and as far as possible should not be allowed to come into public sphere. All through the ages, religion has been a divisive factor sparking off conflicts. It’s ironic since all religions preach peace, happiness, and better well being. But all over the world so much of blood is being spilt over religion.

    I don’t agree with what is going on in the US. This is time the US should really separate religion from state. I don’t approve of mixing religion with politics in Gujarat in my country India either. I don’t think Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, should have invoked religion. He has won, not because of it, but in spite of it.

    I don’t trust politicians who invoke religion in public sphere.

    Best wishes and warm regards,

  39. December 26, 2007 at 18:43

    Ahmed Alim,Somalia (text)
    Religious politicians are more reliable than the secular ones.these faith-driving politicians have in mind that they are accountable to Allah.

  40. December 26, 2007 at 18:43

    Tilman Baumann from Germany (email)

    I can not trust any religious politician. Because they add their own moral concept and view of the world on top of the usual basic moral and sense of truth every sane person has.
    I’m confident that a atheist person has the better foundation to be a good person and a good leader.

    Most people are religious. And i have no problem with that.
    But i have a problem which people which put their religion over everything. And since there is no fine line between sanity and extremism, i tend to mistrust people who expose their religion.
    Especially when they are in power.
    And i have to say. I’m proven right most the time.

  41. December 26, 2007 at 18:47

    Steve in USA (email)

    If you look at world events, as much as PC people like to talk about how Diversity is a good thing, nations are breaking up, and segregating themselves. Yugoslavia was held together by a dictator, but was constituted of many different groups that do not like each other. Now there are many independent nations of the former Yugoslavia. The Indian subcontinent was split because people couldn’t get along with each other. Even in the same religion, certain nations will split up, like how Scotland will eventually break out of the UK. Quebec will separate from Canada (though they are catholic). It just seems that it’s nice to talk about embracing diversity on paper, but in practice, people don’t like people that are different than them. Just watch what happens all over the world, though you are free to live in denial. Religion is just one aspect of people’s intolerance of other people. If it weren’t religion, then it would be language or race.

  42. December 26, 2007 at 18:48

    Tom in Bend, OR, USA (email)

    Historically, religion has always been used to manipulate and oppress people, so religionists should never ever be trusted in political power.

  43. December 26, 2007 at 18:49

    Alidu Giwa Ghana (text)
    Religion and politics are two side of socialization process.a good religious leader will surely be a good politician .TAMAL

  44. December 26, 2007 at 18:49

    PRADEEP, Bangalore.(text)
    Religion is personal not to be used in public sphere.

  45. December 26, 2007 at 18:54

    Claire, USA (text)
    I strongly believe that morality can only come forth from an innate belief that certain things are wrong and others right. Religion on the other hand prescribes morality as a set of rules to be followed. Humans break rules, it is part of an inevitable human weakness for temptation. A religious person who only sees morality as something he HAS to adhere to, is therefore more likely to break these rules and behave immorally, unlike an atheist who doesn t act morally because he has to, but because he wants to. Examples: numerous sex scandals amongst very religious politicians, who excuse it as temptation. A baptist friend, wanting me to cheat on my husband, once told me, the atheist: ” if I were an atheist i d cheat on my partner!” I think that says it all

  46. 46 Chernor Jalloh
    December 26, 2007 at 18:55

    Politicians who know very much about their religious beliefs can do better when they get into politics.The only problem that will arise against them is when they donot respect what they have learnt in their holy books. Thus,people shouldnot be afraid of religious politicians.Nowadays,whenever religious groups win elections there will be anoutcry,because of the strict laws that they might impose on the population.And there is this action of intimidation not to allow any religious member to win in election.The incumebent president who is secular will do everything possible to rig the elections.

  47. December 26, 2007 at 18:55

    Chris, India (text)

    There is no harm in having religious politicians. But it’s dangerous to have politically religious! We bear testimony to it in India

  48. December 26, 2007 at 18:55

    Ronald (email)

    Religion is regulation and so is politics, one is out of date and the other is contemporary. What’s the use of duplicating and diluting the whole situation.

  49. December 26, 2007 at 18:56

    Jan Edens, Netherlands

    I think that religious persons are NOT suitable for politicians.
    When persons say that God directs then towards a specific direction, that cannot be discussed because God gives his message only to that person and God does not speak to the other person.
    When we look at the history what religin has brougt us I see Cathars, the Reformation with the inquisition, slavery etc. I’d like to hear the positive side of religious policy.

  50. December 26, 2007 at 18:57

    Andrew Ikoya-Uganda. (text)
    You can’t mix religion and politics. Politics is such a dirty game tht always compromises others to achieve goals.e.g America’s invasion in Iraq.

  51. December 26, 2007 at 18:57

    Basher From London, U.K. (email)

    Most of your answers and questions are based on separating religion from its religious arena. Here are some of questions like opinions which I would like your listeners to consider:

    If a religion itself claims to be a political; how do you deny that?

    Without the political power, some kind of personal betterment could be done but for a total moral and socio-cultural development of society, we need religion to be meddled together with politics.

    The other thing is that, should we judge and brand all religion as same? Shouldn’t we judge and investigate each of the religions whether it has got the capacity to dictate over vast area of human life and in the political sphere.

    If one wants to separate ones religion from politics, doesn’t it mean that God has no power over political life?

  52. 52 Neil McGowan
    December 26, 2007 at 19:19

    Religion in politics is a complete sham.

    Christianity preaches – in theory, at least – the virtues of forgiveness, tolerance, love for one’s fellow man, and non-violence. However, the politicians of the “Religious Right” in America are, to a man, bloodthirsty vengeful warmongers motivated by hatred, greed and a pathological worship of warfare and violence.

    There hasn’t been a blood-drenched madman in history who hasn’t claimed that “God Is With Us” – Bush, Blair and Hitler all fit this tediously-repeated pattern.

    Blair has converted to Catholicism, apparently. I hope his soul burns in Hades for his sins for all eternity.

  53. December 26, 2007 at 19:31

    Always remember: Hitler was a devout Catholic.

  54. 54 Will Rhodes
    December 26, 2007 at 20:37

    “Does religious belief make for better politicians?”

    No – and neither do career politicians.

  55. 55 Syed Hasan Turab
    December 26, 2007 at 21:09

    Any thing at the extreem always cause trouble, any way religion is a blessing & diversity is strength, even extreem democrates are not good for our society.
    No doubt religion is a sensative issue so do the tradition’s, adoption more them absorment capasity always irretate society because of extreemism.
    Religions & traditions always plays an important role in transformation of human society.

  56. December 26, 2007 at 21:43

    This reminds me of ye olden days when people worried that a Catholic king would report to the Pope rather than to God and the people, thus giving the Pope power over the kingdom. A religious politician poses the same question: Will (s)he serve the people as the job calls for? Or will (s)he serve his or her religious interests, giving the Church of whatever name power over the country? Frankly, the latter scares me senseless. I want the Constitution upheld, not the Bible, Koran, Lotus Sutra or any other “holy” book.

  57. December 27, 2007 at 03:15

    It depends.

    MK Gandhi was deeply religious person, yet he could trnscend religions for his ideals.

    The same true with Martin Luther both old & new ones.
    And there are Popes & Khomenies on the other hand.

    Everything is just merely a tool, how it’s handled that’s more important.

  58. December 27, 2007 at 03:59

    I”Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
    ~~ Blaise Pascal, French philosopher ~~

    Now then, look at history and tell me it this isn’t true? During the Third Reich the German Wehrmacht wore belt buckles inscribed with “Gott Mit Uns” (God
    is with us)! Today’s politicians are no different.

    Under the “Religious, born again” Right wingers, and their God Bush, we have found a way to:
    2) CONDONE LYING — under oath, no less — to start an ILLEGAL and UNJUST WAR;
    3) Murder scores of unarmed civilians, US troops, coalition troops.
    4) Subvert the Constitution and the RULE OF LAW, after promising – with one hand on the BIBLE – to “support and defend the Constitution”, “so help me God”!
    5) Suspend Habeas Corpus and deny justice to suspects, who are PRESUMED GUILTY, until they can PROVE innocence, without benefit of a FAIR trial – rather than a MILITARY TRIBUNAL!
    6) Increased police power, so that at least 290 unarmed civilians are TAZERED TO DEATH … and the list goes on and on!

    And as these “True Believers” continue to spin their version of “truth”, thousands continue to die! NEED I SAY MORE!

    Religion and Politics is a TOXIC MIX!

  59. December 27, 2007 at 11:36


    wow sorry I missed that one. One of my favorite subjects. First we all have “religious beliefs” of some sort. Satanism is a religion just the same as evangelicals. The difference is that the Satanist seems a bit less hypocritical. Every candidate brings some kind of belief structure to the table.

    A problem occurs when there is a professed religious doctrine such as Christianity and then courses of actions contrary to the professed doctrine. As an example, let’s say that a president says he is Christian. Christianity implies the teachings of Christ. By extension, a doctrine of love, compassion, pacifism, tolerance, forgiveness, the ten commandments, and sacrifice are implied. However, said president takes an insult engineered by a few dozen nutcases in an impoverished drug infested country; and uses it as a spring board to set the entire middle east alight resulting in the direct and indirect killing of hundreds of thousands of people, then that would not be “Christian”. The “religious beliefs” he was elected on would make great political policies. However, in this case he did not adhere to the beliefs.

    Lord Of Logic

  60. 60 Arnaud
    December 27, 2007 at 11:54

    this is why we have a lot of troubles today, religion and politics are not compatible at all. the mixture of the two is a detestable thing in God’s eyes. there is no place in the bible says that the two should mix, because you can’t serve two masters at once. give what belongs to cesar to cesar and give what belongs to God to God. the rule of this mixture is a rule of a man, surely the rule of God only will be.

    Arnaud, Rwandan in Cameroon

  61. 61 Henry
    December 27, 2007 at 11:58

    No! Religious politicians are always suspect to me, and as they say “Find me an honest politician and you have found the eighth wonder of the world” The modern world has no place for hypocritical religeous politicians,and religeous leader generally.

  62. 62 George
    December 27, 2007 at 13:23

    Without a fear of God, there is no sin, no morality and no law.

    Religion is the worship of God.

    Those who hate God Almighty are the worshipers & servants of Satan- a false god.

    Satan worship, where anything goes, is just as much a religion as worshiping God Almighty.

    So all politicians serve one or the other: God or Satan.

    If you want senseless evil committed through government, elect the worshipers and servants of Satan.

    If you want the blessings of God Almighty elect folk who serve Him.

  63. 63 George
    December 27, 2007 at 13:30

    Lydia Selwood-

    By their fruits you will know them.

    You make an argument that those who practice such things are not of God.

    God Almighty is not the problem, nor those who serve God.

    People pretending to be of God, yet serving the father of lies do not worship or serve God.

    Your classic error of logic faults the wrong party.

    I say again: all politicians and humans of every stripe serve God or Satan, one or the other.

    By your and their fruits, we see which.

  64. 64 pendkar
    December 27, 2007 at 15:46

    Tony Blair’a p

  65. 65 pendkar
    December 27, 2007 at 16:23

    Tony Blair’s personal religious faith is very different from Modi’s playing with religious identity of a community. If Blair drew strength from his beliefs while in office, he kept it private. I am impressed with that sense of responsibility. I wish India had more public figures like that. Blair might as well have drawn that kind of support from a personal psychologist, for the difference his faith made to his politics (from what it appears).

    A politician with integrity and sound values is obviously good for the society. How he/she acquires those values is not exactly relevant. It could be the case of having an enlightened individual. It could be due to religious influences. In that case, it is imperative for the politician to keep private beliefs separated from public duties – especially in multi-religious countries.

    In India, the politicians are long past using religion as a private influence. They create strong communal identities on the basis of religion and then manipulate the insecurities (or perceived insecurities) of the community.

    By the way, the resistance to accepting Sonia Gandhi may have nothing to do with religion.

  66. 66 bethbird
    March 21, 2008 at 09:06

    Church and state must remain seperate to allow for freedom of religon or it will become a state religon. It is not just a matter of religon but beliefs that happen in United States. We have a state of a mutual belief due to many ideas. Religon doctrine were rules created to organize groups of civilization into a acceptable behaivor. If death of eternity is a threat or bad karma, people tend to think before they act and then may go with a cultural norm rather than their own wants. Faith is one thing, doctrine another.

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