Thursday, June 05, 2008

Religion & Politics

I don't usually write about politics-- and religion only in terms of how it directly affects me. I do this normally because I hate offending people, aka people who read my blog, i.e. my friends. Also, I think that the political system that we have only accentuates the differences between people and most people aren't really far right or far left--we're all hanging out in the center somewhere, leaning one direction or another, sometimes back and forth depending on the issue, our stage in life, or whatever. And I will dare to say that it holds even for people with strong party affiliations. And I think that's okay. I think that's GOOD. I personally believe that my life has been enriched and challenged and changed for the better by my more-right-leaning friends. It helps me to put a face to certain issues and viewpoints and that takes a lot of the venom out of any argument. How can I hate people who believe X, when people who believe X= my beloved family member or friend (for example)? I can still disagree, but it's different when the "other side" is no longer the enemy.

Oh, and I'm not ALWAYS right. And I feel like with politics, it's about who's RIGHT and who's WRONG. Both parties, all parties, it doesn't matter.


I was reading this op-ed piece about a (Republican) Catholic who was denied communion because of his public support of Obama, specifically because of Obama's pro-choice stance. Now, I will not get into any priest or bishop's right to deny someone communion. I have VERY strong opinions about it, the Church has very strong opinions about it, and not as conservative as one might think. That's another topic for another day.

I will say that I found it interesting to see how another Catholic views politics and social responsibility. Of course, it doesn't hurt that I agree with a lot of what he says. If I am a Catholic and say that I am pro-life because that is the Church's teaching, then I better be anti-abortion AND anti-capital punishment AND anti-euthanasia. Oh, and anti-unjust-war. I am not going to get into how I feel about all of those here, or even if I am able to be behind any or all of those, just that it's hard to choose a party based solely on the pro-life, "culture of life" stance. We split them up in this country. It's like the parties divvied them up.

I also found it insightful to read what a Catholic who was raised a Democrat found so appealing about Ronald Reagan. My parents thought he was the Devil Incarnate, it was like a funeral in our house after the 1984 election... Right after he was inaugurated in 1981, The Weekly Reader did a story on him and it was all about how he loved jelly beans and I thought, wow, that's the most interesting thing you can say about him? I was a cynical little 6-year-old. That's where I was coming from. Anyway, his comment about Reagan's statement about "family, work, neighborhood, peace and freedom" also appeals to my sense of morality, so it makes more sense to me.

Once again, when all of the political posturing dies down, we all have a lot more in common than all of the politicians and pundits want to say. Disagreeing, even strongly, on things but still being able to join hands and sing like the Whos is much less exciting and doesn't sell advertising.

Just some thoughts...


shoeaddict said...

I am pro-choice. I am anti-Obama. I am all for LESS government. In our family, Ronald Reagan is a hero. I LOVE him, cried for days when he dies.

However, I love you and respect your right to have an opinion. I do not think that anyone should be denied communion because of the way they vote.

I agree that it's a delicate subject matter.

shoeaddict said...

I am pro-life. That is what I meant to write.

Julie said...

Yeah, it's hard because I grew up with parents who were/are incredibly conservative Republicans. And I'll do you one higher than crying at Ronald Reagan dying: the first time I ever saw my father cry was when RICHARD NIXON DIED! Yep. But I love my father and we find more common ground than ever these days.
I got the best bumpersticker the other day though: "Bipartisanship: I'll hug your elephant if you kiss my ass" hopefully my tires won't be slashed the first time I venture out of Austin:)

AlaneM said...

I was raised a very libral Dem & (in my dad's opinion) have turned traitor on them. (didn't like Regan - so much that he wouldn't fly the flag while he was in office!!) However, this election I'm not sure if I'll vote (for the first time since I became elligable.) I just find I can't back either of them without going aganist a strongly held belief. It's hard for me to find a middle ground party wise because I get conflicted between my belief system & my upbringing.
IMO they are all corrupt in one way or another.