Spirituality and Politics

Lately the political ads have been in blitzkrieg mode locally, so this has been on my mind…

Often we see situations where people mix religion with politics. In the United States in particular, we tend to see that the Republican Party is associated with more conservative “Christian” concepts while the Democrat Party is often connected to more secular ideals.

I say this with full knowledge that there are those who would label themselves Christian Democrats and those who might identify as Atheist Republicans for varying reasons, and other such combinations certainly exist. Even so, I think it is interesting that Republican are more often seen using religion to explain their positions, while Democrats rarely (at least publicly) use religion to justify their legal motions.

Oddly, while going briefly through some charts and graphs (simple Google search) I found stats that suggest that black American voters are more likely to consider themselves religious, but most are registered as Democrat, so why is it that the Republican party seems to have so much religion attached to it? I can’t really say…

A lot of times, religion is invoked when matters such as homosexual marriage, abortion, and corporeal punishment (aka, the death penalty). I have come to see all this as just a means to beguile voters, in part because I have yet to see a politician who seriously practices meaningful spirituality. The sort of compassion and mindfulness that should be apparent is lacking in virtually every example, yet everyone seem okay with this, and the policies that stem from it.

I think this begins, and can end it, our own minds. While much of the population of the United States associates with Christianity, the vast majority prioritize a political ideology over religion and spirituality, even though they may not be willing to admit it.

Some will even use religion to justify acts of aggression against other people, other nations… and in some ways, at least in the Bible, I can recall reading old testament bits that might be justifications for it…

Unfortunate, but I digress.

My position on politics has changed dramatically in the last 9 months. In a lot of areas, I am completely dispassionate — don’t care, don’t want to care. Others, while I have an opinion, I choose to not go hardcore into it too often because I see the possibility that my views are based in ignorance.

What I do want to share here though, is that religion and politics may be inseparable, but spirituality and politics (spirituality and religion, too, for that matter) have probably never been connected in the first place. Those of us who tout a religious line on politics should seriously consider examining our spirituality — not just our religion. Are we really as connected to the teachings of our faith as we say we are?

All I really ask from government is the freedom to practice my spirituality. I’ll take the rest, the good with the bad, and I’ll survive. As far from perfection as we are, as corrupt as it all likely is, I don’t want anything else, nor do I want to be involved in it’s matters, all of which are causes for suffering and stress the world over.

I hope something in this message has been meaningful to you, and that you may find peace. I will write again soon, friends.

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One comment

  1. You have articulated very precisely my own frustration with our political system, in which politicians capitalize on fear-based “religious” thinking to forward their political careers. What a different nation we would be part of if our political leaders spoke of Mindfulness and Compassion rather than blame, fear, and crisis.

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