Thursday, October 23, 2008

Political Ramblings

I don't normally get into politics. It's not my thing and I often don't feel informed enough to discuss a lot of issues with others. However, like a lot of people, this election season has sucked me like never before. This was the first year I voted in the primaries and it will be the first time since high school I've voted in a presidential election.

I've watched the debates, I watch CNN's political coverage regularly and I've read a variety of blog entries about the candidates and various propositions that are on the ballot this November. All of this has really forced me to take a look at myself and what I believe in. To try and reconcile religious beliefs with the founding principles of this great nation. I've been struggling with these issues for weeks now, but I think that in that, I've grown. A lot.

I was raised in a Christian household and I'd say the principles of Christianity really shaped my childhood. Things were taught as being right or wrong, according to the Bible, with very little middle ground. I still hold onto a lot of this value system, but as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that the world often exists in shades grey. In addition, I've also come to understand the reasons for the separation of church and state and why this is so important.

Living in this country means I'm able to practice the religion I choose to and have the value system I have without fear of religious persecution. That also means that my neighbor gets to do the same, even if it's the polar opposite of what I believe. I respect that and am grateful for it. But, that also means we can't use one religion or one set of beliefs for the basis of all our laws. Let's take, for example, the issue of abortion. Personally, do I believe that it is right? No. My value system tells me otherwise. But, do I think it should be illegal? No. Besides the public health ramifications of such a move, there are also those pesky shades of grey again. What about rape victims? Incest victims? When the mother's health is at stake? Yeah, it gets sticky pretty quickly.

If we were ever to have kids, it would be up to us to teach them our value systems, not to rely on the country to have laws in effect that would prohibit behavior with which we don't agree. But, keeping abortion as the example, it'd start with topics that came waaay before that one. It'd start with sex, what that means, and everything that goes along with it. You know, that whole personal responsibility thing. It seems to have gone the way of the dodo bird in this country, but it's something we need to get back to and soon.

So, I guess this was a rambling way of saying that I've come to a place where I seem to have found a good balance between my religous beliefs and my political ones. It wasn't easy to get to, but I think I've learned a lot about myself in the process. And I'm hopeful for this country come November 4th. Let's hope it's a day that we turn a corner and start heading in the right direction again.

16 comments:

jane said...

I've struggled with some of the same issues. It's good to hear your perspective.

WeezerMonkey said...

This heathen has no such struggle. ;)

But I wish there were more thoughtful Christians like yourself. I can't lie. I feel that many Christians judge me for not being Christian. It makes me not like those people.

Leslie said...

Ditto, WeeMo, all of it. It seems that for most religious people I know, their politics are directly tied to their religion. I think it's great that you've learned to see the difference between the two and that you recognize that there are so many shades of grey when it comes to any particular issue.

Emily said...

I'm glad to hear you're getting involved in such an important election! I grew up in the church as well, and even though I don't hold many (any?) religious beliefs anymore, I can appreciate Christianity as - at the least - a good value system. But I can't reconcile what I learned - things like loving your neighbor and not judging - with the "Christianity" that is so often tied to politics. How can legislating my behavior possibly be helping me to "see the light"? And isn't that the end goal anyway? Or does it not matter that I don't feel Christian inside, as long as I'm not legally allowed to act on my heathen beliefs?

Your point about teaching your kids what you believe is a great one. Let's focus on liberty in the land of the free and family values in our families!

Jen said...

I have had this same struggle and come out the same way. I think it's great you're challenging yourself to figure out what you think about the issues. So many people never challenge the political beliefs they have always had, and these times are too scary to not know where you stand!

Meaningful Revisions said...

I experienced the atrocity of being raised Catholic, but it was never really enforced by the values my parents endorsed. I perceived Catholicism and Christianity as being extremely sexist and degrading against women. For example, as I'm sure you know women are not permitted to be priests - and the Bible is so openly offensive and degrading to women. It really bothers me that God is referred to as the Father and male, and that Jesus is also male. I don't feel women are represented in as valuable human beings in Christianity.

The culture wars and positions of the Republican party are extremely offensive to me because they endorse traditional gender roles that are also offensive and degrading and play off of Christianity so much. Republicans and traditional Christianity glorifies stay-at-home mothers and traditional gender roles. We should be discouraging women from giving up on their careers for something that is so unnecessary.

Anyways, it is my hope that as our country becomes more liberal, Christianity will wane, as will conservatism.

R said...

I think you stated the situation very eloquently. Thank you for sharing your point of view and for being honest. I wish more people would take the stance of becoming educated on things and making a thoughtful, informed decision. Myself included.

Mrs. Shorty Cake said...

I'm Catholic (i'm sure in some peeps eyes a very bad one) but I just truly believe that prop 8 is discrimination before our very eyes. Church and state should be separate, end of story. I agree with the monkey~ I really wish there were more thoughtful Christians that didn't judge...we'd be a lot better off :)

Winnie said...

Ditto the monkey . . . and I think it goes beyond Christianity. All of us, regardless of religion (or lack of), should spend a little more time thinking for ourselves instead of following whatever someone else says.

Claire said...

I like the political rambling -- although I don't think you can call anything this articulate "rambling." Thansk for sharing!

wan-nabe said...

politics and religion aside, what disturbs me most is the folks who will tear you to bits if your opinion isn't the same as theirs.

i hate what elections do to people. it brings out the worst in them, and i'll be beyond thrilled when this election is over.

That Girl said...

Without the Christian background, I share most of the same thought with you.

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

I don't know, but my favorite part of this post was the dodo bird reference.

A Feminist Gold Digger said...

woops, I meant to say I don't know WHY, but my favorite....

I was so caught up in the dodo bird.

Trisha said...

This entry kind of referenced, however obliquely, Prop 4. Prop 8 is getting a lot of (justified) attention, but I hope that the dangeousness that is Prop 4 isn't lost in the shadows. Support for this proposition has been waning recently, but the polling numbers suggest that those who are still undecided will make or break this election.

I've never been very religious and was not raised in a religious household. Yet I do believe in some of the core teachings of Christianity. One of the most central tenets (at least in my learning) has been, as you allude to, the whole "judge not, lest ye be judged." Now true, I'm not one to say that I don't gossip and judge others. Because I do. But when it comes to legislating that judgment, I have a difficult time with allowing that to happen.

I'm glad you've taken the time to be thoughtful about the intersection of your religious and political beliefs. There is too much kneejerk political rhetoric going on now (on both sides) and your pragmatism is a step in the right direction.

mommo4.5 said...

"If we were ever to have kids, it would be up to us to teach them our value systems, not to rely on the country to have laws in effect that would prohibit behavior with which we don't agree."

Absolutely!!!!!

Thank you for this thoughtful post.