Religion and Politics – Personal to the Extreme

You know, something I’ve never been able to understand is why people get so offended and upset by others who do not believe as they do, whether it be politics or religion. We all have our own minds and our own experiences and what one person believes has no bearing on someone else’s beliefs. Why, then, do people get so upset when someone has a different opinion?

This topic came to a bit of a head for me last night/this morning. There was a picture on facebook asking if Mitt Romney is going to donate some of his money to rebuild Oklahoma because the state voted for him and that Republicans should ‘step up’ to rebuild the state without help from the government. Here is the picture:

Photo: How about it Guys? Here's your chance! Step up to the plate!!

I made a comment on the picture saying that Romney already donates to disaster relief funds and asked why that wasn’t enough.  I then asked if Obama and his wife were being asked to donate any of their money or if their kids were being tasked with doing toy or clothing drive or if these were just things being asked of Mitt Romney, his family and other Republicans. Because, honestly, I haven’t seen anything from anyone asking about Democrats or the president stepping up their assistance for those affected by the tornado in Oklahoma. What is being asked of one political candidate should be asked of all. If one person is being slammed for whether or not they do something, the other candidate(s) should be under the same scrutiny.

The response I received from the spouse of the person who posted the picture just completely astounded me. Instead of just responding with a comment about the assistance Democrats and the government are providing, he made such hateful comments about me and the Mormon religion. He said that if I wasn’t so focused on hate, I would see what a great guy Obama is and how much he helps people. He then added another comment that had NO bearing whatsoever on the conversation. He said, “Besides, the Obamas are Christian. Romney is part of a cult known as Mormonites.”

That comment just completely floored me. What on earth did religion have to do with the conversation topic, which was disaster relief assistance? I honestly do not understand why there is so much hate towards other people because of their religion.

When I commented back that Mormons are Christians and that we believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Bible and many other things that are mainstream Christian, he responded that Mormonism is a cult full of child molesters. WHAT??!?!?!?! Since when? He also said that I should take a look at Warren Jeffs and that the ‘Mormon cult’ is responsible for him.

His next comment was to ‘bring it on’ and that we could argue for a long time about it and that I would lose. I wrote back and told him that I’m sorry he is so offended by my opinions and beliefs and that I had not intended to engage in an argument. I made a comment about Warren Jeffs not being a Mormon, but a member of an offshoot, and then told him that I was going to block him because I do not wish to engage in an argument since it is clear we cannot have a civil conversation about either religion or politics.

This whole situation has really got me thinking about how uptight and angry some people get when others have differing opinions and beliefs. I really don’t understand it. It’s nothing personal about anyone to believe differently than they do. Why, then, do so many people get so upset?

I used to get a chuckle out of people saying “Don’t talk about religion or politics with people you don’t know” because it just seemed so silly, but as I’ve moved around the US I’ve seen firsthand how much it affects people. I’ve had several people tell me I’m part of a cult, that I’m not Christian, that I’m going to Hell and that I’m condoning child molestation when they find out I’m a Mormon. Some other reactions are physically turning their back to me, asking if I have horns, asking if I have any sister-wives (when I was married), how many mothers I have and other such comments. A lot of it is just from a lack of understanding and the spreading of false statements by those who don’t know any better and most people I’ve come in contact with will listen when I explain the truth. Some people, unfortunately, are so set in their animosity that they won’t listen and only want to argue or try to prove the error of my ways. In those cases, it’s best to just walk away because all that will happen is a furthered anger and resentment. It’s pretty sad.

Unfortunately, politics turns out the be the same as religion. Instead of just agreeing to disagree or just TALK about why people have certain opinions, so many people automatically go on the attack. I’ve heard people call Democrats baby killers and gay lovers and communists, along with many other derogatory terms. People call Republicans homophobes, anti-American, racist, rape-promoting and gender repressive, among other things. Why? What does all the name-calling accomplish?

One thing I really fail to understand is all the stereotyping. Why on earth do so many people honestly believe that everyone of a particular religion or political group are 100% in line with everyone else of the same religion or political party? Do these people honestly believe that being a part of a particular group automatically removes individual thought, belief, understanding and practice? Do we all lose our own free will when we choose to believe or take part in something?

If this were the case, would not ALL Catholic priests have preferences for underage children? Would not ALL members of the Muslim faith be suicide bombers? Would not ALL Baptists be as hate-filled and insensitive as the Westboro Baptists? Would not all Hindus be burning Christians and others not of their faith? Would not all Atheists be hedonistic?

Every religion and political group has their crazy fanatics, their ‘true believers’, their moderate participants and their members who claim membership, but don’t participate any further than that. There is so much diversity across the board, that it is just amazing that a few bad apples makes the entire barrel rotten.

I guess, to me, the thing everyone needs to keep in mind is their own difference and their own unique qualities. When you look at yourself and others of your religion or political group, do  you act 100% the same as the rest? Do you believe 100% the same? The answer is always no. Why, then, do some people insist on treating others of differing beliefs and opinions as if they are 100% the same as the worst of the worst? It’s sad and really really unfortunate.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever really understand the animosity attached to politics and religion. This country was founded on principles of freedom of religion and opposing political parties. The United States is a conglomeration of the beliefs we all hold. Our different opinions and belief and the freedom to hold these opinions and beliefs is what makes this nation great. Being hateful of others for believing and thinking differently will only breed more anger and hate and will eventually be the downfall of the Constitution.

The situation with my friend’s husband makes me sad. It is reactions like those that add flames to the fire of prejudice, misunderstanding, animosity and intolerance. If we could all just learn to get along and accept people’s differences, think of how much more peace there would be in the world. Until, then, though, I guess I will just continue on being astounded by the reactions people have to those who are different from them. And I guess the only thing we really can do is pray for those people. Pray that their hearts will be softened and that tolerance and acceptance will enter their minds. People don’t need to believe in a certain thing or agree with a particular belief to tolerate it. So why, then, is it so hard to do?

One Reply to “Religion and Politics – Personal to the Extreme”

  1. Pingback: Freedom of Opinions, or Just Pushing Prejudice? | Casual, Possibly-Nonsensical Ramblings

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