How far should religion influence political decisions?

YES: Religion should influence political decisions at many levels of government as such intervention is helpful to improving societal well-being.

  1. Religious leaders and religious institutions should provide advice to the state in the deliberation of policies that have far reaching moral or ethical consequences, such as the legalization of abortion or the setting up of casinos.

  2. Religious institutions with the appropriate financial and manpower resources should work closely with the state in the formulation and delivery of political decisions targeted at addressing important social problems, such as homelessness and poverty.

  3. Political parties with links to religious beliefs and institutions should be allowed to contest freely in democratic countries as their programs may address the needs and concerns of many citizens with the same beliefs, especially if policies presently fail to address them.

  4. Given their global influence, major world religions should work closely with the international community in the deliberation and solving of major global challenges, such as humanitarian crises and climate change.

NO: We should not allow religion to influence political decisions at most levels of government as doing so often interferes with and disrupts societal well-being.

  1. In secular states, the power of religious institutions to influence the state should be limited if their beliefs and practices contradict secular laws and policies that specifically address and meet the well-being of citizens.

  2. Despite their access to resources, religious institutions should be limited to working under the direction of the government rather than actively shaping social initiatives to prevent unsolicited conversion attempts or proselytization of non-believers.

  3. However well-intentioned it may be, mixing politics with religion should be discouraged on pragmatic grounds, as it can easily lead to conflict between the followers of different religions and social fragmentation, thereby undermining thepolitical stability of the state.

  4. Major world religions may take issue with various locally accepted norms, such as legalized same-sex marriage in some countries, and unfairly escalate them to a global issue, thereby interfering with a country’s right to shaping its own laws.