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Separation of Church, State…and Business.

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Being that my parents, and many of my friends own small businesses, I am constantly immersed in the politics and law making that surrounds small business. I attempt to stay abreast of law making in this sphere, both locally and nationally, but honestly it’s so dynamic and constantly under construction that it’s hard to keep up with. Additionally I am often caught in the drama that unfolds between businesses and their employees, and the difficulty these businesses face in governing their employees. In short, a friend who owns a water restoration company shared with me recently during a conversation that his spirituality, which he is very vocal about, was what he accredited his success to. His company has grown to become one of the largest restoration companies in Arizona and he has great employee retention and has absolutely no drama or tension between anyone who works for him. Which got me thinking…how does being vocal about being spirituality or religion effect larger businesses, like countries? Does embracing a single spiritual following, create cohesion like it has in this small business, or does it have ill effects at a larger scale?

Nationalism has always been a topic that has interested me, many people represented by single governance and their affection for that inclusion. Life is not an easy journey in many parts of the world, and many people have to do things that we privileged westerners would not dare do, and live by standards we would never tolerate. Often times those in need seek aid from governance or any form of authority, whether its secular nationalism or religious nationalism, almost everyone yearns for comfort at a national level, as well as order and governance.

Here in the United States I would personally say it is more of a secular nationalism that we have, since we praise the red white and blue, and nothing really more or less. Granted it does say one nation under god in the constitution, but ever since capitalism God has seemed to step down from his podium and money has replaced it. So here in the good old USA we worship secular things like money and the economy and don’t bother much with religion except for on Sundays. I would imagine that some would beg to differ and think the U.S. is a nation bound by God and Christianity and I can understand that reasoning. But I would argue that its more hard cold secular facts that we follow and just mention God because we all fear his wrath, but really the only God we answer to is money.

While money and hard science rules modern America, we see many countries on other parts of the world that are held together by their national faith. I’ll take Rome for example which I visited for the first time this past summer and like America they were founded on a religion, Catholicism, and people there are just as familiar with current religious news as they are with their national news. As religious nationalists, your pope or priest is held in the same or even higher light as the national leader. Which I don’t believe to be a bad idea because I think spirituality is very important. But many religions are more concerned with control rather than spirituality.

One can imagine the power a country could have if its whole country agreed on the same religious beliefs, and they did not waste time debating their differences like we do. National religions can contribute to national unity and a shared bond between citizens. It can also help create a national identity and establish values and morals on a national level. But maybe that’s where the root of the problem lye’s, a country trying to control too much, and leaving nothing for its citizens to discern for themselves. I like the confidence of a nation pretending to know it all, but the reality is there are thousands of religions and to pick a national religion is just asking people to up rise. Not only can your country up rise, but also other countries might even feel threatened by your national denomination. We see it happen all the time all over the world, countries fighting over religious beliefs, and if your country stands behind a certain faith you better believe their efforts will go into defending that faith. This is the reason parts of the Middle East have been at war for so long, because they are all defending their religious nationalism.

Though I have pointed out some flaws of religious nationalism, this does not mean secular nationalism is the answer. I think like in the example I gave at the beginning, where spirituality has actually helped my friends restoration company, strong morals, ethics, and even spiritual foundations can make a group of people more cohesive. I believe a country who is built on morals and principles is great, the problem arises when you say one religion is right, and the other is wrong.

I bet their are many instances where religious, or spiritual beliefs have helped businesses small and large create cohesion among employees. And I know their are many instances where the same thing has happened in countries. However at the national level it gets a little more complicated when trying to make a mandatory code of ethics or claim a religion that all must adhere to.

Interesting things to think about. Until next time my friends.

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