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Political Socilization

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The person that I interviewed was a priest, Hernan Arias, who is currently a priest in St. Anthony of Padua in Passaic, New Jersey. Hernan believes that he plays a very important role in political socialization. The following is a thorough interview with priest, Hernan Arias and what roles as a priest he plays in society and politics as a whole.

One of the first questions that was asked during his interview was gay marriage and his views on this topic. When he first became a priest one of the things he began to study was marriage and its purposes. The purpose of marriage through the eyes of church and Hernan is procreation, education of children, and allowing people to get rid of their sex urge. The Church has always considered the homosexual act as evil. A same sex marriage allows two people to come together in a sinful condition. His responsibility as a priest is to educate people as to what they see as the values of marriage. When Kerry was running for president he covered many topics in his campaign including gay marriage. President Kerry would allow for long term gay relationships to have rights such as those of married couples. The church saw this as a threat because of its morals and values. If the leader of a country allows for gay marriage to be legalized then eventually the belief of same sex marriage would not be a sin.

"We want to make sure that all children are protected and receive equal rights." Hernan stated. It is a critical issue and the church is very insistent and very consistent that, while no individual should be without protection, marriage where a mother and a father are present in a child's life. This is what the ideal situation would be. Homosexual people must always be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity, but will not be accepted by the Roman Catholic Church.

As a priest, he plays an important role in informing the public in his Sunday masses of what these candidates had in mind for the country. Hernan talked about in one of his masses how these candidates wanted abortion and gay marriage legalized, which are sins. Gay marriage does not exist in the eyes of God, because there is no procreation involved. The purpose of the human race believed by the church is to procreate and teach our children to do the same. If society allows gay marriage our purpose in life is being overlooked.

Another topic that we discussed was abortion. The church believes that God is the only powerful one to destroy the life of someone. An abortion is an act of crime and should be seen as one. The mere thought of abortion is considered immoral. In our government today there has been officials who think of abortion as a way of preventing overpopulation and much more. Here we have a case where the church and politics are once again contradicting each other. The government is telling society that abortion is okay while the church does not allow such acts tolerated. Hernan, mentioned how abortion is repeatedly mentioned in his gatherings because it is an act of irresponsibility. He repeated many times how all of these laws would not allow procreation in the human race to occur. An abortion is seen by the church as an act of sin because one is not being thankful for being sent by God to this earth. He constantly tells church goers that those that believe in abortion should not consider the thought of entering heaven.

I saw very clearly how this priest held a very strong role in political socialization. He sees about three hundred people who attend his masses. He is delivering messages such as this which can be very powerful to the masses. He is telling people that our sole purpose in society is to procreate. He is influencing these people how to vote or even think when it comes to society and what is legal but yet immoral. We have had candidates who want abortion to be legalized but the church is getting in the way of the success of these candidates. This priest who I interviewed was set in the idea that none of these actions should be even thought of because they are strictly immoral.

I then focused in prayers in school which is discussed in America at Odds by Sidlow (79). Hernan believes that prayers should be held in public schools. The church believes that everyone should have a common faith and that having prayers in school teaches our children about God and our creation at an early age. According to Sidlow, "The Supreme Court has ruled that the public schools which are agencies of government, cannot sponsor religious activities." (81)

Yet Hernan, had some comments on this when I mentioned it to him. "The public schools are part of the government, therefore, they cannot sponsor religious activities but how can they involve religious affairs in their politics."

The Supreme Court has never held that students cannot pray in school. Instead, the Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot have anything to do with prayer in schools. The government cannot tell students when to pray. The government cannot tell students what to pray. The government cannot tell students that they should pray. The government cannot tell students that prayer is better than no prayer.

This allows students a great deal of freedom. Why? Because



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