The government of any country has many responsibilities to its people. One such authority is to provide parameters and guidelines for the appropriate behavior of the citizens. The government enacts policies to address urgent issues, facilitate desirable actions, and respond to the needs of its residents. This paper will argue that religion, morality, and the prevailing worldview of the stakeholders play an essential role in shaping social policies.
Public policies are the result of the current societal environment and often reflect the views of most of the people of the country. The prevailing religion of a nation can be viewed as a social force that influences issue attention and, as a result, policy change and creation. According to Johnson et al. (2017), some spiritual and religious beliefs affect how people process environmental messaging and their willingness to support regulations aimed at protecting the environment. It can be assumed that certain spiritual ideas can prevent people from supporting laws they deem anti-religious and contrary to the dogmas afforded in their sacred texts.
Although the government’s duty of tolerance to various religious views should be upheld, it is also essential to guarantee that policies considered necessary by the majority of the country’s voters are enacted (Freeman, 2020). Thus, Freeman (2020) states that public policies should be neutral in their aim and should not support religious views at the cost of the civil liberties of others. Overall, it can be argued that religion can shape people’s willingness to support specific social issues and affect related guidelines through the voting process.
Similarly, morality can also be viewed as a societal force and can affect public policies. The predominant ethical orientation can influence what laws voters are inclined to back and endorse. It can be debated that morality is the main influencing force on the creation of many regulations. According to Mourão Permoser (2019, p. 2), any policy involves “a negotiation over the correct interpretation and implementation of deeply held values.” Furthermore, although some people may be personally against an issue, they can recognize the importance of specific regulations being established for society (Mourão Permoser, 2019).
Today, morality shapes social guidelines as politicians tend to present political matters as ethical ones, appealing to the voters’ sense of responsibility towards their community. Unlike religious beliefs, which often prohibit people from supporting an issue, ethics can be negotiated as a policy is a public matter and not a private one (Mourão Permoser, 2019). Thus, morality can be employed to shape the laws and regulations of a country.
Social guidelines are also substantially affected by the individual worldviews of both policy-makers and voters. Chuang et al. (2020) note that one’s mindset can profoundly impact their behavior and societal sustainability. Thus, some people may be completely disenfranchised and disengaged from social life and the voting process, contributing to a skewed representation of the views of the country’s citizens.
In addition, Wang and Kim (2018) state that worldviews can change over time and, as beliefs about various problems are linked to them, so can the person’s attitudes towards different policies. Overall, one’s worldview can affect what issues one support and willing to vote for and the general engagement in society.
In summary, public policies are vital laws that can guide the citizens in everyday life and promote desirable behavior. However, most of the regulations are shaped by the religious views, moral values, and worldviews of the people involved in their creation and the voting process. Religion can prevent support for particular issues, while morality can be negotiated to champion policies that would benefit society regardless of the voters’ values. A worldview can also affect what laws are supported and the overall engagement in forming new policies.
Chuang, F., Manley, E., & Petersen, A. (2020). The role of worldviews in the governance of sustainable mobility. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(8), 4034–4042. Web.
Freeman, S. (2020). Democracy, religion and public reason. Daedalus, 149(3), 37–58. Web.
Johnson, K. A., Liu, R. L., Minton, E. A., Bartholomew, D. E., Peterson, M., Cohen, A. B., & Kees, J. (2017). U.S. citizens’ representations of god and support for sustainability policies. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 36(2), 362–378. Web.
Mourão Permoser, J. (2019). What are morality policies? The politics of values in a post-secular world. Political Studies Review, 17(3), 310–325. Web.
Wang, J., & Kim, S. (2018). Analysis of the impact of values and perception on climate change skepticism and its implication for public policy. Climate, 6(4), 99–127. Web.