Religious rejection of politics

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Religious rejection of politics is a philosophy that can be found in several religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Followers of this philosophy may withdraw from politics for several reasons, including the view that politics is artificial, divisionary, or corrupt.

Several religious groups reject any involvement in politics. Many Taoists have rejected political involvement on the grounds that it is insincere or artificial and a life of contemplation in nature is more preferable, while some ascetic schools of Hinduism or Buddhism also reject political involvement for similar reasons. In Christianity, some groups like Jehovah's Witnesses, the Amish, Hutterites, and the Exclusive Brethren may reject politics on the grounds that they believe Christ's statements about the kingdom not being of the world mean that earthly politics can or should be rejected.

In other religious systems it can relate to a rejection of nationalism or even the concept of nations. In certain schools of Islamic thinking nations are a creation of Western imperialism and ultimately all Muslims should be united religiously in the ummah. Therefore Muslims should be in hijra as nations, in the Western sense, are basically deemed apostate. There are some aspects of the early days of the radical Takfir wal-Hijra that hint at this. Likewise various Christian denominations reject any involvement in national issues considering it to be a kind of idolatry called statolatry. Most Christians who rejected the idea of nations have associated with the Christian Left.

Lastly, some religions do not specifically reject politics per se, but believe existing political systems are so inherently corrupt they must be ignored. In some respects the view of governments as apostate relates to that. Also in its early stages many in the Nation of Islam rejected the idea of voting as the US political system was rejected in strong terms. Although in recent decades this view has declined in popularity amongst them or been outright rejected.

In the United States, a recent survey indicated that 2% of those who did not register to vote cited religious reasons.[1] The same survey reported that 22% of Americans are not registered to vote.

Religions that reject participation in politics[edit]

Religion Adherents Largest national membership
Jehovah's Witnesses 7,000,000 United States
Old Apostolic Church 1,500 000 estimate South Africa
Christadelphians 50,000 United Kingdom
Old Order Amish 200,000 United States
Doukhobors 45,000 Canada
Rastafarians 600,000 Jamaica
Bahá'í Faith 1,000,000 India
Shaykhiya 100,000 Iraq

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