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The "Religion Gap" in voting

 
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Churchgoing closely tied to voting patterns

Interesting article... It seems now that the so-called "gender gap" in voting has been surpassed.
 
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That is interesting. But not very surprising this election year. I honestly think this years election is the best case of "Vote for the best of the worst". And while I attend church every Sunday, I am not republican. Of course, I'm not democrat either.
 
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Also, people praying to the dual gods of Marx/Lenin are more likely to vote for Kerry...
So are muslims most likely.

What's wrong with religious ties determining your vote anyway? We've had it here for a long time...
Used to be every single church group had its own political party. That's now gone down a bit, but there's still 3 or 4 parties on political grounds left (not counting the communist and green parties which I also consider religious).
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Jeroen Wenting ]
 
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Why do you consider Communists as religious?
 
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Hmm, quite an interesting topic.

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Also, people praying to the dual gods of Marx/Lenin are more likely to vote for Kerry...



Not likely - firstly I doubt there are very few (I'd guess one, and that's a certain Mr Castro) who have anything near a worship for Marx or Lenin. On the other hand Lenin acted in a slightly illogical way, and did have a beard, so he pretty much matches the pattern of a religious figure


So are Muslims most likely.


This is quite an interesting factor IMO - how Muslims vote. I'm not sure how important it will be in the US, but in European countries the Muslim population is steadily growing and their vote (particularly in local elections) could be quite significant.


(not counting the communist and green parties which I also consider religious).



I don't think either are religious. The communists do support an unpopular economic theory, but not in a religious way - they do not believe in the divine correctness of their view, but rather in its correctness from a scientific view point.

As for the greens, apart from a handful of Gaia-nuts, they are not religious, they just want to "save the planet". Hell, who doesn't want what's best for the planet. I don't think their policies come from an almost religious (ie illogical and faith based) source, but more from a scientific belief that climate damage will do us harm.

Anyway, on to the serious stuff...


What's wrong with religious ties determining your vote anyway? ....
Used to be every single church group had its own political party.


I think there is something deeply wrong about religion determining government policy in any way at all. Firstly, look at all the countries in the world in which religion plays a prominent role in politics - the middle east is a good example of these. Going back through history there are numerous other examples, and most of them where violent countries. Most governments where religion has played a significant role have also tended to have a reduction in human rights. Religion and politics have always been a dangerous combination.

Religions also dont always have a clear message. History has shown us that there have been many different interpretations of religious literature. Basing the running of a country on a text that people have argued about for thousands of years is surely not a good idea. These policies would be based upon a text, that despite being translated through umpteen languages, is still seen as entirely correct. This is a bit of a minefield - who knows how many errors have been introduced in the translation?

A religious influenced rule also causes divides in society. If Bush declared that he determined his policy from the bible, then non-Christians domestically and abroad would be very suspicious of him.

Another problem is partially to do with the religious mindset. Much of the emphasis behind religious organisations is that things are done in a certain way, and they always should be. This is fairly common throughout the major world religions - they have their ceremonies, traditions and structures that they wish to remain unchanged. This kind of attitude taken through to government could cause a government that is against progress, and in some severe cases anti-modernist. This, again, can be seen in many religious run countries in the middle east.

A religious based administration could also suffer from the illusion that they cannot be wrong. A person who is convinced that their policies come from an infallible text could well dismiss any argument that the policies can be wrong. Being able to negotiate and listen to different points of view is a vital role for a politician, but if they refuse to listen to any other points of view other than their own interpretation of a religious text, this is not likely to happen.

Above everything else, the entire bases of a religiously determined policy is based upon a set of instructions that have not and cannot be proven to be correct.

Europe reduced the effect of religion on running countries, through the Enlightenment, for very good reasons. For similar reasons, the writers of the American Constitution rightly thought to reduce religion having power over government. I know that people voting according to religion is only a relatively small step, but IMHO it is a dangerous step on the way to fundamentalism. Religion should be a personal thing, not a national thing.
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
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Just a general warning to tread carefully here: this is a volatile topic.

Thanks,
M
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Religious zealots are no different from any other zealots, they just have a different starting point towards their extremism.

And yes, I do consider communism a religion as well as a political movement. They have their holy books (das Kapital,etc.), holy figures (Marx, Engels, Lenin), and are violently opposed to anyone who dares oppose them.
They have their pilgrimages (Lenin tomb for one), church army of fanatics(RAF, ETA, Lighting Path, formerly the KGB, to name a few), they force their belief system on others in strictly controlled societies.

Strict environmentalists also have strong religious overtones in their ways and include many of the same elements.

Of course the majority of accolytes like with any religion merely pay lip-service to the principles in order to gain power or in fear of being seen as heretics and persecuted for it.
 
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Ram Abdullah D'Souza: Why do you consider Communists as religious?

Joe King: The communists do support an unpopular economic theory, but not in a religious way - they do not believe in the divine correctness of their view, but rather in its correctness from a scientific view point.



It is figuratively (not literally) true that Marxism is a religion. What it has in common with religion is that it is not a scientific view point, but rather, is a non-falsifiable faith. By non-falsifiable, I mean that the correctness of its beliefs are not challenged by tests -- in any situation, whatever happens can be justified by Marxist theory after the fact.

If you disagree, then ask a Marxist what sort of event, were it to happen, would prove that Marx was full of crap. Odds are, he won't be able to think of any.

Since Marxism cannot be proven false, it cannot be proven true, either. That makes it a faith, rather than a theory.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Religious zealots are no different from any other zealots, they just have a different starting point towards their extremism.

And yes, I do consider communism a religion as well as a political movement. They have their holy books (das Kapital,etc.), holy figures (Marx, Engels, Lenin), and are violently opposed to anyone who dares oppose them.
They have their pilgrimages (Lenin tomb for one), church army of fanatics(RAF, ETA, Lighting Path, formerly the KGB, to name a few), they force their belief system on others in strictly controlled societies.



Um. I'd agree that there are many communists who are zealots, but I don't think its religious. Some things may share certain characteristics with religions, but it doesn't make it a religion. I support a football club called Reading. They are rubbish, yet I still hold a slightly irrational hope that we may get salvation (promotion to the Premiership). I go on pilgrimage-type journeys (away games), there are (near) holy figures (John Madejski, the chairman), an army of fanatics (well you have to be a fanatic to go and watch Reading vs Rotherham on a cold wet night) and I'm opposed to people that oppose Reading (Swindon fans, pah!). It looks a bit like a religion, but its really just the sad life of a football fan

Communists may look like they have a religion, but I don't think they believe in some kind of divine or supreme being (in relation to economics anyway), so I'd say its more of a cultural movement than a religion. I agree though that there can be a lot of similarities.


and are violently opposed to anyone who dares oppose them
...
they force their belief system on others in strictly controlled societies
...
Of course the majority of accolytes like with any religion merely pay lip-service to the principles in order to gain power or in fear of being seen as heretics and persecuted for it.


This could be said to be true of quite a lot of political beliefs.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:


It is figuratively (not literally) true that Marxism is a religion. What it has in common with religion is that it is not a scientific view point, but rather, is a non-falsifiable faith. By non-falsifiable, I mean that the correctness of its beliefs are not challenged by tests -- in any situation, whatever happens can be justified by Marxist theory after the fact.

If you disagree, then ask a Marxist what sort of event, were it to happen, would prove that Marx was full of crap. Odds are, he won't be able to think of any.

Since Marxism cannot be proven false, it cannot be proven true, either. That makes it a faith, rather than a theory.



Communism, like many other beliefs probably has a wide variety of different people who follow it. There could well be some who think that its impossible for it to be wrong, but then there could be people who think that its not perfect, but still a good idea. There probably were some people who followed it as a matter of faith, but there were also probably people who followed it because they thought it was a good (despite being flawed) idea.

This is the same for a lot of things. There are people who think that capitalism is perfect and there is no situation in which its not best, and there are other people who think that its the best we've got, but not perfect.
 
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Most governments where religion has played a significant role have also tended to have a reduction in human rights.



Agreed, but don't forget that the least religious governments in the world have also tended to have a reduction in human rights. No, wait, let me restate that--they have tended to have a reduction in humans.

-j-
 
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Frank: It is figuratively (not literally) true that Marxism is a religion. What it has in common with religion is that it is not a scientific view point, but rather, is a non-falsifiable faith. By non-falsifiable, I mean that the correctness of its beliefs are not challenged by tests -- in any situation, whatever happens can be justified by Marxist theory after the fact.

Karl Popper - give him a credit. To be fair, he wrote that Marxism *was* a scientific theory, falsifiable, until Marxists re-formulated it...
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jeff Langr:


Agreed, but don't forget that the least religious governments in the world have also tended to have a reduction in human rights. No, wait, let me restate that--they have tended to have a reduction in humans.

-j-



Proof?
 
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USSR, PRC, DPRK, and Cuba come very quickly to mind. I don't see where any proof of the human rights records of the above Communist countries is called for.
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Max Habibi
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Faulty logic, I'm afraid.

This doesn't indicate that the least religious governments in the world have also tended to have a reduction in human rights.

You might as well assert that dark haired men tend to limp, based on your buddies Joe, John, Simon, and Polo limping in the past. I'm open to an interesting theory, if evidence lacks.

M
 
Jason Menard
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It seems that the Communist governments would fit the definition of "the least religious". In order for Communism to work, cultural, ethnic, and religious differences must be eliminated as much as possible. Religion has historically been supressed in Communist systems. The Communist governments have also historically been some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet. Therefore, the simple statement he made does not seem without merit. Governments that are well known for religious supression are also well known human rights abusers, quite often to horrific extremes.
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
It seems that the Communist governments would fit the definition of "the least religious".

Nobody likes Communism. I don't think there is a connection between the behavior of Russia and that of all secular states. Surely, some Communist states can be abusive. But many secular countries that care for their people have reasonably good human rights records.

In order for Communism to work, cultural, ethnic, and religious differences must be eliminated as much as possible.

I was under the impression that was a matter of opinion, yet you state it as a fact. Could you help me to understand why?

Religion has historically been supressed in Communist systems. The Communist governments have also historically been some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet.

But not the only ones? Can you think of any religious governments that have negative humans rights abuses?

Therefore, the simple statement he made does not seem without merit.



I must not be following you. Could you answer the questions above, and I'll try again?
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]

 
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
But not the only ones? Can you think of any religious governments that have negative humans rights abuses?

Any Muslim country. I'm not aware of any religious governments other than Muslim countries that have been around in the last 100 years. (Unless you want to count Vatican City.) But it's hard to think of any religious country that reaches the level of brutality achieved by the non-religious countries of the USSR or Nazi Germany.
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
 
Max Habibi
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TP: Any Muslim country.

I think it's pretty clear that you're not a fan of anything Islamic. Let's not beat this dead horse, ok? Since it helps my argument, I'll take your support here.
TP: I'm not aware of any religious governments other than Muslim countries that have been around in the last 100 years.

Why are limiting ourselves to the last 100 years? why not the last 49.7545453 years? Aren't we trying to talk about governments in general?

TP: it's hard to think of any religious country that reaches the level of brutality achieved by the non-religious countries of the USSR or Nazi Germany.



That may depend on where you gather the raw information you use as the basis of fact. Can we establish some sort of benchmark here? Say, the number of incidents cited by Amnesty International? Otherwise, this will just reduce to people frothing @ the mouth and mumbling under their breath as they type on the keyboard.

M
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
That may depend on where you gather the raw information you use as the basis of fact. Can we establish some sort of benchmark here? Say, the number of incidents cited by Amnesty International?

Why Amnesty International? And why "incidents"? Is a person being struck by a police officer in Detroit the same as 10,000 people murdered in a government led slaughter? Do they each equal one incident? Why not just reported murders by a particular government?

I'm not sure what point you are trying to make so perhaps if you would try to make a hypothesis we can take a look at it. Right now it just seems that you are a moving target that switches everytime anyone makes a point that proves you wrong.
 
Thomas Paul
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I think it's pretty clear that you're not a fan of anything Islamic.

I don't think that is fair but I am willing to proven wrong. Name a Muslim country that respects and protects the civil rights of all its people as defined by the UN Charter.
 
Max Habibi
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I think it's pretty clear that you're not a fan of anything Islamic.

I don't think that is fair but I am willing to proven wrong. Name a Muslim country that respects and protects the civil rights of all its people as defined by the UN Charter.



I can't think of any middle eastern country, of any religious tendency, that does so. However, I'm withdrawing from this discussion also. This isn't the appropriate place for political discussions., and it certainly isn't the appropriate place for moderators to advocate their personal views. I've made a mistake by being involved.
[ June 04, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Right now it just seems that you [Habibi] are a moving target that switches everytime anyone makes a point that proves you wrong.



I guess I won.
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

Name a Muslim country that respects and protects the civil rights of all its people as defined by the UN Charter.


Let's open that question up to all countries that declare a national religion. Anyone want to do the legwork?
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
Let's open that question up to all countries that declare a national religion. Anyone want to do the legwork?



Other than the Muslim countries I can only think of Israel and Vatican City.
 
Michael Ernest
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http://www.fact-index.com/s/st/state_religion.html
 
Thomas Paul
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I'm not sure that I would consider the UK a Protestant nation even if it has an official religion, but I guess it is a good demonstration of a Christian nation that respects civil rights if you consider it to be Christian.
 
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
The Communist governments have also historically been some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet.



In the last centaury, certainly, although if we look a little further back in time we can see the same kinds of human rights abuses in communist, capitalist, imperial, christian, muslim, and any other kind of country. We're a nasty bunch, us humans.

Although the communist countries were fairly bad, with respect to human rights, it was probably more to do with them being dictatorships than communist - it may be better to say that "dictatorships have also historically been some of the worst human rights abusers on the planet"
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
I'm not sure that I would consider the UK a Protestant nation even if it has an official religion, but I guess it is a good demonstration of a Christian nation that respects civil rights if you consider it to be Christian.



The UK is a bit odd in that it is officially very different from what it is in reality. Officially it could be called a dictatorship with a religious leaning - the UK head of state is not elected, and has to be from a certain religion. In the House of Lords some seats are reserved for members of certain churches. In reality though, the UK is fairly open minded when it comes to religion - although most people would probably say that they are christian, they're most likely to be of the "church once a year" type, or the "I cant be bothered to think about it" type.

There is also a noticeable difference in the use of religious terms by the governments of the UK and other more religious countries. One example is the US, where Bush quite frequently says things like "god bless America", "god willing this will work" etc etc - in the UK the government would never say something like this.
 
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
Proof?



It's interesting that you don't ask for proof of the original statement.

The point was that reductions in human rights always stem from power and force. Religious people in power are as dangerous as non-religious people in power. It doesn't seem to matter what the motivation and intent are.

Sheer dead and maimed body counts, while not proof, would seem to suggest that there's plenty of culpability to go around. Instead of arguing whose side is more evil (religion or non-religion), we should ask why we grant so much power to be abused in the first place.

-j-
 
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