I got a vituperative email from my boss yesterday. I had sent him an article for one of our blogs in which I made a jesting connection between politics and religion. Quote: "And, please delete any references to religion. Very bad idea to bring religion into any discussion politics infuriates people enough. Politics + religion is deadly." Fair enough. I quickly realized my blunder and edited the article because his statement was true. But why does it have to be?
I belong to a religion that believes, in no uncertain terms, to contain the full and restored truth. But I also believe that all religions contain measures of truth: good values, teachings, beliefs, practices- all of the above. I find nothing more uplifting and/or entertaining than to discuss the wonders of God and the myriad religions which seek to understand and interpret him. The exchange of ideas and beliefs that can enrich the lives of others, or even merely intrigue, is a noble and noteworthy activity. Why must we tip toe around religious subjects without so much as a casual reference to God or our beliefs about him?
So we think, believe and practice differently from one another. So what. Why can we not talk about our different spiritual beliefs? Why is it so taboo to compare and contrast and give and take and contemplate the religions we all practice? That is my comeback wish for religion in 2008. I wish that we will be able to discuss each other's religions-together- in a non-confrontational manner. I wish that people will be able to ask genuine questions of one another for any purpose, be it sheer curiosity, spiritual conviction, disagreement, misunderstanding, etc. without the fear of offending.
I wish that the government would stay out of religion like the Constitution says it should. I wish it would let people believe, or not believe as they see fit and not intervene when conflicts arise; the government's past entertainment of religious regulation has given litigious people the springboard they need to launch spiritual debates which have no place in governmental spheres. I wish that we could escape the stranglehold that secularism has had for the past thirty years on American academia and start talking like civilized human beings about the things in which we believe, rather than suppressing those beliefs to be politically correct.
I wish that every American would start to live his or her religion a little more closely; if every person took some time this year to evaluate his standing within whatever religion he resides, I think he would find that his beliefs require it of him to be more forthcoming. We all might find within our own set of truths a need to spread and discuss it. I wish that I will be able to do it better this year.