Over a week ago LVDem asked me to take part in a discussion on Values, Religion and Politics. He and Above Average Jane were discussing abortion with all the political and religious implications that come into play and decided to expand the conversation. The challenge is this:
Dems are too often labeled as anti-religion and anti-family values, but we know the truth... that many of us have strong family units, go to church, volunteer in religious communities and hold very strong beliefs of religion and society.
If you feel comfortable in writing about this, please do. If you don't feel comfortable, perhaps you can write about why you don't feel comfortable. How does faith influence your view on issues?
My initial reaction was: I have been thinking how I can contribute to this effort as I'm one of those who is not comfortable discussing religion. In fact I think the misuse of religion has been one of the most destructive forces in human history.
My own background is I was raised in the Methodist church and married a girl of the Russian Orthodox faith. When I was in the Air Force I was exposed to Baptists and Mormans and have always had an interest in religion. Being an open minded person the thing that turns me off to the self proclaimed practitioners of faith is their absolute belief that they have all the answers and everyone else is wrong. You can't be a good member of the flock unless you close your mind to another point of view. In today's climate Dobson, Falwell, Robertson and the rest preach hate for anyone who is different.
The teaching I was brought up with is God is Love not hate. Jesus kept company with the outcasts and low lifes of his day and taught them to do better. When asked what was the greatest of the commandments we all know he replied to love God with all your hearts and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Today I interpret this to help my neighbor if he lives next door, on the next block, in Pottsville or Paris, Texas. We as a people have an obligation to help all of our neighbors, be it in this country or around the world. To paraphrase Golda Meir, if I am only for myself, what am I?
I hope this somewhat weak attempt adds to the discussion as I'm not as eloquent as some others I have read today. Read their views for a better understanding of the issue:
Just Between Strangers
Above Average Jane
the smedley log
Forever a Square Peg
As I was struggling to write something on this and told my wife of my dilemma she wrote this personal note:
I wanted to get married in church. It was important to me to have my marriage blessed in church and by God. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to get married in Tahiti on the beach without all our friends and family. Of course, he didn't get his way, but seemed to enjoy celebrating our special day with all the special people in our lives. However, he still does bring up the Tahiti thing. He is not very religious; however I feel he believes in God, because God brought us together. Another thing I feel very strongly about is having our home blessed by my priest every year. My husband doesn't quite understand why, but he is there with me when the priest comes and does his thing. It doesn't hurt to have holy water sprinkled about your house by a priest. It always makes me feel better. I hope it prevents me or my husband from having an accident in the shower or falling down the steps. So far, it has worked. The worse accident I have had is our cat attacking my hands and causing a lot of bloodshed. Today, however, when the priest came, the cat was under the bed. The priest blessed that bedroom, and I am hoping the cat was blessed well and will have a change of heart when it comes to ripping the skin off my hand. All in all, the point I am trying to make is that my husband and I do not see eye to eye on religion. Yet we do honor each others feelings on the subject. He always supports me on what I feel is important, and I always listen to his feelings on different aspects of religion. He has been to many foreign countries and has experienced many different religious beliefs. He has a heart of gold and has beliefs that are important to him. We love each other, and that's all that matters.
23 minutes ago