The title for A.G. Blackmon’s Nov. 2 letter was “Not electing religious head.” Now my response is not directed to him personally, but it provides an opportunity to point out that religions vs. other ideologies is a false distinction. It is one that is also seen in “faith-based” and “secular” institutions, or a person of faith and one who is atheistic or agnostic.
Religion is merely one division of ideologies. For example, in several court cases the Supreme Court has declared atheism a religion. Theologian Paul Tillich has pointed out that communism, Nazism, and other “-isms” are religious. Michael Polanyi, a world-renowned chemist and philosopher, has shown with extensive documentation that all science, even the most “exact” science of physics, is based upon “personal belief” (his designation, not mine).
All politics are based upon personal ethics. All ethics are based upon personal beliefs. Some of these beliefs happen to be “religious.” In fact, 85-90 percent of the world’s population base their ethics on some identifiable religion. But the other 10-15 percent form their ethics with just as much “personal belief” – that is, “religion” – as the majority.
We all are arguing ideologies – all ideologies are personal beliefs, most of which are called “religious.” Some are not. But make no mistake about it, we elect people with beliefs – beliefs that are personal whether they are identifiably “religious” or not. These beliefs are sufficiently strong to cause economic prosperity or disaster, disease or health, life or death, etc.
So let’s not pretend that somehow religious and nonreligious convictions are different in method, derivation or power. We elect ideologues, all of whom could be accurately called religious heads! Perhaps we might take our elections more serious with this identity in mind.
Ed Payne, M.D.