Religion is politics

 

In a recent letter to the editor in a Norwegian news outlet, a conservative politician is upset about a pro-sustainability statement from the Norwegian church. She says that religion should have nothing to do with politics.

For me, it seems clear that religion is politics. All religions I am aware of are – at their heart – socially engaged, and on the side of the weak, the voiceless, nature, and future generations. And sometimes this gets watered down, or ignored, or even reversed if it’s in the interest of people higher up in the religious hierarchy.

Also, as the New Testament shows, Jesus was a radical. He repeatedly spoke out against the establishment, and for the outcast, downtrodden, weak, voiceless, and those looked down upon by the establishment. He spent his time with prostitutes, lepers, tax collectors, and others typically avoided by mainstream society. Today, he would most likely speak out for transsexuals, Muslims, the poor, and also nonhuman species, ecosystems, and future generations.

Of course, this reflects my own bias. I cast religion, and Jesus, in my own image. Religions do have traditionally conservative elements too, such as emphasis on family and stability.

But none of them prescribe silence in the face of injustice, discrimination, or harm to living being.

On the contrary, they prescribe action. And action is political.

When this conservative politician is upset about a pro-sustainability statement from the church, it’s perhaps because it (a) goes against the policies of her own party, and (b) highlights a cognitive dissonance for her between the heart of Christianity and those policies. Again, I know that view reflects my own bias. If I talked with her, I would probably get a more nuanced – and understanding – view.

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initial notes……

– religion is politics
– supposed to be socially engaged, and on the side of the weak, the voiceless, nature, future generations
– jesus was a radical, and his life was political in the extreme
– spoke out against establishment, for the outcast, downtrodden, weak, voiceless, those looked down upon by the establishment
– strange to me that christianity can be combined with conservative politics, but i know that’s my bias

 

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