Two Voices on the Role of Religion in Democracy

May 1, 2004

Source: The Kansas City Star

On May 1, 2004 The Kansas City Star published responses by a Buddhist monk and a Baptist Reverend to the question: "Should religion play a part in our democratic system of government?" The Rev. Tony Cobbins, pastor of Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, said: "I personally feel that religion should definitely play a role in the democratic process...According to the historical accounts of the birth of this nation that I have read and was taught in school, freedom of religion was the primary issue at the forefront of the birth of this nation." Lama Chuck Stanford of Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery said: "We can see today, as well as historically, the monumental problems created when a government is based upon the religion of those in power. This is known as a theocracy and almost always results in internal conflict, violence and war motivated by religious hatred."