The Newsroom Blog

Religion and Political Participation

"What role should religious leaders have -- or not have -- in government policymaking?" That was the question posed this week at On Faith, an online forum featuring a wide spectrum of religious experts who discuss important issues regarding the intersection of religion and public life. As a long-time member of the panel, Michael Otterson, managing director of the Church's Public Affairs Department, addressed some of the broader philosophical aspects of the religious freedom debate. He explains why political participation in our democratic system is a right that belongs to everyone, including those representing churches and religious organizations. You can read the entire column here. Excerpts:

Laws are a reflection of the particular social, economic, cultural, and even religious mores of a people living under a single jurisdiction. These values, and the myriad complex factors they entail, all contribute to the legislative process. Likewise, each constituent part of society has opportunity for expression. Why should churches or their leaders be singled out as unfit participants?
Anyone interested in the success of the political process should step back and carefully ponder the consequences of excluding religion from the public square. Do we really want to relegate religious organizations to second-class status? And who gets to decide whose participation is valid and whose is not?

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