What Role Should Religious Leaders Play in World Politics?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
April 25, 2008

During Pope Benedict XVI's recent trip to America, his journeys spread beyond the world of religious events. He met with President Bush, the United Nations General Assembly, and other high-ranking leaders. During these meetings, he discussed topics from religious freedom to poverty to peace processes that should be enacted around the world. In a similar fashion, the Dalai Lama has been a voice in expressing to the world the views of the people of Tibet on issues beyond religion.

What role should religious leaders play in world politics?

Comments

Comments

Hector
|
China
April 25, 2008

Hector in China writes:

If it is on issues beyond religion i.e. politics, how can Dalai Lama express the views of the people in Tibet? He can speak for the exile ones only. A real religious leader like Pope, I can trust. And I agree that Dalai Lama is a religious spiritual leader, but as you implied, he is also a political leader thus I will doubt what he said. Have you considered what he did to his people when he act as a political leader in Tibet when the Central Government had no time to take care of Tibet? (One more thing, please notice I can read English news from YOUR media and also Wikipedia as you, thanks)

Ryan L.
|
United States
April 25, 2008

Ryan in U.S. writes:

If I was a religious leader, I wouldn't go anywhere near the World Trade Organization and the Rule of Law. They are liars, propogandists, create disease, bring drugs in, and create disasters to watch their economic charts go up and down. The Catholic Church gets blames for being affiliated with them, but it's not them... it's the Lawyers and Politicians who use them as a "get out of jail free" card. Pain Suffering and Guilt... it's what life is all about. Passing the blame onto someone else so they aren't accountable for anything. They have been doing it for thousands of years.

Justin
|
Florida, USA
April 26, 2008

Justin in Florida writes:

I don't believe religious leaders should have any role in politics. I do not recall our American founding fathers asking any religious leaders for advice when they founded our country, and I would prefer if our American leaders follow their wisdom.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
April 26, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Religion, or the lack of, is the premises for all cultures. How could it not be viewed as noncontributing as an element pre existing?

The role it plays in essential, but when it adds a non flexible pretext resulting in a negative or non promotion of compromise toward a solution, and then it compounds efforts toward productive solution. Does any world religious leader actually feel that any humanitarian, charitable, loving God or Deity would feel that "words" or actions which are non productive and in use result in War, Hunger and limited freedoms of choice?

More people this day have died needlessly over Religion than for any other reason. The Democratic principles of Politics came from trying to avoid differentiation in the overall concept of limitations by particular Religion for the overall Good for people without violation of laws predicated upon the moir's of any particular society.

Greed and Vanity are still central to most of the worlds problems and evil (in what ever capacity you may feel that is) has simply prevailed, which is why we are where we are.

Everyone and all systems need to develop to the changes in technology and economics that have given predatory leaders too much power.

Religion and Faith are two different principles. Religion today is politics, even within its own dynamics. It is a major control imput function in everyones life.

If anything, Religion should work toward peace, not inflamation of any problem.

David
|
New York, USA
April 26, 2008

David in New York writes:

You question is an interesting one although your choice of the Pope and the Dalai Lama is poor. The Pope is actually the Head of State of an independent country, the Vatican City, and the Dalai Lama leads the Tibetan government in exile. Both are therefore entitled to play a part in world politics.

The Pope is also the leader of over a billion catholics worldwide and should have a say about how they are treated, i.e. in the Muslim parts of world. Similarly, The Dalai Lama represents the (terrorized and demoralized) people of Tibet to the world. Without him there would be almost no one recognizing the plight of the Tibetans under Chinese rule or advocating on their behalf.

Mathew
|
Texas, USA
April 26, 2008

Mathew in Texas writes:

Although we must recognize that a separation of religious and state affairs is absolutely necessary in the organization and management of a government that hopes to maintain a truly free environment for both social and economic reasons, we should also understand that religious leaders play a substantial role in guiding their faithful followers on issues of political or moral significance. To suggest that we can truly solve the many issues of the Middle East without collaborating with religious leaders is ridiculous--the same goes for issues including Tibet and the Serbia-Kosovo split.In forums of multilateral collaboration, religious leaders can serve as unifiers between countries with disparate political views and close cultural ties. In the end, religion will always play a role (either conscious or subconscious) in international affairs--thus we should simply accept this and utilize all associated benefits.

Matthew K.
|
United Kingdom
April 26, 2008

Matthew in U.K. writes:

Religion has an important role in diplomacy and world affairs. It can provide examples for diplomats and policymakers to follow. What it can not and should not be allowed to do is to set the diplomatic and foreign policy agenda - be it from an Islamic, Christian, Jewish, or any other religious perspective.

Dennis
|
Wisconsin, USA
April 27, 2008

Dennis in Wisconsin writes:

Some individuals are able to command a stage, and a significant number of people want to hear them. Some religious leaders have such a command presence.

Religious leaders speak to and for their co-religionists. In so far as their messages strike a universal chord the ears of others will also take note. The roles that religious leaders play will depend on the numbers of their followers and upon the clarity and cogency of the message. Their involvement in world affairs can transcend political boundaries toward a broad common good.

Religious leaders vary in the assortment of resources available to them and in their talents in effectively using them. The Roman Catholic pope has the organization of a state and diplomatic corps, along with a very long tradition of presenting a universal message. Another, like Desmond Tutu, solidly a churchman but without state standing, has an out-sized influence that is respected outside of his local church.

What role should religious leaders play in world politics? One that is not parochial. One that has universal appeal.

george m.
|
India
April 27, 2008

George in India writes:

I had a nice feelng reading this article... Thanks a lot!

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
April 27, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

To think that there is a separation in any political realm is ludicrous, as each person is effected by their spiritual beliefs and convictions. This spills out into all facets of their social sphere.

Spiritual Leaders need to work diligently to bring about solutions in peaceful methods and not inflame existing situations.

John
|
Greece
April 27, 2008

John in Greece writes:

@ Justin in Florida -- You are right Justin, these "American Democracy founding fathers" offered the whole world -- not only America -- an inspired ...and spiritual political platform that can help the majority of every thinking member of a society, no matter the "faith," to proceed towards social happiness.

Of course, as long as they understand, that State must be separated from Religion.

I am sure you know, that plenty of "mysterious guys" use religious channels and "companies" ("churches") with so-called religious concepts in order to earn money, become leaders and rule the world after all. But, they are just commercial companies.

Politics is Politics. Religion is Religion. Diplomacy is part of Politics and not Religion. (however, I think that sometimes diplomacy has every right to ãuseã Religion in order to creates politics for the GOOD!

Nevertheless, if we mix religion, politics and diplomacy, I'm afraid, we will end up to talk about holly wars.

And this is not the point.

I think that our point should be to create a social peace for everyone in the planet.

Unquestioningly, everyone must respects everyone else's right to believe in whatever he thinks should believe in, but the ãsecond guyã must also respects the common, universal right that he cannot sculpt the world just for the interests of his co-religion-memberships.

I think we both know that.

I hope that "Holy fathers" (Church leaders), in the same way, pure, spiritual and inspired Fathers who created Americaãs Freedom, understand their role and not exaggerate their theoretical power.

P.S. I liked the Pope's visit to America. He has every right to visit all the Globe, moreover the U.S. which I think is the 3rd biggest Catholic country in the World?

I liked reading in TIME that he loves America.

Also, please consider that I am an Orthodox, however not a religious ...fanatic.

NB
|
Pakistan
April 29, 2008

NB in Pakistan writes:

I'd rather keep religion as my personal affair and treat politics/diplomacy as an international affair. If religious leaders can play a positive role in bringing about peace and harmony in the world then it's well and good, but if religious leaders contribute towards creating riots, strife, & wars then they should be met with deaf ears. I believe that all religions emanated from one single source, The Supreme Power. The primary purpose of all religions. in my opinion, is to help mankind understand the importance of "Live & Let Live". God bless all.

Ajani
|
District Of Columbia, USA
April 29, 2008

Ajani in Washington, DC writes:

@ Justin in Florida -- Religion had everything to do with the founding of America. The whole country was founded because of religious persecution against Christian minorities in the U.K. and the desire to live in a country that practiced "freedom of religion."

Dennis
|
Washington, USA
April 29, 2008

Dennis in Washington writes:

They should encourage more prayer, rather than be into politics.

Russell
|
South Carolina, USA
April 30, 2008

Russell in South Carolina writes:

The role religious leaders should play in politics, if any at all, is that of peacemakers. Religious leaders are supposed to be people who guide others along their individual paths to the Almighty. In all the religions that I'm somewhat familiar with there seems to be a common path. Basically it's advocating a peaceful life while ushering genuine goodwill to all others. This is the role that religious leaders she play in politics. When politics give way to hot heads and unrest it should be the religious leaders that put forth effort to cool the heads and usurp the unrest with peace. Religious leaders should not attempt sway votes or influence policies. If they did attempt those types of actions their focus would obviously be misplaced on governmental issues. The separation of Church and State will never be absolute. This is because the worthwhile laws of man are influenced by the eternal laws of the Almighty. That being said I think it's best to let politicians take care of political issues and religious leaders handle the spiritual ones.

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