Religions Influence on Voting

The Taboo Two


By Eden Burkow


Religion, for many, is a key component that makes up one’s self-identity. Religion is worn with pride, as a badge of honor that represents a commitment to community values.


While the word religion in Latin means “to tie or bind together,” many religions often appear in opposition to one another. However, according to scholar Stephen Prothero, he finds that religions have more “family resemblances” than not. All religions have a form of rituals, scriptures, sacred days, and gathering places. Most importantly: religion gives its followers some sort of “instructions” for how humans should act towards one another. 


Religion is an integral part of self-identity – in the most intimate way. Religion bonds people by shared values creating a community, which in turn, influences voter behavior – a less-discussed impact of religion.


I am a young Jewish American woman, and one of Judaism's teachings that I live by is Tikkun O’lam, repairing the world. This value encourages me to make the world a more peaceful, equal, and tolerant society through the actions of Tzedakah (charity), Hesed (kindness), and political action for justice. It teaches me to act constructively for the benefit of society and not “Stand Idly By.” While I cannot speak on behalf of my entire community, I have observed and reflected on the impact my religious beliefs have on political behavior – especially during this current election. 


Today, as a Generation Z’er in a polarized America, I have a heightened consideration for my humanity and how I interact with my peers, especially knowing my vote impacts their lives. I question: what my religion has taught me about treating others and how MY vote in the upcoming election affects all those around me.


Voting behavior can be easily influenced by religion and is often predictable because many religions have a public position on an issue – so one’s vote must “fall in line” with their religious identity. For example, religious beliefs may predetermine and impact one’s stance on the issues of abortion or homosexual rights due to the moral values and restrictions promoted in religious doctrines. 


As a voter, I ask myself what kind of impact my religious identity has on my voting decisions in comparison to the influences of my race; family and friends; or even the area in which I grew up. A question for all: Do our religious identities hold more power over our voting decisions than our consideration of all of society? 



QUESTIONS I PROPOSE:


  1. DID YOU GROW UP WITH A RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND?

  2. HAVE YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS INFLUENCED YOUR POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES?

  3. HAVE YOU MADE VOTING DECISIONS BASED ON YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS?

  4. DO YOUR POLITICAL BELIEFS MAKE YOU QUESTION YOUR RELIGION? 

  5. Where does your religion stand on the topic of // Where do YOU stand on the topic of:

  • Women’s reproductive rights

  • HOMOSEXUALITY

  • ENVIRONMENT, specifically climate change 

  • WOMEN’S RIGHTS

  • VACCINES

  • ECONOMICS


As a Generation Z’er, the youngest demographic group to cast a ballot – I ask you to reflect on what has made an impact on your political beliefs, and how that will influence your voting behavior.