Religion: The Granddaddy of Social Issues

Yahoo Contributor Network

As the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on gay marriage this week, Yahoo asked readers and contributors to share what one cultural issue absorbs their interest. Here's one perspective.

COMMENTARY | Though not specifically a hot-button topic here in Stamford, Conn., religion is an endlessly fascinating social issue with deep political roots and which uniquely has an overarching affect on all other major social issues.

Abortion and gay marriage are inextricably intertwined with religion. Almost every opponent of these founds his or her position in the bedrock of religious dogma. Being objective is difficult when everyone you've trusted since birth has molded you to conform to certain beliefs.

And though your religious affiliation is almost always an accident of your birth (which is why conversion or de-conversion stories are significant-they are rare), you (the royal "you") will make life-altering decisions based on the core set of beliefs with which you were indoctrinated.

Historically, religion has been used to justify slavery and abolitionism, gun control and gun freedom, liberty and socialism. The Christian Bible alone contains stories and parables that could be used to support or oppose almost any position (taken out of context, and sometimes, in context).

Even religion itself is an issue. Richard Dawkins speaks and atheists come out of closets, making national news. The Westboro Baptist Church goes on a hatemongering campaign and Facebook and Twitter are inundated.

No issue comes close to religion for spurring heated, and often intriguing, discussion. Except, of course, politics. And that's why you are trained to discuss neither in polite society. Oops.

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