Religion in Society and Politics
To anyone who is always up to date with global news, it is apparent that faith has had and continues to have an appreciable impact on the sociopolitical fabric. While there are aspects of faith that have been responsible for social nourishment, others have created unrest and chaos.
Religion has an influence on politics. Even in the United States. Religion remains an important political factor in the United states. The religion of politicians will partly have an influence on voters’ decision. Outside the United States, in an interview with the BBC, the Nigerian Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi says that Nigerians who are not very educated will look at politics as solely a religious issue. “In voting, they are actually fighting a religious affair so it doesn’t matter who the candidate is so long as he belongs to your denomination or religion….”, he says in a BBC video, as a response to the religiously polarized presidential candidacy. Some Nigerians might fail to vote for the Muslim candidate – even if they prefer him to Jonathan- in suspicion of potential adoption of sheria law. Others may simply put faith before reason. The essentiality of the contribution of politics to economic development is sabotaged. Religious leaders should take the responsibility of decoupling religion and politics.
Religion has had a deep footprint on the society as well. The major perturbations in social dynamics are attributable to the religions of the cultures that happen to share a socio-geopolitical region. This has been amplified by the fact that each culture generally tends to be of a particular religion. This has a massive effect on social relations. The recent attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine premises, allegedly motivated by the claimed ridicule and mockery of prophet Mohamed, seemed to be directed at Jews rather than the individual or organization the attackers felt offended by. The killing of four Jews at kosher supermarket in Paris gives the public the impression that this is a cultural war. People of Israelite origin and people of Arab origin end up living in hostility and distrust. Some of the Jews have been known to be emigrating to Israel in the name of safety. The effect is an alteration of social structure and the challenge of integrating into new societies. Interaction of the cultures in the economic and public service domain is disrupted and this can have serious repercussions.
Having said the above, another common social construction is in a religious grip is homosexuality. Many non-Western cultures hold onto their beliefs that it has never been part of their culture and therefore they cannot create room for it. Besides, it is not religious. They argue so, quoting the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, a biblical account. Iran conducted gender reassignment as a therapy for homosexuality, which they consider as misplaced identity. Homosexuality is not welcome there because it is thought to be anti-Islamic, and it is illegalized under the Sheria law. The pope’s liberalism towards homosexuality has been thwarted by the rest of the Catholics. The Catholic Church needs discussions.
The impact religion has on both the society and the individual is immeasurable. Religion is credited with social cohesion in certain instances, and personal spirituality has offered a sense of worth. However, it need’s decoupling from politics and social life in some isolated cases for peaceful coexistence.