One thing that gets my blood pressure up more than usual is when politicians base their decisions on their own, personal, religious beliefs. Admittedly, I come to this topic as a non-believer, and that colors my perspective.
It’s sometimes hard for me to write eloquently on this topic because it drives me crazy. Luckily, I read an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson today and he put it so well, I just have to share it here.
Q. What do you make of that anti-science demagoguery in our political discourse right now? Is that just ideological biases triumphing over good thinking?
The moment you start bringing your personal belief system into governance, then that’s the end of pluralistic democracy. We have words for governance like that and they’re called dictatorships. You have a belief system, you have a philosophy, and that philosophy has some adherence and others have their own philosophies. Those are your personal truths. One of them is, “Jesus is your Savior.” I’m not going to say that Jesus is not your savior. That is your personal truth. But, in a country where we have different religions, if the person who said: “Jesus is your Savior” is going to govern a pluralist country, then their legislations must be based on objective truths, not personal truths.
And personal truths are not only religious. You can have political personal truths. You keep those to yourself or your political group. But, to impose them on others is to do away with the freedom that a free democracy gives you. Now, getting back to your point, we have people in Congress whose job is to pass laws. If they pass laws based on things that are not objectively true, that’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.
So there it is. We have all read about or were there to remember when President Kennedy spoke about his faith and how it would effect his decision making. ” I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.” Too many politicians these days put their own personal religious beliefs above the common good and it drives me absolutely crazy. I think part of the reason we are seeing this more is that the congressional districts have been gerrymandered and most districts are very safe for incumbents.