Yager: Rationality, not religion, should garner votes

Politics and religion are mutually exclusive, never to touch – or get even remotely close for that matter. The government is steered away from faith by the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Also, adding a dose of religion into any political function not only alienates the electorate, it also pushes Americans away from organized religion. In easily understood terms, it’s bad for business.

Take a moment to swallow that. Ready to continue? Good.

Businessman Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Sen. Rick Santorum have three things in common: They are all former candidates for the Republican Party presidential nominee, they fell victim to their many political gaffs examined by the late-night comedy heavyweights and they all said they campaigned because God told them to.

Did I mention they all failed to secure the Republican Party nomination?

It should be noted that approximately 85 percent of Americans follow some form of religion, so religious candidates are nothing new.

What is new, however, is the trend of having conservative candidates that bank on their faith in order to garner votes. With every passing week there was a plethora of new comments describing how they would apply reactionary Christian views of homosexuality, abortion and women’s rights on over 300 million people.

The reasoning is simple. People don’t want to be told how to live their lives – particularly if their future lifestyle is against what they currently believe or causes an inconvenience. Candidates tell women they can’t get abortions or birth control, and it comes back to haunt them. They foolishly tell homosexuals that they are evil sinners from hell/space/Narnia and reveal that they’ve officially lost touch with reality.

The casualty from this religious infusion into politics is, in fact, religion. From 1990 to 2008, the number of Americans who reported being nonreligious increased almost 7 percent.

This could be attributed to the rise of highly religious social-conservative politicians. If an offensive law passes at the pen of a religious fundamentalist, a person is not going to see it as a fault of the politician but rather a fault of the religion.

This then comes back to hurt the Catholic Church. From 2007 to 2009, the Vatican lost money. Between empty coffers, decreased attendance and sexual abuse settlement payments, the Church has had a hard time convincing the people of the world that it is both relevant and necessary. If this trend continues, it won’t be long before the Church has to sell more than faith to stay in business.

Currently, the three remaining candidates in the 2012 presidential election are quietly religious, living lives lightly accented with faith as opposed to the harshly overpowered faith smell of their competitors. That does not mean that there is nothing at risk, though. The current stage has already been set where religious social conservatives are pillaging the rights of Americans in state and federal legislators.

Let’s set a precedent and immediately disregard overtly religious candidates for office. Let’s elect the more rational, sensible candidates who better represents America’s interests. Let’s secure an ideal future.