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The Buchtelite

A Republican presidency would be a disaster for religious tolerance

By Nick Golina, njg44@zips.uakron.edu

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The current Republican platform claims that education includes the importance of “the handing over of a cultural identity.

Such a cultural identity within the republican psyche includes an evangelical conception of Christianity that would advocate for a religious curriculum strictly based on the Bible and allow institutions to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation on issues like marriage equality, gender-neutral bathrooms, and employment.

But cultural identities are not monolithic and the American system of moral individuality was not designed to be like this.

In case this was not abundantly clear, Christianity is not the only way to live a moral life, and a conservative version of the religion certainly does not represent a universal morality among all Christians in America or among the rest of the world religions.

While Christianity can be taught in a way that can promote humanistic values, by catering to only one religion, the Republican platform has excluded the value of the other world religions and philosophies in framing a diverse cultural mindset of understanding and acceptance of different moral points of view.

Not only is this an abdication of responsibility by the Republicans to embrace diversity and prepare the members of the party for operating in a new ideological environment, it goes directly against the goal of creating a better political environment for Americans today.

Michael Sandel of Harvard University argued in a 2010 TED Talk that our politics is very interdependent with the moral convictions that we bring to public life.

Part of creating a basic level of political stability within our political debates is to bring morality out into the open and to create a Socratic environment of impartial mediation of our conflicting moral beliefs within the education system.

If we were to follow the advice of Daniel Dennett of Tufts University, a curriculum could be created where spiritual and religious modes of thought could be taught in a way that allows for equal representation of all groups that hold specific moral beliefs.

In the end, the education system is the key to preserving social harmony among the American citizenry.

Diversity without integration is a nuclear warhead waiting to go off, because the moral foundations of our identities must be understood in order to create a sense of empathy for others’ concerns.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party has chosen an exclusionary moral paradigm that is discriminatory against religious and racial minorities which will only divide our country, rather than embrace common sense solutions in education to solve deep, visceral issues within the American electorate.

The great atheistic thinker and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins once said that on the subject of the universe “the solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.”

As advocates for educational issues, the Democrats stand ready to embrace the beauty of diversity in moral thought, even if the puzzle of finding a way to institutionalize the acceptance of diversity will be a strenuous process to say the least.

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The editorially independent student voice at The University of Akron since 1889.
A Republican presidency would be a disaster for religious tolerance