As with most questions of values, the debate is not about the observable facts but what the facts mean. Even two astronomers can agree about celestial movements, but disagree about why objects move that way.
The facts, in brief: The 111th Congress appears to be more religious than the American people. Ninety-nine percent of the new Congress claims a religious affiliation, compared with only 84% of the American people. (See yesterday’s post for more details).
What do these facts mean?
Just a way to get votes, says Eoghan: “If the Congress found out they could get more votes by using yellow ball point pens, wearing orange wing-tips and magenta beanies, you’d see them all doing exactly that…That’s all that religious affiliation really means, they are using any means available to them to GET VOTES.”
Good point. No doubt some members of Congress have a religious affiliation just because they want votes. A religious affiliation is part of a successful political resume.
But why is a religious affiliation necessary? Sure, some Senators and Representatives claim a religion out of naked cynicism and expediency. But even for cynical members of Congress, why is it necessary to fake a religious affiliation?
In most of Europe, claiming a religious affiliation is a surefire way to get defeated in elections. In America, it helps to get votes.
The true motives and actual beliefs of our Senators and Representatives are not important. What’s important is what the need to have a religious affiliation means.
We Americans require our political leaders to reflect our ideals. Religion is an American value. America is an odd secular society because religion is so much a part of it. The religious composition of the 111th Congress is evidence of it. Even if we don’t personally have a religious affiliation, we prefer that our leaders do – even if some cynically claim a religion just to get votes.
But, what do you think about this?
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