The role of religion in elections

“When people unfortunately use religion to facilitate their envy , arrogance and hate , communalism surfaces ” — Radhanath Swami

Since its dawn , religion has been a very important tool in deciding the helm of power . A feature common to almost all the systems — Dictatorship , Monarchy or a Democracy , faith to some extent controls power . Many monarchies are nothing but a symbol of religion, representing a faith in the form of a hierarchy . Yet again , another entity can gain power without using religion as a tool , but till how long will the rule last ? If we talk about the three most popular monarchial lines — The British Monarchy (Head of the Church of England) , The Papacy (Sovereign of the Vatican City State) and Dalai Lama ( The dynastic head of the ruling Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism) all of them are religious monarchies and of course the Islamic Monarchies dominating the middle East are an evidence of the tendency of monarchial rules to be religious .

If we look at dictatorships, the rise of most dictatorial regimes is orchestrated by religion , in a major way . A feature common to most dictatorial regimes , the rise of those in power is usually led by a fascist agenda spearheaded with religion . This tendency in visible not only visible dictatorships but , in the present , a large amount of democracies being influenced by this trend . Lets pick the three nations that come in our mind when we talk about democracy — United States , India and France . The United Kingdom too is essential to understand this situation but more on that later . We also need to understand the meaning of elections before we go any further :An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office.

The United States is , as well aware , led by Donald Trump . Now looking at his government one may believe that his stance on employment and immigration put him in a position of such power . However , it was religion that put him in his helm . His appeal to the faith of the people got him elected and indirect affirmation of white and Christian supremacy didn’t hurt his popularity . In India , the Narendra Modi led government has broadcasted its hindutva agenda loud and clear , This government is not only closely related to right wing Hindu organisations , even a large number of its representatives and ministers have explicitly talked about Hindu supremacy . This communal thought is also visible in various government policies and the change in the general atmosphere in the country . In France ,on the other hand , a visibly secular leader,Emmanuel Macron,is in power but we have to understand the nature of its elections . In both India and the United States , the governments won with a landslide victory (India) and an unexpected win despite the lack of knowledge and the number of accusations and scandals put up against the government (United States) . In France however , despite a decisive victory in the second round , the first round was a draw highlighting a confused voter base .

In the United Kingdom too , despite a Christian (symbolic) monarchy , the current Prime Minister Theresa May is outspoken on her comments on her faith and the conservative government shows that the country indeed is of a conservative (closely linked to religious ; yet not the same) mindset .

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