Democracy and Religion

In my “Unsettling America” class we recently discussed Democracy and Religion, and I think it is pertinent here after the “Democracy” section by Fred Moten in Keywords.  While Moten touches more on what constitutes a democracy, and the Democrats from a political party aspect, religion is still relevant to democracy.

Religion and democracy relate as religion facilitates the cultivation of liberty and democracy in America.  In a democracy, to an extent courtesy of religion, all are considered equal. Religions effect everyone being equal, as all should be deemed equal, especially according to Alexis de Tocqueville.

Without religion, people may be immoral and have minimal incentive to adhere to laws.  People follow rules through the guidance of religion.  Without this religion, people essentially could “run wild,” without regards to anyone or anything.  Religion had an effect on laws, especially regarding civil rights and religion.  To call the Civil Rights Movement a religious revival would be an injustice, as the movement was too big to have any one label on it.  But, to say it had nothing to do with religion, would be naive.  All people, no matter there race, ethnicity, or creed are created equally, and the Civil Rights Movement tried to establish just that.

Liberty and democracy are about freedom and free-thought.  Religion promotes both of these, even if, for the free-thought, that it was likely first conceived through notions and concepts of religion.  One would be remiss to not mention just how intertwined Religion and democracy truly are.


2 thoughts on “Democracy and Religion

  1. josafir Post author

    As Huntington talks about the “West and the Rest,” it almost seems like a survival of the fittest stylistically (power and values). I thought it was particularly interesting in the reading that he gave 3 options: isolationism, bandwagoning, or balancing out the Westernization. Since imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, I would expect bandwagoning to be the most popular option. When Huntington discusses his six reasons as to why conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from one another, he talks about religion, in particular the “unsecularization of the world.” Religion is so loosely defined and talked about as is, that it is easy to see and realize how one can manipulate it for good and/or bad purposes.

    For example, when talking about secularization itself, it can be talked about and manipulated both in a positive and negative manner. If I say, “I believe the secular is a place undefined by religion, where anyone can believe what they want and choose the religion they want, or not be religious at all, uninfluenced by others” that sounds like a place one may want to be. But, I can phrase the same line saying, “I believe the secular is a place undefined by religion, where no one really has any long-term goals as there apathy towards religion is how they view everything. The absence of religion is a symbolism for the people in these area as a whole.”

  2. evdunbar

    I think what you’re saying about religion and democracy has merit, but what might happen if you carried this idea forward and linked it to one of the larger readings for this week’s class? how might the link between religion and democracy be problematic if read along side a reading like “Clash of Civilizations”? It seems to me that such a joint reading would push you (us) to consider how religion has been manipulated for both good (civil rights) and evil (the war on terror). Also, it should be noted that black leaders were forced to frame black equality within the discourse of “Civil Rights” and not “Human Rights,” which is what it began as, because the US government would have considered a push for human rights to be too aligned with Red politics (Russian/Communist).

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