Christians sure like invoking Jesus a lot. Usually it’s for perfectly legitimate reasons — health problems, family issues, emergencies. But, sometimes it’s a bit unnecessary, like the time I prayed for a parking spot in Manhattan (and found one! Booyah, heathens!), or when politicians invoke Christianity to score political points.
The most recent example is Republican rising star Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin congressman who recently got a bunch of religious folks talking when he claimed that his budget plan was created “using my Catholic faith.” Many Catholics and other Christians responded either by claiming Ryan doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or by saying that he’s speaking the Gospel truth.
Now instead of turning this into a debate on how Jesus would vote on Ryan’s budget, let me stop right here and say that Paul Ryan has created a debate that is both pointless and juvenile. It’s time for people to stop using their religious values to back up their arguments.
When supporters invoke religious values in defense of their political ideas, they are attempting to demonize (literally) their opponents. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say myself and you, (whoever you are, look at my cartoon to imagine this situation properly) are in Congress debating the construction of a road. You point out that the road should be built because God wants it to be built. As an opponent of the road, my possible responses are handicapped, because now you’re making the debate more about religion and less about the roads. The only way I can win the debate now, is to argue about religion, which I really don’t feel like doing. And let’s not forget that you’re making yourself out to be a messenger of God. I can’t argue with that, so I lose.
Political debates and discussions should be kept free of deities or religions to create discourse based on, well, facts.
In fact, here’s some other places that you should probably keep religion out of. Cue the bullet point:
- Sports – Whoa! Tim Tebow loves Jesus! That doesn’t mean his kneeling will convince God to magically force footballs to land neatly into receivers’ hands.
- Awards shows – So the rapper thanked his record label, his crack dealer, and God. If only his nemesis had thanked God rhetorically too, he would’ve been the one going home with a Grammy.
- Public Schools – Evolution is a theory, yes. Intelligent design and creationism are excuses for religious folks to shove religion into public schools.
I write this article as a devout Catholic who typically votes liberal. I love my faith and I pray regularly. When I want to talk politics though, I keep my religion out of it. Politics shouldn’t be tainted with religion, and religious values shouldn’t be tainted by politics.