Religion and Politics:
What's at Stake in Our Presidential Elections?
The political life of the United States is beginning to look very much like a religious civil war. The bitterness and fervor exhibited by both factions in this presidential election are spawned by conflicting sets of convictions about the nature and purpose of human community. The religious dimension of the present conflict is actually not new. The separation of church and state has never led to a divorce of faith and politics in our national life. Because religions deal with ultimate values and convictions, inevitably people of faith will strive to enact those values in the political sphere. The current polarization of “red states” versus “blue states” is fueled by divergent visceral religious passions. In this series we shall explore the strange and complex saga of the interaction of religion and political life in the United States. If we can understand the roots of our polarization, perhaps we can learn to appreciate divergent perspectives more, and even find a way to talk about faith and politics without demonizing one another. Our churches, more than other venues, should be safe places where these often painful and tense conversations about basic values can occur.