Saturday, July 14, 2007

So, I haven't posted much this week. Not that I haven't had blog-worthy thoughts, just that most of my blog-worthy thoughts this week have been about politics and religion, two things I try to avoid writing about.

Well, let me clarify that. I'll write about religion (or more correctly faith and/or spirituality) as it relates directly to me, or to something I've learned. I don't like writing about global religion issues for several reasons. First of all, I am afraid that I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment...well...knowledgeably. I'm still learning about this new denomination I've embraced, and I'm uncomfortable commenting on the issues facing it without having been in it for more than a few years. And I try not to comment on stuff that comes out as it relates to Roman Catholicism because I don't want any sour grapes I may still harbor to color my perception.

Politics, on the other hand, I really try to avoid. The reason for that is that I know my readership runs the political spectrum from very conservative to very liberal. And as far as I am concerned, they are entitled to fall wherever they choose to fall along that spectrum, just as I am. I avoid discussing my opinions on politics because I don't want to offend anyone, or lose the respect of people who knew me way back when, before I became a bleeding-heart liberal.

But today, I am going to suspend my rule and discuss both topics together. More specifically, I'm going to say that I think the two topics should be completely divorced from each other.

I was reading some of the testimony of Dr. Richard Carmona this weekend (and my apologies if I spelled his last name wrong). He is the former surgeon general, and he testified to congress about how he was instructed by the White House to supress certain scientific information in his speeches, briefings, and publications, information that specifically relates to such topics as stem-cell research, abortion, contraception, and other hot-button issues on the Evangelical/fundamentalist platform. That offends me as an educated person.

I'm not going to say that the Republican party as a whole holds these opinions, but there is a certain, large segment that would like to see religion (evangelical Chrisitanity specifically) entertwined into the government of this country. That isn't acceptable. It isn't even the separation of church and state issue, or even the freedom of religion issue that makes it unacceptable.

The fact of the matter is that it is unacceptable because tying up religion with politics - conservative or liberal - denies the diversity of this country, and the diverse viewpoints of its citizens.

Now, individual politicians viewpoints are going to be informed by whatever religion they practice (if they practice at all). That's true of all of us. But the decisions that lawmakers make as a whole have to reflect the will of the people, not of a segment of the people who happen to give a lot of money to campaigns and who have a bully pulpit to propagate their viewpoint. I see just that happening with the current presidential administration, as well as many (not all) of the
Republicans in office. That frustrates me.

Now, having said that, I do intend to vote for the Republican candidate for governor in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, because I think he is the best candidate for the job, and has the interests of the state at heart.

And this is why I don't write about politics and religion.

Tomorrow (or soon, at any rate) I will write about Harry Potter. There's a harmless topic.

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