The founders understood that religious differences were central to some of the bloodiest wars in Europe’s history, but some, like John Adams, nevertheless believed that American democracy was “designed only for moral and religious people.” From their conflicting views, they came up with this simple instruction in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Faith gives us the confidence to navigate and act upon the world and to trust in ourselves and our fellow humans that we can live by a commonly agreed upon code of law and ethics. Whether the confidence to possess such trust comes from belief in a book about an invisible, all knowing creator or a movie about lightsaber-wielding monks or an equation like E=mc2 is generally irrelevant.
Democracy simply can’t exist without faith and the trust it inspires.
No doubt that some wield their religious faith as a weapon to coerce the insecure and gain political power with the goal of imposing their will on others.