Op Ed from Court Lewis: Is Politics the New Religion?
The below is an unedited guest post from my colleague and friend, Court Lewis. –Matt–
If politics is a religion, then is it heresy to be politically active? As a religious and politically active person, I’ve become increasingly disturbed by politics, political dialogue, media dialogue on politics, and the political activities of religious people and groups. Based on my observations, it is no longer legitimate to discuss the separation of church and state because the state is a church. It has its own mythology, it has its own deities, it has its own prophets, and it has its own followers (both thoughtful ministers and blind fanatics). Politics has usurped the role of religion in the sense that it is the doctrine of beliefs that shapes our consciousness and defines our reality. In other words, politics is now the edifice in which people devote their lives to service; it is the new religion.
If politics is a religion, set apart from and in competition with other religions, unless one is part of the religion of politics, then one should stand apart and be separated from it. What implications does this have for the person who is concerned about the society he or she lives in and desires to be politically active, to ensure a just society? That’s the question I’m struggling with. Following and listening to political discussions feels like attending voodoo séances; voting feels like tossing coins to mysterious oracles that promise to make the ground fertile. All of it seems antithetical to my religious convictions. What is left to do? I’m afraid the answer is “nothing.”Court Lewis, MA PhD Candidate and Adjunct Philosophy Professor Knoxville, TN