The Importance of Separating Church and Politics

My Political Views Don't Invalidate My Religious Views

And vice versa.

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I've seen the skeptical looks people give me when they hear both my religious and political opinions. Some say I can't possibly be a believer in God, a Christian, while also being one of the most politically liberal people they've ever met. Some can't figure out how it adds up.

That doesn't mean that I don't consider my spiritual beliefs when making political decisions. I absolutely do. But everyone seems to assume that Christian = conservative or Republican or whatever other labels you want to give it. A lot of people believe that me celebrating the fact that I'm wholeheartedly a Democrat means I'm automatically an atheist and look down on all religious believers. If they hear that I supported Hilary Clinton, or worse, Bernie Sanders, in the 2016 election, then they assume that I couldn't possibly have a strong relationship with God.

Writing it out like this makes it seem even crazier to me that a lot of people think that these two things depend so heavily on one another. I'd like to remind those people that the separation of church and state exists for a reason. For this very reason.

I'm pro-choice. I unequivocally support a woman's right to choose. I'll advocate for women to have autonomy over their bodies, to have safe and legal access to abortion, until the day I die.

I'm a fierce ally for the LGBTQ community. Same-sex discrimination is something that haunts me to my core and the people I love in this community will always have my support. I will always hold firm in my belief that everyone, regardless of sex or gender identity or sexual orientation, deserves the same opportunities to love and marriage and starting a family.

But these beliefs of mine don't invalidate my belief in God. Or my relationship with church and religion itself. I can be both. I am both.

I've had more than one someone tell me that I can't support same-sex marriage and be a Christian because of what the Bible states. I've had scripture quoted at me in response to the fact that I am and will always be pro-choice. I've even gotten my fair share of dirty looks for having and wanting tattoos.

I've let it roll off my back because I know, in my soul, that I believe in a God who loves. That's it. No buts, no conditions, no restrictions. And even more than that, He tells us to love as he does. No questions asked. My political beliefs don't affect the love I have for human beings. They don't dictate how I get to practice religion. And vice versa, religion doesn't get to dictate what issues I support or which candidates I vote for.

I struggled for a long time to grasp the understanding that I can have my own beliefs, separate from what "traditional" Christians would have me do or say. For a long time, a voice in my head told me that I would be a bad Christian or that God would be disappointed if I chose to believe certain things, say certain things, or be certain things.

It took a long time for me to realize that generosity, compassion, and love should be my number one priorities. That I shouldn't focus on what society and tradition tell me about how Christians have always behaved. That I shouldn't put all my energy and effort into the strict rules or do's and don'ts of religion. Believing in God is about loving your fellow humans. In whatever shape, size, race, or gender they come in.

To me, my belief in God is about creating a safe space for everyone to be exactly the way He made them. Gay or straight. Transgender or Cisgender. Black or white. Christian or Muslim or Hindu or Catholic or Athiest.

It's about morality and standing firm in my own beliefs. It's not about checking each box on a ballot with what the majority of my religion may believe.

Here's the thing about religion: there are over 4000 of them around the world. It's not my job, or yours, to try and correct or dispute every single religious belief on the planet. At their cores, most religions are founded on the same thing. On the ideas of love, of kindness, and of being the best version of yourself.

Throughout history, we've seen that the overlap of religion and government usually don't end well for most involved. We've seen that mass, forced conversion from one religion to another, for reasons politically motivated or otherwise, is not something that can be done humanely or without fatal consequence.

Religion should not be the basis on which every law is created. It shouldn't be an excuse for persecution or alienation of certain minorities.

The only part of any religion that should be carried over into politics is the basis of love and respect.

I can support the LGBTQ community and be pro-choice and support immigrants and vote for whichever candidate my political views align with the most, despite the perceived Christian stereotypes.

There's a lot of pressure for young Christians, or young people a part of any religion, to fit into boxes that have been carefully molded over thousands of years. Boxes that say you can't believe one thing while also believing another, just because your religion says so.

My religious and political ideals are two separately formed belief systems. And most importantly, neither of my beliefs invalidate the other.

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As A Female Christian Millennial, I Fully Support Alabama's Abortion Ban Because I Know God Would, Too

A life always has worth, no matter the circumstances.

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Alabama's state legislature passed a bill on May 14, 2019 that makes it illegal for abortions to be performed past six weeks of pregnancy. Doctors who are caught violating the law could be sentenced up to 99 years in prison. The bill is the strictest anti-abortion bill to date this year as states try to pass laws to challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.

While the law does allow an exception to women whose lives are at risks, it does not allow for abortions in the event of rape or incest. I support Alabama's new law, and I applaud them for their efforts to protect the rights of unborn children.

As a Christian, I believe that life is a precious gift from God and should be treated with care.

The sixth commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill," and Jesus said the second greatest rule was to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39-40). I believe this applies to every person born and unborn. But, even from a secular perspective, there are reasons that support an unborn child's right to life. Let's break down two of the most important components of the bill: abortion itself and the case of rape and incest.

A big argument in the debate is whether a baby is alive before it is born or only after it is born.

I believe can be explained and answered with simple medical science. In the medical profession, a person is pronounced dead when there is no more activity in the brain, known as brain-dead.

At that point, they consider there to be no more life in the body.

The opposite of death is life, so if you have electrical signals still coursing through your brain, then you are alive. A fetus begins to have electrical activity in its brain at six weeks. Most women do not find out they are pregnant until around that time, so by the time they decide to have an abortion, the baby, by all medical accounts, is alive.

Another indicator of whether a person is dead or dying is their pulse.

The pulse is how many times a person's heart beats per minute. If a person does not have a pulse, they will more than likely die if their heart cannot be resuscitated because no oxygen is getting to their brain.

Medical personnel does everything they can to start a person's heart back because they know that the heart is key to life.

A baby's heart begins to beat at five weeks old, again before the mother knows she is pregnant and can choose to have an abortion. Since the United States' justice system upholds that killing a person is wrong, then shouldn't killing a baby, who is alive, be wrong too? I think this is plenty of proof that aborting a baby is killing a living person and is therefore wrong.

Rape and incest are two horrible acts that should be punished. It is never the victim's or conceived a child's fault in the situation.

Given the reasons above for why abortion is wrong, I also believe, while both crimes are horrendous, that abortion is still not the answer to this problem. I do understand, however, that women, because of the traumatic experience or other reasons, may not be able to care for the child.

As such, I am an advocate for adoption.

There are many couples out there who cannot have children on their own who would love to adopt. In order, for this to be a viable option, though, Congress needs to make amendments to adoption laws.

Adoption is outrageously expensive, much more costly than an abortion, and is a long and tedious process.

Though the laws are in place so that not just anybody can adopt a child, the government still could stand to relax laws a little. Another option could be to offer aid to those who wish to adopt specifically to cover adoption expenses or to only those who meet certain requirements. If we want to protect unborn children, we must give women and families more viable options.

I know that my views are not popular, but God did not call us to be popular, He called us to be His disciples.

I will not compromise my convictions because I am in the minority. I support the women who have to face this dilemma, and I pray that they and our government officials make the right decisions and aid these women and families in need of help.

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We're All Thinking It, I'm Saying It: Too Many People Are Running For President

I'm all for options, but man, do we really need 24? I mean, I can barely pick a flavor of ice cream at Baskin Robbins let alone a potential President.

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There are, currently, 23 Democrats running for President. On the Republican side, there's, of course, Trump, but only one other candidate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. Democrats have a whole range of people running, from senators to congressmen, a former vice-president, and even a spiritual advisor. We can now say that there are DOZENS of people running for President in 2020.

Joe Biden has been leading the pack for quite some time now. He was even leading polls before he announced his campaign. Although he is the frontrunner, there really is no big favorite to win the nomination. Biden has been hovering around the mid-30s in most polls, with Bernie Sanders coming in second. Other minor candidates in the hunt are Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris.

After the surprising defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016, Democrats have become electrified and have a mission to take back the White House after winning back the House of Representatives in 2018. There are so many people running in 2020, it seems that it will be hard to focus on who is saying what and why someone believes in something, but in the end, there can only be one candidate. This is the most diverse group of candidates ever, several women are running, people of color, the first out gay candidate, and several more.

There could be a problem when it comes to debate time. I mean, the first debate is next month. Having around 20-plus people on stage at the same time, debating each other kinda sounds like a nightmare. How can someone get their point across in the right amount of time when someone else is going to cut them off? Debates are usually around an hour and a half. So, if you divide it up, each candidate would get just under five minutes to speak. That would be in a perfect world of course.

Democrats seriously believe that they can beat Trump in 2020. They say they have learned from the mistakes of 2016, and have the guts and the momentum to storm back into the White House. By July of next year, there will be only one candidate left. Will they be able to reconcile the divide during the primaries? We will see. It will surely be a fun election cycle, so make sure to have your popcorn ready and your ballot at hand to pick your favorite candidate, no matter what party you lean towards.

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