THE NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF POLITICAL FUNCTION OF RELIGION: Segmentation

Another discussion of negative function is related to religion as a segmenting factor. Johnstone in respect to the impact of religion on social structure refers to segmentation as following: 1-segmentation related to doctrine; in this relation, religion has a possible segmenting or divisive influence in society. ‘Religion may aggressively compete with other social institutions for the allegiance of people and may seriously disrupt the society. ’ In This extreme form of divisiveness, religion attempts consciously and directly to counter and undermine existing social and governmental forms. 2-Segmentation reinforced by religion; that is, segmentation originates elsewhere but reinforced by religion. He refers to two examples in particular: (1) segmentation inherent in social-class divisions, but enhanced by religion, and (2) segmentation inherent in racial prejudice and discrimination but reinforced by religion (Johnstone, Op.cit: 151- 154).

We, here, refer to two traditional and modern examples. First, as negative functions, for instance sectarian and religious violence that some time is used by some rulers especially in eastern political custom as a tool for governing; ‘divide and rule’. The outcomes of this thinking are crisis, instability, non development and non democratic society. Sectarian movements and schisms have often been bound up with social divisions and conflicts. This is particularly true of the older sectarian movements within Christianity and Islam. The second issue is deviating the mass voting in elections and forgetting principal issues of society during important political events. In 1928 the protestant opposition gave significant credit for defeat of Alfred e. Smith’s presidential candidacy in U.S.A on the grounds of his Catholicism. In the 1960 presidential campaign the anti-catholic issue was again raised. For that matter, some churchmen urged Catholics to vote for Kennedy because he was Catholic (Ibid: 153). As another example, we can point to various parts of Kurdistan especially in turkey, Iran and Syria; While Kurdish people as a large stateless have ethno- national problem within these countries, most of the times, some religious groups have acted along with the central governments of the countries against the Kurdish nationalist groups. At the lower levels, we can also see the negative aspect of this religious segmentation. In some cities and region, people just because of religious dogma, participate in elections and it waters down other important issues, for example, in election times in some regions in Kirmashan province in the east of Kurdistan (west of Iran), because of the religious Competition between two cults of Islam (shiite and sunnit), they, as Kurdish people, forget many other problems, especially their national problem with central government. They just try to elect a candidate from their own religious group to the parliament. Thus, from the point of view of Kurdish politics, this is the negative function of religion in Kurdistan. On the contrary, the government always uses of this gap between Kurdish people in favor of its own goals. From its point of view, it is positive function of religion. In the modern history of Kurdistan this situation has been an obstacle to integrate of Kurdish movement.