Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Religion and Identity

Faithful America 'is an online community of tens of thousands of citizens motivated by faith to
take action on the pressing moral issues of our time.' The group demonstrates that religion in American is closely linked to morality and helping others. However, the group does not have an official religion, as it states 'We come from diverse faith traditions.' This is beneficial, because it means the group encompasses a variety of different viewpoints and further, no religious group is discriminated against. Therefore, although America is mainly a Christian country, with 80% of the population stating they are Christian, other religious groups are also significant and can help to improve America.
The group does not limit itself to simply improving America however, as they aim to 'uphold the common good in America and across the globe.' This suggests that the world has many issues which need resolving and faith can help to diminish these issues. However, other nations such as the UK, which is 50% atheist, are unlikely to fully commit to Faithful America's proposals. Yet the group clearly demonstrates confidence in this optimistic statement and it also parallels with America's determination to lead the world in every aspect of life, including social issues.
One of their aims is to 'promote economic security for all,' which is a highly ambitious statement seeing as the class gap between the rich and the poor is arguably increasing in America. This statement also highlights that there is a connection between capitalism and religion. Without money, the world can not become a better place. (This is evident in the presence of their donation page.) The importance of money can also be related to the American Dream, as the majority of Americans are likely to believe that the dream is only achieved through the obtainment of wealth.
Additionally, they wish to 'restore America's commitment to human rights and diplomacy.' This implies that America has declined in its compassion, due to the abuses of human rights being exercised currently. Therefore, the group is basing their principles on the Bill of Rights. Consequently, there is also a link between politics and religion, because without political decisions, improvements can not be enforced. Individual acts of compassion will not suffice with a population of over 300 million. Further, the reference to diplomacy shows that the group wishes for America to have a more dominant role within the world, even though America is largely influential currently. They imply that it is America's duty to protect the vulnerable in other countries from human rights abuses, however there is only so much pressure America can enforce upon other countries. America's vision of democracy does not necessarily appeal to everyone.
Another aim is to 'prevent the catastrophic effects of climate change,' therefore the group wishes to protect the environment as it was created by God. This also suggests that the group is not extreme, because some religious sects, who are usually Evangelicals, hold the belief that America should encourage the end times by continuing to increase global warming. Faithful America appear to be a progressive group, because they are looking towards the future, even though they look towards the past; the Bible, for guidance. One of the ways of reducing the impact of climate change is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that America produces. This is a highly difficult task, seeing as the country wishes to maintain its superpower status and is therefore unlikely to decrease its industrial developments.
Their homepage includes many stories which demonstrate the changes that Faithful America are responsible for. For example, the group protested against the 'Family Research President Tony Perkins,' by delivering a petition of '20,000' signatures. Perkins has been accused of an 'extensive record of hate speech against gay and lesbian Americans.' The group is clearly demonstrating a liberal view, because although the Bible states that homosexuality is a sin, Faithful America believes that equality overrules this. Therefore they do not read the Bible literally. Instead, Faithful America claims to be a 'grassroots movement,' therefore it wishes to promote America's traditional values, of democracy, freedom and happiness. But at the same time, it wishes to promote progress through their ambitions to transform society.

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