Politics and Religion: The Luck of the Draw
Everyone knows that you aren’t supposed to talk about politics and religion in mixed company. I know that as well, but will do it anyway because that is how I roll, how I flow, because I do it exceptionally quick, and then change the subject. You will see me do this in a moment, but first I must set the table to lessen the anxiety of the moral majority or overtly sensitive minority (who used that word?) who won’t even process even something fairly rationale if in the context of a challenge to politics and/or religion.
As many students and faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh, many educators of North Country New York and Vermont schools and various business owners already know, and as I have mentioned before, I often conduct an educational workshop titled “Diversity Enlightenment.” Its main purpose is to situate the concept of diversity within the same context as social justice. Another critical point made in the presentation is that you can’t avoid being framed a hypocrite if you desire RESPECT while not prepared to give it at an equivalent level. The level of engagement at this moment in the presentation is always quite intriguing because of the different places people’s minds may happen to be in, relative to change and their own xenophobia (fear of difference/fear of the unknown/fear of strangers). It never ceases to amaze me how people can rationalize their right to some type of social justice or civil rights, and then stutter, stammer, or downright deny others their similar rights. But it happens, over and over again, and the writer of this blog posting (yes, your’s truly) as well as most of my blog readers are guilty of this infraction if we really take the time to consider our reality across a wide spectrum of categories (obesity, socio-economic class, ability, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, religion) and admit it.
I often tell my audiences that examples of our hypocrisy reside in our politics and religion. Oh-oh, here he goes! Yes, an example of this hypocrisy exists in the fact that the average person who steps in a voting booth could not pass an exam on the principles of their self proclaimed political party, but they nevertheless vote. Frankly, our parents couldn’t pass the exam, but because they are our role models, we vote politically the way they do, in essence, becoming as clueless as they are/were, and rationalizing the experience as something we somewhat intuit as the right thing to do for our society. So we exalt the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Independent Party, etc. over others and often bastardize our entire country over partisan politics because nobody wants to lose a contests the average Jane and John frankly don’t understand. The phrase “vote for me and I’ll set you free” really should be “vote for this and you’ll vote for that” until we really start to address larger issues of why we belong and sing certain songs. Think about it! Now, what are your thoughts?
Religion is even more of a peculiar experience. We are brought up in certain faiths with devout belief, often so devout that we take a judgmental position on others who have different faiths, or none at all, and label them uncouth, heathens, essentially lesser humans because they don’t believe what we believe, or don’t believe at all in a higher being. We never stop to think about the fact that on some level our religious affiliation is “often,” not “always” simply “the luck of the draw.” If our parents had been of a different faith, we would have been as well, and our entire world view would be different. So, Baptists, instead born Catholic, Jews instead born Muslims, Christians instead born Atheists, would all be looking at various religions quite differently. It is conceivable that someone born Christian who is condescending to Atheists could have been born an Atheist instead and prejudging Christians.
1. By the actions of people in our world do you think this is something that people think about? Why not?
2. Do you have any other examples of the type of societal or personal hypocrisy that we live or let occur, without challenge or even consideration?
3. What are your thoughts in general? Oh, come on now, you have something to say on this one I know...