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10/8: Religion & GOP Candidates

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By KRUI Reporter Caitlin Fry

KRUI News Director and Reporter, Emily Woodbury, asked various persons on the University of Iowa campus about their opinions in regards to the GOP candidates, religious beliefs, and science.

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The majority of those interviewed did not believe they could vote for a president who doesn’t believe in evolution. Surprisingly, only 3 of the 8 major GOP candidates believe in evolution — Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich. Huntsman and Romney are both Mormons while Gingrich is a recently converted Catholic. Answers from interviewees varied from “evolution is obviously happening” to “various science programs would lose funding.”

Simply defined, evolution is “the change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of individuals.”

Even the other 5 candidates who do not believe in evolution have been incorporating their religious beliefs into their campaigns.

Because of the separation of church and state it gets a little tricky when a candidate incorporates their religious beliefs into their goals and policy decisions. While some presidential candidates hope their religious affiliation will garner them more support among voters with similar opinions, the U.S. government functions without the influence of religion, and strong religious beliefs could possibly affect other aspects of American life.

The separation of church and state refers to the concept that a nation will not have a conjoined relationship with an organized religion. Yet, there are instances where religious beliefs are inserted into ethical issues, such as abortion.

Perhaps it is almost impossible to not have some religious influence on ethical issues since other amendments, like the freedom of speech, allow those with religious opinions to express them as freely as non-religious Americans.