Open Forum: How Do We Talk About Religion and Politics? (Without Starting WWIII)
Look, Ms. Manners has already forewarned us. The two subjects we are never supposed to so much as graze over in friendly, courteous conversations are religion and politics. Supposedly, these are the A-Bombs of all social conduct. Basically, with these little firecrackers, forget proceed with caution–do not proceed at all ever.
And yet, religion and politics are important things in people’s lives. In fact, to a lot of people, they can be the most important things. People have waged wars and built entire civilizations around religions and politics. One could argue that they still do. And yet we’re not supposed to so much as mention, let alone have a full conversation, about these monumental subjects?
But, you know, I get it. These subjects are touchy because, well, when someone believes in something so much and may even structure their entire life around it, how do you begin having a possibly opposing conversation with them about such an integral part of their identity? They’re bound to get offended, you’re bound to lose your cool, and, basically, the whole planet is bound to combust into one endlessly loud shouting match.
So, obviously, the only way to avoid staging a remake of Apocalypse Now in your living room (or in front of your nearest embassy) is, well… to avoid touching the whole thing altogether. Right?
But if any of you have been paying any attention to the news in the last couple of days, you’ll have undoubtedly heard of the low budget, borderline pornographic, disgustingly offensive American ‘movie’ mocking the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as well as the insane crap-storm of reactions that Muslims all around the world have been having to this film.
And now, all of a sudden, I feel myself compelled to bring this hairy can of worms into the room (which happens to have an elephant in it). I feel like now, more than ever, is a time when people need to start talking about talking about religion and politics.
Because when my religion (which I truly hold very near and dear to my heart) has been heinously assaulted and ridiculed for reasons that are possibly political and definitely asinine, all I can see is a mass wave of rightful anger being displaced in ways that are, at worst, murderous and, at best, fruitless.
I don’t see a lot of people trying to actually talk this thing out, and attempt to deal with a negative situation proactively.
I’m so baffled by this lack of dialogue we all seem to have with one another, that I’m now desperately trying to put together a how-to post about how we can talk about religion and politics without simultaneously exploding into a million pieces.
But, while I do that, I really wanna hear what you guys think of this. Do you guys think its possible for two opposing sides to have a civil and conducive conversation about religion and politics? Do you think there’s a way that these two opposing sides could ever work together to help zap out the negative, idiotic, offensive pests?
Please share your wisdom, you special snowflake, you!
All my love!