Nobody voted for Jesus

If Jesus were to run for president back in his day, it’s safe to say that Pontius Pilate probably would have crucified him in the polls.

Yet religion seems to play an all-important role in elections of any sort. No matter what the government, or who’s voting, religion seems to be a deciding factor.

Every man who has ever been elected president of the United States from Washington to Obama, has publicly claimed to identify as a follower of Jesus Christ in some way. That’s an astounding fact if you really think about it. There has been no religious diversity in the Presidency, ever. Many ignorant Americans would claim that President Obama is a Muslim, but all informed voters and citizens know that simply isn’t the case.

It’s true that Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States. Why is that so important?

Religion is important to some because people want to see someone like-minded in a leadership position. I get that, for the most part. If this similarity was always the case, we would be robbed of some of the greatest things in our society. I’m not going to list people who are different from the average American, but it’s clear we need diversity: new and different ideas from new and different types of people.

Where the roads of Religion and Politics meet. Graphic by Haylie Wise.
Where the roads of religion and politics meet. Graphic by Haylie Wise.

Is religion really that important in elections? Many people argue that religious beliefs and practices show character. I hope I don’t have to explain to you that this isn’t always true. My favorite example would be Charles Manson, the Helter Skelter killer and founder of the Manson Family. He was obsessed with the Bible, Christianity, and specifically the book of Revelations. He didn’t have the soundest moral character.

Religion can be a good indicator of certain viewpoints. Conservative southern Baptist Christians aren’t usually the biggest fans of boys kissing boys, or ladies lip-locking. They generally aren’t too fond of women having control over their own bodies or the ability to utilize available medical resources either. Here lies my next question: how will religion in politics impact non-religious voters?

In personal research and inquiries on campus, I’ve discovered that even atheists have some use for religious background information. After all, if an atheist is conservative in their beliefs, they know that they’re probably going to align better with someone from a more conservative religious sect or branch rather than some pot-smoking Wicca hippie. Yet, a more liberal atheist may have no issue voting for a gay candidate. A shallow and ignorant voter may judge a nominee solely on her sexual orientation, and prefer a candidate that is against gay marriage.

So, is voting in religion an important factor? Perhaps; I’m not arguing that religion is unimportant. In fact, I find it to be one of the most important aspects of society. What I’m arguing is that moral character, political beliefs, educational background and former career(s) are the truly important things. Yet many of these traits can be tied to a person’s religious faith. I personally wouldn’t want a Satan worshiping, Lucifer-hailing, pentagram-in-goat’s-blood sort of guy in the Oval Office. But Hell, that doesn’t make him or her a bad person for worshiping Satan. I’m simply trying to play the Devil’s advocate, here. Happy voting!