In the King James Version of the Bible, passage Mark 12:17 greatly emphasized the separation of politics and religion. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” it says.
The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights emphasizes the importance of separation of church and state. Both the Bible and the Bill of Rights agree on the fact that religion and politics do not mix, just like oil and water. At one point or another, they are bound to disconnect due to the differences of ideological values and components.
Republicans noted for their highly religious values have overlooked the Mark 12:17 passage, as well as the importance of separation of church and state as stated in the First Amendment. Some candidates in the 2012 Republican presidential primary are using religion as a campaign tool to gain popularity in the polls.
Candidates disregard the purpose of serving the majority instead of serving their religious constituents. Principles of governing cannot be inspired by religion. Political policies on issues such as abortion and gay rights should be constructed for the majority of the people, not just religious citizens.
Campaigning must be focused on real issues of the foreseeable future, such as how to better the economy, education and the well being of all Americans. Nominees of the Republican party, or any future candidate running for the presidency, should take a lesson from President John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who believed his religious beliefs had nothing to do with his qualifications for president.
In Kennedy’s Sept. 12, 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, he said: “I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party’s candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters and the church does not speak for me.”
In the matters of appealing to the national interest, candidates such as Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich should take a few lessons from the former President Kennedy. Their manipulation of religion to gain voter support may work in the Republican primary, but it will hinder them in the race towards presidency.
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