Religion and Politics: Even in America too By Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events:– #Opinion
Religion has been around the corridors of history for a very long time. It has not just been around, it has been very influential in the affairs of mankind especially in politics.
Though the influence of religion has waned, we have seen how the world moved from having Christian empires and Muslim monarchies into a world where there are probably more secular than religious states, Religion has been relevant in shaping politics.
One would think that the impact of religion in deciding who wins elections is limited to a handful of African and third world countries, this is wrong. Religion is still a factor even in a country as “first world” as the United States of America.
The two dominant parties have locked horns on policies with religious implications. While the conservative party seems to favor policies that are sympathetic to traditional Christian beliefs, the liberal party disagrees. This is evident in the stance of both camps on issues like abortion, school prayers, and LGBT.
Although the number of religious people seems to be on the decline in the United States, they are still large enough to determine and influence election outcomes. With this in mind, a smart political actor will be doing himself good by winning the heart of religious people.
Since his emergence, Donald Trump has found a way to brand himself as an ambassador for evangelical Christians. With his pro-Christian/religious rhetorics, he has won the heart of Christian believers both within the U.S and beyond. It is pertinent to state that he will be getting a large chunk of votes from the Christian base.
For political gains, Trump has used religion to his advantage. He once stood in front of a church with a Bible in hand and was caught on camera surrounded by Christians who were stretching forth their hands towards him in prayer.
That is a smart way to reach out to the percentage of Americans that believe in Christianity, people who are most likely going to vote for him due to his pro-Christian bias.
In his numerous tweets, he has attempted to discredit his main opponent Joe Biden simply by telling his audience that Joe is against Religion.
Trump wouldn’t be doing that if religion doesn’t influence the choice of voters in the U.S.
Although the Muslim-Americans constitute a smaller percentage of voters in the American elections, Trump’s attitude to Muslims has been used by his opponents to convince the American Muslims why he or she shouldn’t vote for Trump. The odds are that more Muslims would vote for the democratic party than a Trump-led conservative party.
Nevertheless, despite the fact that religion influences the choice of voters in developed countries as well as under-developed countries, its impact is not as pronounced as in the former than in the latter as other issues supersede the issues built around religion.
This could be probably a result of the dominance of a particular religious group in these developed countries like the U.S whereas most developing or underdeveloped countries are highly polarised by almost equal strength of members of diverse religions.
For instance, while voters in Nigeria will prefer a candidate based on religious grounds without recourse to other pertinent issues like competence and expertise of the said candidate, religious voters in America are likely to combine religious grounds with the rating of a candidate on other pertinent issues before making a choice in the election.
Of course, neither Joe nor Trump will stand a chance at the Presidential Polls of they were Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists. Americans will even prefer a non-believing candidate to a candidate from other religions outside Christianity.
The reason is that the American society was built on Christian values, with one of the major parties acting as a custodian of such principles, it will take a long time before we get an America where religion is thrown into the bin during elections.
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