Religion and the State: Separation for the best!


 Religion and ethics are two words which are very related. Yet the question here, is that does this mean that an atheist has no ethics? I don’t believe that.

The only thing is that here I am not concerned with judging individuals or the way they have been raised; here I am speaking on the political level. How realistic is it for the state to be entirely separated from the state, and in other words, how possible is it? Will ethics be entirely erased, or is that capable of happening?

Speaking according to the Lebanese community, religion is one of the very essential factors that form our politics. For some people, hearing of the Lebanese political rules brings something of a shock. To know that you cannot become president of Lebanon unless you were a Maronite Christian can be seen as somewhat of discrimination. Different positions are assigned to different sects, and that is looked upon differently.

The interpretation of the Lebanese society is the aiming to please everyone, since we have 18 different sects. The division of political positions is in accordance with religion to try and maintain equality and giving all sects equal positions so no one would feel discriminated towards. Yet the thing is that all the divisions among the Lebanese people and all the conflicts is because of the openly discussed difference in religion, and because people have come to believe they deserve power all alone, for them and their fellow people of the same religion. This is one of the conditions where religion is creating the biggest conflicts among the Lebanese.

For such an example, I believe that religion is a one characteristic that needs to be broken away from politics. Religion is a personal belief, in which one is either born with, or grows up to believe it is the truth of this world. For that, it is not quite fair for one not to be able to achieve his ambition of perhaps becoming the next Lebanese president only because he/she does not belong to the appropriate sect, even if this person has the best qualifications.

Religion is a personal thing, not related to the political agendas and the strategies. Maybe religion does include being ethical, yet that disconnecting religion from state does not mean disregarding the ethical part of this world, after all, even in the absence of religion, humanity does not disappear. Religion is not the only thing people refer to when being ethical, but they are simply being humane.

Separating religion from the state might sound impossible in the Lebanese situation, yet there has been a lot of Lebanese people who believe it is the best solution, and are protesting to take the sectarian system down. The point is that Lebanese people, of all sects and religions, are simply too tired of the politicians who exercise unbearable acts in the name of religion.

Let religion alone, it is of one’s personal freedom whether to believe or not. Solving the political conflicts is what this country needs, without looking at religion as something that keeps Lebanese people from joining hands. 

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9 thoughts on “Religion and the State: Separation for the best!

  1. Great blog Lynn. I completely agree with you in that religion should have zero association with politics. Although many countries have democracies, parliaments, etc. religion can subtly be seen in many political systems. I believe this because religion encompasses more than a believe in God. It brings morals, ethics and values. It doesn’t matter if a political official or institution says that religion will not influence policy and relations, it does. Many perspectives on American social issues are based off religion for example abortions and LGBT rights. Religion and politics are two separate entities and should steer clear off each in a government environment.

  2. It’s great to hear similar viewpoints from around the world. As Lynn stated in her blog, putting religion aside still leaves the ethical values of humanity that should be relatively universal. In the US, as Justin pointed out in his comment, despite our separation of state and religion there are still underlying affects of religion in politics. We are very privileged to be able to vote, but it is still alarming that some campaign and political leaders allow their religious beliefs to be pushed upon others who do not share the same religion or beliefs. Justin brought up the examples of abortion and LGBT rights which coincide with religious influence on politics. Additionally, the topic of contraceptives and the availability of birth control lies in the hands of the beliefs and those who are in power. Religion is present in US politics and of course in the Lebanese politics with strict separation in state powers. Before reading Lynn’s blog I did not know there were Lebanese people protesting to change their system, and I think this is very hopeful.

  3. I think this a great blog because this problem of state and religion still affects America today. I agree with Natalie when talking about LBGT rights and abortion. If here in America we state that religion and state don’t mix then why are these issues such issues? This is because of the politicians religions and the people voting. It becomes very hard to separate ones personal feelings for whats best for the country as a whole. For example my religion does not believe in gay marriage, but as far as if I think gay marriage should be allowed, I absolutely do. I separate my religious views from my political views, because political views affect more than just me. I really think that every country struggles with this and it will be a while before we will see dramatic change in this area.

  4. Very good points Lynn. It seems that even though the current political system of Lebanon was set up with good intentions to maintain equality and make sure each group has their own voice in the political actions of their government, it has long since outlived its usefulness. In order to achieve the overall goal of what this system was originally meant for, changes do need to occur and Lynn’s belief in separating religion and state seem like the best option. State and religious ideas of justice are not as dissimilar as we might think. The emphasis needs to be in the intercultural dialogue to find the common grounds and push forward instead of being held at a stand still because of constant conflict over what the president believes instead of what the president and Lebanese people can accomplish together.

  5. Kelcie I really like the point that you made that you separate your religious and political views because you acknowledge that these issues affect more than just you. I wish more people realized that!! Although I feel the U.S. is moving towards a more secular ideology as a whole when it comes to the issue of separation of Church and State I still wonder if we will ever become secular enough that the people would elect an atheist president. What do you guys think??

  6. The point here is for people to no longer ask about the president’s religion or whether he is an atheist or not, the point is that the religious matter is considered as a personal belief not need to be discussed among political groups. I see nothing that is so essential for religion and state to stay connected.

  7. I found it so interesting to think about the potential of an atheist president and to read your response Lynn. As I thought about it personally, I wondered how this could happen. How can we have a president who we don’t know his or her religion? Wouldn’t it be obvious of his beliefs and vital to our knowledge? But as I continued my thoughts, when I look at a president, my questions are in regards to their values, abilities, honesty, dignity, and true concern for the people. Religion does not fit that list. Whether or not they believe in a god or twenty gods, that president can still hold the position with the people’s best interest in mind, make decisions that better the country, fix healthcare, lower taxes and all of the other common topics, religion aside. This realization was honestly surprising to me and I think this is where our country has improvements to be made. We have heard for so long that religion is separate, but still matters. Of course it matters on a personal level, but on a professional level, ethics matter. If you are a capable and successful president you are just that, no religious description needed.

  8. my religion does not set up who i am, perhaps only my belief, or at a lot of times it is only a word that completes empty spaces on my identity, yet I have worked hard all my life to become the person i now am. For that, whether as a president or just a student, I have the right not to be classified.

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