NORMAN — Editor, the Transcript:
What I have observed and mused about over my 71 years is how people do and do not work together. I have heard religion used to comment on politics and politics on religion. You all have heard it, too, and perhaps we have done it.
I think this interaction is because there is always the politics of religion and the religion of politics. If “religion” is, as the word’s history implies, our tie back or tie forward then is not politics part of that tie? Religion and politics urge us to learn from our past and for our present in view of what we hope or trust to be our future.
We people all have opportunity to relate to one another in our “polis”, in the places where we live. We also relate in view of our motivations, in view of what we want for ourselves and for others, yes, for our tribe, village or town, and even our country.
So how can what we believe or trust about our politics of association in the human community be a replacement for or identity with what we also sometimes assimilate as a “religion”?
Religion is often thought of as what motivates people; but people’s politics can motivate them instead of religion or in addition to it.
This is my point then. Human beings might well benefit from openly discussing what keeps them going day to day in a way that they feel is helpful not only to themselves but could also be so for others. Why not then encourage us all to meet in our relationships with others, our families, our neighbors or even our work and play mates to talk freely about how our politics affects our religion and our religion our politics.
For some they are the same; for others they are quite different. History teaches us that!
For example, if my idea of a god and what that god expects of me motivates me then instead of “imposing” that idea on others, why not share it by my own way of behaving toward others?
By their fruit you will know them. Secondly, if my preference for a certain way of civic politics is so important to me, why not show its value by the way I talk and act and be ready to give reasons or my action when asked to do so? But, I might add most importantly, I think we must also be ready to listen and learn from what others believe, trust and practice in their religion and politics.
Our forbearers did it and it worked ... for a while. Why not try again?
Religion is the politics of what we think, say and do. Politics is always close at hand.
JOE TED MILLER