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Faith and Politics:
What Is the Proper Role of Faith in the Election?

As the American political parties prepare for the conventions and narrow down presidential options, the subject of faith—and its healthy or not-so-healthy impact on the rhetoric and the ways people measure the candidates—must not be underestimated. In light of America’s history—its Constitution, its “wall of separation” between church and state, its increasing plurality, its rising secularism—what can we still say about the role of faith in choosing a president?


Featured Panelists

Pointing to Principles Beyond Party and Personal Interest

Pointing to Principles Beyond Party and Personal Interest

Jacob Lupfer

Religious faith has the power and promise to point people beyond themselves, their ideologies, and their own narrow self-interest.

North Carolina's Struggle in Faith and Politics

North Carolina's Struggle in Faith and Politics

Rev. William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

This is not just a story for our state; it is a movement for America, a struggle to resurrect the soul of democracy.

Religion and Politics: Some Ground Rules for Engagement

Religion and Politics: Some Ground Rules for Engagement

Rob Boston

The problem isn't faith and politics interacting, it's how they relate to one another. That relationship need not be a problem if some simple ground rules are kept in mind.

Faith and Politics: Calling Attention to the Magician's Tricks

Faith and Politics: Calling Attention to the Magician's Tricks

Richard Crane

The disengagement that results from cultivating a stronger sense that we do not fit in so well here may, ironically, make possible deeper levels of meaningful political engagement.

Politics, Pagan Religions, and the 2016 Election

Politics, Pagan Religions, and the 2016 Election

Gus diZerega

Pagan religions honor a multitude of ways of thinking about and interacting with the sacred. None, or virtually none, require "faith" as it is meant in the Christian context. We recognize mystery but not faith.

Faith in the Election: In Trump We Trust?

Faith in the Election: In Trump We Trust?

Greg Garrett

Christians may not be voting from their belief in biblical principles or church teachings, but instead, out of secular fear and anger, and out of the dark side of their faith, a willingness to exclude, demonize, and attack.

The Key Obligation in the Election: Scrutiny

The Key Obligation in the Election: Scrutiny

Ashley Elizabeth Graham

My child-like, yet completely rational and founded fears about this election brought about a response from my spiritual director that shook me to my core; he asked, what part of my salvation is dependent on being an American?

Faith Reminds Us of the Limits of Politics

Faith Reminds Us of the Limits of Politics

Cherie Harder

Even the best of leaders and political systems cannot, in a fallen world, achieve perfect justice, or give us the safety, security, and community we crave.

Faith in Politics: Pluralism, Not Polarization

Faith in Politics: Pluralism, Not Polarization

Padma Kuppa

Religion in politics? Win or lose, we must have faith in pluralism.

Faith and the Transformation of Politics

Faith and the Transformation of Politics

Rabbi Francis Nataf

John Locke famously wanted to keep religion out of the affairs of state; it prevents the compromises needed to be able to live in harmony with others with whom we disagree. But Locke notwithstanding, it is an impossibility.

Faith and Politics? Not Whether, but How

Faith and Politics? Not Whether, but How

Eric Sapp

Voters know that candidates who claim their faith will not influence their decisions are either lying or claim a faith that has no real impact on their lives or values.

Self-Immolation: Voter-Imposed Religious Tests for Public Office Hurt America

Self-Immolation: Voter-Imposed Religious Tests for Public Office Hurt America

Andrew Seidel

Many Americans require professions of faith from their political candidates and that's a really bad idea.

Does Christianity Need Donald Trump's Help?

Does Christianity Need Donald Trump's Help?

Warren Throckmorton

The presumptive GOP nominee promises to help make Christianity into a powerful lobby and limit the freedom of Muslims. Does Christianity need his kind of help?

When Our Politics Define Our Faith, and Vice Versa

When Our Politics Define Our Faith, and Vice Versa

Charles M. Turner

When presented with the opportunity to influence policy, how will our understandings of Islamic ethics contribute to a better America?

Buddhism and the Election: A Politics of Fear, Not Hope

Buddhism and the Election: A Politics of Fear, Not Hope

Justin Whitaker

Politicians, more than anyone else, have the power to appeal either to our fears or our better natures.

Commentary From Our Blogging Community

Christianity and Culture in the 2016 Election

Christianity and Culture in the 2016 Election

One essential trait of tribal affiliation is establishing social borders: line-drawing, “us” versus “them,” “our people” against “not our people.”

King of Kings: Separation of Church and State

King of Kings: Separation of Church and State

Jonathan Storment

When I was young we had a nice woman come and knock on our door campaigning for herself to be the new Saline County Treasurer. She was kind and bubbly, and she asked me if I would help her win. I was 10. But I said yes. My friend and I went up and down [Read More...]

We’re All In Trouble If Politics Becomes Our New Religion

We’re All In Trouble If Politics Becomes Our New Religion

Guest Contributor

In the 1980s and 90s, the American media was dramatically obsessed with documenting the rise and influence of what came to be called the Evangelical or Religious Right, a politico-religious hybrid embodied most publicly by figures like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson. Looking back thirty-odd years later, it’s easy to acknowledge that the [Read More...]