CSUN’s religious studies department holds panel to discuss religion in American politics

Stefanie De Leon Tzic

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Dr. Rosamond Rodman (left), Dr. Robert Goss (middle) and Dr. James Findlay (right), participated in a panel discussion titled, "Religion in the American Political Process" at the Northridge Center in the University Student Union on Tuesday. Photo credit Mariela Molina / Photo editor

Contraception, religious liberty and prejudices were some of the issues brought up at the “Religion in the American Political Process” panel discussion hosted by CSUN’s ReligiousStudies Department, Tuesday.

The event discussed President Barack Obama’s religious background, contraception in the GOP debates and religious prejudices among the Republican candidates.

ccording to Dr. Robert Goss, panelist and religious studies professor, discourses such as these help students create their own opinions, especially with the presidential elections nearing.
“Candidates like Rick Santorum attack colleges and universities for creating people who think for themselves,” Goss said.

Goss touched on the “stew of bigotry” brought about by the GOP candidates against Obama for allowing gays and lesbians in the military and introducing diversity by appointing a Latina to the Supreme Court.
According to Goss, Obama’s tolerance makes him “not the right type of Christian.”

“Religion is such a hot topic in this campaign and the upcoming elections,” said Allana Wilcoson, 20, junior majoring in religious studies.

Religion is not the only ongoing issue GOP candidates have faced. The candidate’s views on contraception, which generated mass attention after the Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh controversy, challenging family values, was also brought up.

The link between religious liberty and contraception is why two worlds collide, said panelist and religious studies professor Dr. Rosamond Rodman. The world of absolutism, which is forged by certainty and morality, and the world of anti-absolutism, forged by doubt and diversity.

According to Rodman, contraception is seen as the erosion of society and lacking family values.

The Obama administration called for full contraception coverage for women regardless if they worked in religious institutions. Obama later compromised and will not force religious affiliated institutions to offer contraception. Instead, the insurers will be required to offer complete coverage.

“The Obama administration was willing to compromise,” Rodman said. “But this was only seen as putting more salt on the wound. This debate on contraception is more a debate on world views.”

Samantha Jones, 18, a freshman majoring in psychology, said the event allowed her to hear other people’s points of view.

“When you look at an issue you tend to see it one way, your way,” Jones said. “But this allows you to see the different sides to an issue.”