According to an article in the Pasadena Star-News out of California, Lisa Friedman describes a day in congress where “lawmakers invoked God on the floor of the House of Representatives 182 times.” As she researched the material for her article she quoted several politicians indicating their faith was a factor when faced with a vote on a variety of issues, not the least of which included issues like abortion, war and gay marriage. These are considered “moral issues” and carry moral consequences. Before a vote can be given, the voter must look within himself to determine where he stands on the question and if it is a person of faith, the person will also examine his personal values. As a person of faith, his decisions will need to be accounted for at a later time- with a Higher Power, not just with his constituents at the moment.
When an analyst considers election statistics, he must evaluate not only the Presidential candidates, but the citizens who voted. Friedman contends in her article that most GOP lawmakers felt the media built up the role religion played in politics at that time. It is true former President Bush was forthcoming regarding his faith and Democrats accused the “Republicans of exploiting it as a political tool.” But history shows even former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was heavily involved in religious dialogue. FDR was a highly respected president and brought the United States through a tough time, much like what former President Bush did.
These demonstrations of faith, both by the lawmakers in the House of Representatives and by former President Bush encouraged social cohesion and provided meaning and purpose at a time when the United States seriously needed comfort, and guidance during despair.
Nonetheless, secularization is advancing while religion is fading. Some believe people use religion as a hobby, ethnic identification or aesthetic diversion. This is hardly the case. Studies link unified community relationships with strong religious beliefs. Studies show faith sustains marriages, decreases delinquency, unites people in general and even enhances educational achievement.
So the question arises whether the citizens of the United States consider their own values compared to the Presidents during election time. The answer is a resounding yes. Does this mean there is undue preoccupation concerning religion? No, rather, it solidifies the need we as humans have to provide meaning and purpose to our lives. Religion creates the union between peoples to work together for the greater good. It is the glue we have to each other as it creates social cohesion. Faith is what sustains us when things get tough and when there are moral issues to be determined.