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    World & Culture

    On religion and politics

    By Christopher Palmer
    Published: March 27, 2012

    In the Elections 2012 coverage on Know, experts from across The University of Texas at Austin weigh in on the politics and the issues, from the economy, the environment and demographics to immigration, energy, social change and more.

    In this fifth conversation of our elections series, faculty member Tom Tweed discusses religion, its role in politics and its impact on this year’s election season.

    Learn more about our faculty experts:

    Tom Tweed is The Shive, Lindsay and Gray Professor of the History of Christianity in the Department of Religious Studies. Tweed specializes in religion in the Americas, Catholicism in America, Asian religions in the United States, Latino/a religion, method and theory in the study of religion, religion and transnationalism/geography. His historical, ethnographic and theoretical research, which includes six books and a six-volume series of historical documents, has been supported by several grants and fellowships, including three from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    James Henson is a lecturer in the Department of Government and directs the Texas Politics Project, which seeks to educate students and Texans about state government, politics and history through a dynamic website and speaker series. It also conducts regular statewide issues and political polls. The Texas Politics Project is The University of Texas at Austin’s home for the UT/Texas Tribune Poll, a statewide survey of public opinion on issues and elections in Texas.

    What to read and watch next:

    • Quote 2
      carryllynn said on April 5, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.
      Regardless of our opinions, geneticists are deciding for us that our political persuasion is far more genetic than 'environmental. Perhaps, therefore, might not our attitude towards religion rest with the same fate? And, can environment be strong enough to sway our genetic predilections? Regardless, we have so many problems - mainly excessively out of control BIG government spending, that religion should take a back seat to arguments in how to reduce our national debt, our balance of trade debt, and create more jobs. Inflation is happening, but Paulsen and Guitner have their heads in the sand on that... we need someone who will tell the truth and keep us from being the next "Greece!"
    • Quote 2
      Melody Simon said on April 5, 2012 at 2:03 p.m.
      Definitely a topic that can barely be covered in five minutes, but it highlights the idea that I've become familiar with only as of late - that those on the right believe people are already born, or programmed, to be evil (regardless of environmental factors), while those on the left believe that all, or most, people are capable of redemption or salvation. It is the fundamental difference and not discussed often (or ever) in the theater of politics. It seems that most historians and academics agree that this country was founded on the notion of freedom FROM religion (or religious tyranny). As a woman, I feel like I'm living under tyranny, where my life decisions are being usurped by others whom I don't fundamentally or philosophically agree with. We're headed back to the Dark Ages and it's most unfortunate. We will be left very very behind on the global stage, particularly because the religious enjoy attacking science and education - the very things that propelled this country ahead and made it so great. Really, really sad.
    • Quote 2
      Joe Herbst said on April 5, 2012 at 9:47 a.m.
      In our Country's history, has there ever been sweeping and unpopular legislation that was passed without the required 60% vote in the Senate - before Obamacare? If not, then wasn't Obamacare a Crime Against Democracy?
    • Quote 2
      Deborah Jones said on April 5, 2012 at 8:12 a.m.
      Tom Tweed's conversation points to two things, one being the source of evil in this country and the other being communication. Nothing is going to improve unless we include God, regardless of how much money is thrown at a problem (ie education). Second of all is the whole process of listening/communicating with respect, as a society we are being bull dozed ahead by self interest and agendas.
    • Quote 2
      tim prater said on April 5, 2012 at 4:44 a.m.
      What a waste of time this was. All fluff and nothing of consequence.
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