Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Religion and Politics: My Take

Religion and politics are the two topics that are verboten on the internet. I have guest-posted at several blogs where the instructions were, "Write about anything you want except religion and politics."
I don't blog or post on Facebook about religion, though I'm glad to share my faith if asked. I feel no need to defend it, because it's not threatened. If your beliefs are polar opposite mine, you worship your way, and I'll worship mine. I know that is not true in all countries; it's one of the blessings of America.
But politics is another matter. What happens on the national political front directly affects me and impacts the future of my children and grandchildren. Friends and family have chided me for being too outspoken on Facebook--if you follow my posts, you know that I lean to the left, far left some say. I prefer to call it humanitarianism. A colleague wrote that he tries to tone down his political posts but sometimes he's too outraged. I'm outraged a lot about everything from Mitt Romney's off-shore accounts to Rick Perry's rejection of Federal aid in the state that ranks lowest in health care delivery, about Mitch McConnell's avowed goal of defeating President Obama no matter the cost to the country, about the so-called war on women, about the fact that too many Americans are suffering physicially, financially, and emotionally.
I try to be responsible about what I post, to authenticate the source. There are some posts I won't share because I think they're propoganda, although some of those pieces are so bitingly funny I occasionally lapse. And I try to be judicious and not flood followers with political posts--I can flood them with dog pictures. But I'm also aware of the dangers of an apathetic body of voters. I'm reading novels set in England in 1939 right now, and I'm reminded that many Germans kept quiet while Nazism took over their country, kept quiet during the Holacaust. In England, Winston Churchill and his sense of the inevitability of war were unpopular--people wanted to believe Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy would work. It didn't. So I would urge people to speak out.
My faith dictates my politics. Because of my faith, I'm opposed to capital punishment; I believe health care should be available to everyone; I think all people deserve equal opportunity in this country. I take to heart the words, "You are your brother's keeper." I can't believe the Lord meant us to value wealth over human kindness, so I'm outraged a lot.
If my post has outraged you, hurray! I've made you think. My colleague mentioned above is a teacher, and he says his goal is to make students think, not necessarily as he does (he leans left too) but to think criticially.
Friends have told me I will change no one's mind on Facebook, but you know what? I don't believe that. I post a lot of pictures of healthy dogs about to be euthanized just because an animal shelter has run out of room. I know of one dog  for sure who found a happy home because of my sharing his picture. I think it can happen in politics too. At least maybe I can make someone think.

6 comments:

Polly said...

I love this post, Judy. And I agree with every word. I never talk publicly about religion because, although I was raised in one faith, I don't practice it or any other now, raised my children to choose their own, and am pleased with their choices. But I will post political information on my Facebook page--I also lean left--and if someone doesn't like it and refuses to read my books because of it, so be it. Fine with me. They probably wouldn't like my books anyway because I always deal with "issues," and sometimes they aren't popular. I believe it's our duty to speak out, whatever side we're on. If our information enlightens, all the better. Knowledge is the only way to make an informed decision.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Polly. In the face of criticism from family and friends, it's comforting to have someone agree with me. I lapsed in the practice of my faith for many years and some of my children have gone different directions, but that's okay. Most, however, hew to my political line of thought, and I like that.

Troy D. Smith said...

Bravo, and well said.

Judy Alter said...

Troy. you may notice that I quoted you without naming you. Hope that's okay. A couple of your posts have greatly impressed me.

Troy D. Smith said...

That's perfectly okay... when we're trying to sell books, naming each other is important. But when we're trying to make some difference in the world, it is the thoughts that count, not their articulators. I am very honored, though, by your kind words about my musings. I have about a dozen similar political essays at the following site that I think you might appreciate- give them a look when you have time, and if you like any please feel free to repost them wherever you like. Getting the word out is the most important thing we can do, I think. Here's the link: http://troyduanesmith.com/bloglist.html You'd probably also enjoy the blog of my friend, and fellow multi-genre author, Jeff Mariotte: http://jeff_mariotte.typepad.com/

Judy Alter said...

Thanks, Troy. I'll check those sites out.