Want to stop good conversation cold? Bring up religion or politics. The first, depending on the crowd, could become dangerous conversation. The latter, at least these days, is likely to create a divisive room.
My spiritual outlook has evolved over the years from religious to spiritual. I’ve always felt how one lives and loves demonstrates true spiritualness rather than ritual attendance to a specialized place. Walk the talk. The ritual of worship may be solace for some, and that’s great for them. At times, walking in the woods feels more church-like to me than any stained-glass-wrapped, tax-evasive edifice. And when I witness acts of kindness or true charity, I feel I’m in the presence of sacred good. These are my particular views, of course, and I’m not passing judgment on anyone who chooses to worship in their manner. Each to his or her own, or at least, that used to be a founding principle of this country. Our present administration seems to have drifted far from that basic concept, but I digress. Religion was the topic, not politics. Including both in one post would only clear the room that much faster.
But speaking of politics, even though I go quietly about my day with my own liberal views, I’m sometimes reminded that I’m ensconced in the middle of a Republican ultra-majority. When I arrived here, I made up the joke “How can you tell a democrat in this county?” to which the proper answer is, “We don’t know. We haven’t seen one yet.” I recently felt the political/religious distance again when I checked out Christopher Hitchen’s God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything from our local library. The librarian took one look at the cover and said, “Hmmph. That’s not right. God IS great, amen.” I smiled and took my contraband out the door. That’s my little pious town for ya!
Years ago, the Green Party candidate for President remarked in a speech, “The Christian right is neither Christian nor right.” We have strayed from the basics of religious tolerance and freedom, and wandered into the dangerous collusion of religion and politics. Some would say faith is needed now more than ever. Others might think it’s Godly that we’re working towards illegalizing non-Christian actions and lifestyles. I’ve always believed in separation of church and state, and I’ve always held for personal freedom and choice. And to my thinking, except for civil laws, Judgment is not a human activity.
You’ll have to excuse me now, I have to leave. Thinking about all of this works up a desire to take a walk in the woods. Hallelujah.