Religion and politics, both play an important role in how a person lives, or is expected to live, their life. Religion shapes the internal life of a person, how he or she interacts, lives, talks, etc. while on the other hand politics shape the external life of a person, i.e. how they choose to express their opinion, what legal rights they have, etc.
But the question is, should religion play as an eminent force in politics?
The answer to this question cannot be confined within the mere words of ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
People are the ones who take part in politics and these same people hold some particular religious beliefs (or do not hold any religious beliefs at all), so it is inevitable that religion gets integrated into politics.
Gandhi was a passionate advocate for treating all religions as equal. He understood that religion was, and will continue to be, an important aspect in everybody’s lives. But he also believed that there shouldn’t be any division between people on the basis of their religious identities.
“Religion is no test of nationality, but a personal matter between man and his God. In the sense of nationality they are Indians first and Indians last, no matter what religion they profess.” – M.K. Gandhi
Gandhi was a nationalist and he incorporated religion into his movements (like the Kalifate Movement, which was started in order to align Hindus and Muslims together) but he dismissed the idea of religion being firmly included in politics. He feared that this would cause a divide between people belonging to different religions.
Even though it is important that all the religious groups are equally represented in the government, religion shouldn’t directly play a part in politics. Rules or laws based on religion shouldn’t be formulated.
I, for one, don’t believe in any religion, so I shouldn’t be made to follow laws that are based on the belief of one community of the society. Policies and laws should instead be made based on moral ethics with general consensus.