Sunday, September 7, 2008

Religion and Politics

Imagine if you will, a front page story in your capital city press, in which it is reported that “Lately, many astrological forecasts have spelled trouble” for your national leader (president/prime minister), and that “at social functions, the prime minister hands out tokens of a Buddha image known as ‘defeating the enemies.’”

As the Thai PM struggles with low morale in the face of mounting calls for his ouster, the press reports (on page one no less) that in the past, a well-known astrologer said that “the stars showed that he would find himself in great trouble and it is highly likely that he could lose his position as prime minister.” Upset by the forecast, the PM “was seen attending a ceremony worshipping Bahu, the god of darkness.”

This may seem quite odd to those who are not familiar with Chinese astrology, but then again, what religion does not have strange beliefs as viewed by others? Being from the U.S. where the founders wanted to ensure the separation of church and state, I am weary of the very common practice of political leaders claiming the moral high ground due to religious beliefs.

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