Role of Religion, Morality, and Worldview in the Creation of Public Policy
John Adams said it best when he said “we have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” The following paper will discuss the role of religion, morality and worldview on the creation of public policy. The creation of public policy is essential to the success of one’s government.
What is religion? Religion is “a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.” (Religion, 2012) Basically, one’s religion is the set of beliefs which that person feels encompasses his or her beliefs regarding the powers of the universe and religious practices.
Morality “refers to a code of conduct that applies to all who can understand it and can govern their behavior by it. In the normative sense, morality should never be overridden, that is, no one should ever violate a moral prohibition or requirement for non-moral considerations.” (The Definition of Morality, 2011) One should adhere to his or her set of morals and beliefs at all time. There are times when these morals may be tested but all rational people should stick to their morals and endorse their moral conduct code.
One’s worldview is that person’s perspective on how he or she sees and interprets the world and the set of beliefs about “life and the universe held by an individual or a group.” (Worldview, 2012) Although, worldview and religion sound similar they are not the same thing. One’s religion is not always the same as his or her worldview. One’s worldview may be influences by his or her religion but is not solely based on religion.
Public policy is the process or policy which outlines the actions of the government. Without public policy and the policy makers then the government could not operate effectively or efficiently. Public policy is the process of taking an idea and combining it with governmental action. The role of religion in the creation of public policy is limited. The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights contains the following words “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (Beckwith, 2010, Page 92) Therefore the usage of religion in the creation of public policy cannot be limited to policies that are limited to one set of religious beliefs. A creator of public policy cannot use his or her religion as the backbone for the creation of the policy due to the First Amendment.
Although one’s religious beliefs may impact his or her ability to endorse certain policies; it should not be the only reason to support, promote, or dispute a policy. Morality plays a key part in the creation of public policy. “The political judgment that must then be made is whether such a judgment ought to become a matter of law. It is impossible, however, to create laws that have no moral dimension to them.” (Legislating Morality, n.d.) When public policies are created they establish rules of cooperation and order that must be based on some moral choice and preference. Policies must be created to “establish a clear boundary between individual rights and interests and the rights and interests of others in society, both individually and collectively,” thus supporting the morality of the government.
Worldview plays an integral part in the creation of the public policy. One’s worldview is a result of that person’s ideas and feelings towards the policy. As mentioned above one’s religious worldview has an influence on the ideas that one may promote and support as a public policy. In conclusion, one can agree that religion, morality and worldview have some impact on the creation of public policy. All three have an impact of some sort of the creation of public policy. The impact may not be on the forefront of one’s thoughts but it has shaped him or her who is creating the policy.
Bartons, David. (2009) Quotes of the Founding Fathers. Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://www.free2pray.info/5founderquotes.html Beckwith, F. J. (2010). Politics for christians: Statecraft as soulcraft (1st ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic. Legislating Morality. (n.d.) Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://www.thisnation.com/question/024.html Religion. (2012) Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/religion The Definition of Morality. (2011) Retrieved July 14, 2012 from
Worldview. (2012) Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/worldview