According to Wald (2003), the American politics cannot be completely portrayed without considering the religious factor. Therefore, religion or spiritual beliefs define the politics of America and failure to consider this important factor would lead to wrong interpretation of the political landscape. Religion influences different aspects in the daily life of Americans such as the political ideas among people, the behavior of the common citizens and the political elites, the creation of government programs and the interpretation of the public law. The political parties in the country also have the influence of religious groups. For instance, Democratic Party is aligned to the Protestants, Jews, Catholic, and agnostics.
By exercising the norms of their religions Americans are influencing the decision-making process in the country. This is why the Democratic Party supports the care for the downtrodden through affirmative action, public welfare, elderly prescription payments and universal healthcare. The health policy reforms have also been impacted by the spiritual beliefs of the policymakers consider the interest of the different groups in the nation. With the practice of holistic care in the health institutions, the caregivers must know the religious and spiritual beliefs of their patients in order to provide quality care (Stewart, 2016). They should understand that some religions have spiritual beliefs such as life after death and other believe that life ends at the onset of death (Clarke, 2015). Therefore, understanding such beliefs would eliminate misunderstanding and help in delivering the quality of care specific to a patient especially those with chronic illness or those on the verge of death.
Faith should not be confined to the place of worship or homes but should also be practiced in the public places. According to Ross (2012), “every person has a right, really a responsibility, to contribute his or her perspectives to the public forum, including perspectives of faith.” It gives the opportunity for those who do not practice any faith or culture to contribute to the policies. However, faith should not be more privileged or the basis of any policy. Letting faith dictate policymaking causes problems concerning intimate life and family restrictions. This is because the different religious beliefs have different teachings and understanding of relations, reproduction, and contraception.
Therefore, when one faith disagrees with these aspects in the society the state should not pick one religion’s perspective over the other. I believe that the faith of people shapes their values and these values must be applied to policy making based on facts and reason. Therefore, every citizen has a right to be heard including that of faith. But laws should not be made from one religious perspective alone but consider the private beliefs and practices in a manner that the different religious communities are not burdened or restricted. Thus, contribution to policy making should be practiced without insisting that one’s perspective is privileged. The productivity of the nation will only result if citizens are allowed to contribute to the policy-making process regardless of the faith they practice or not practice.
Clarke, P.G.H. (2015). All in the mind? Challenges of neuroscience to faith and ethics. Oxford: Lion Books.
Ross, R.D. (2012). All Politics Is Religious: Speaking Faith to the Media, Policy Makers and Community (Walking Together, Finding the Way). Nashville, Tennessee: SkyLight Paths
Stewart, J. (2016). Public Policy Values. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
The New York Times. (April 14, 2012). Sunday Dialogue: What Is the Role of Faith in Public Policy? Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/15/opinion/sunday/sunday-dialogue-what-is-the-role-of-faith-in-public-policy.html
Wald, K. D. (2003).Religion and Politics in the United States. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc