The run-up for the 2020 presidential election has seen several issues of concern. Religion has been one of the topics of discussion during the Democratic presidential primary. The dialogues around the social and religious issues have led to pointing out how the candidates’ religious beliefs have shaped their political positions. However, according to the latest survey by Pew Research Center, Americans don’t consider the Democratic candidates to be particularly religious. The survey described Vermont senator Bernie Sanders as “not too” or “ not at all” religious by every six in ten Americans. Sanders has mentioned that he is “not actively involved with organized religion,” but being Jewish has shaped his values. It was observed that religiously unaffiliated Democrats had an affinity towards Bernie Sanders. 

Former vice president Joe Biden talks about his views on social issues like same-sex marriage, abortion and planned parenthood. On the subject of abortion, Biden says that he does not agree with it, but the government has no right to ban it. On religious issues, Biden supports people’s right to assemble, practice, and express their faith. He stands in support of the separation of church and state to protect both personal religious freedoms and civic equality. 

Tulsi Gabbard believes that freedom of religion is an essential right for all. She has firmly spoken about the targeting of nominees and candidates and everyday Americans based on religion. She is seen taking a strong stance against anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-Hindu, anti-Catholic, and other forms of hate. Tulsi is the first and only serving Hindu Member of Congress and has worked extensively to promote diversity and equality.  

Republican candidate William Weld in a panel discussion held in January, said that religion has never been a large part of his career. He said he had not been the one wearing religion on his sleeves. He explained some of his stances on social issues. He said that President Trump’s overlooking of a serious matter such as climate change is “kind of contrary to every scientific measurement known to man.” He added his views on Trump’s stance on immigration, saying that it “contrary to every economic indicator known to man.” He considers the role of immigrants as a significant one in the US economy. 

The kind of openness that can be seen in talks over issues like that of religion is a progressive one. Also, the candidates talking openly about religion makes their voters believe in the same and allows them to understand that it is all right to talk about how religious values shape political views. Also, another idea that propagates here is that progressive values and religion necessarily don’t have to stand opposite to each other.  

The essence of a religious and progressive political environment is all that the upcoming period of democracy demands from the ones upholding it. A political environment where more and more social and religious voices are given the freedom to exist, that alone would be the most significant achievement for a democracy.