Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Game of Politics and the Religious Right

This was my first editorial which appeared in the Kingston Whig Standard on March 17, 2009. It reflects how I often feel when debating politics on forums.

In Today's Politics it's Divided we Stand

I am a godless socialist. I know I'm a godless socialist because apparently not being a fan of the current government makes you one by default. I learned this the hard way.

I love political debate but realized that my family did not share my passion. There were subtle hints. If I entered the room they buried their face in a book, which was often upside down. When I started to speak they'd turn up the TV or remember a prior engagement; put coat over pajamas and drive around the block until it was safe to return.

Hence, after discovering the online political forum, my computer has become my next of kin. Every day I limber my fingers and sharpen my wit, then engage in battle over everything from war to the deficit; enjoying a level of anonymity, that allows me to explore ideas and voice opinions, without the risk of being put in a home. But what I've learned, in today's game of political deliberation, is how divided we've become. You can no longer lay claim to the centre, but must pick a side before you can play. Since I'm not a conservative, I have no place to go but left; and without ever mentioning religion or advocating state ownership of anything; I've been called a 'dyed in the wool communist', a 'godless socialist', and a 'leftie' so many times I'm thinking of taking up baseball. I was once even accused of waving a stick at Jesus. I'm pretty sure I'd remember that.

Apparently the U.S. 'church as state' movement has crossed the border, and with it the mistaken belief that one single party can hold the franchise for all theology, while the rest of us are without faith or moral compass. One thread on my favourite forum, entitled 'Religious Right in Canada' had almost 10,000 hits and garnered 887 responses. Since the current Tories emerged from the socially conservative Reform/Alliance, their supporters are often under attack, as 'right-wing nut jobs', despite the fact that many in the group are quite moderate.

The lines between politics and religion have definitely blurred. That being said, when it comes to politics in general, I'm more of a pragmatist. No matter who's in power, I'll still complain about the government and know that sometimes all we can do is hope to still HAVE a prayer.

We are limited to 425 words so I couldn't go into my beliefs when it comes to religion and politics. The new conservative movement has no place for someone who firmly believes that church and state should be separate. Consequently I have been pushed to the Left and realize that it's not such a bad place to be after all. Who knew?

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