I usually do not enter into the political discourse, and you will probably (hopefully) never see me endorse a candidate or wave a political banner here. We will never have a savior on Capitol Hill. (Derek Webb wrote a great song about this, by the way).
However, what does interest me more is the way discourse occurs concerning both politics and religion. As was said in a conversation with a friend yesterday, it makes really smart people look really unintelligent, petty, and sometimes just plain mean. So I offer two things I have read that may offer some different ways of thinking, or maybe provoke some conversation. By viewing the way campaigns are run, debates are had and religion is “sold” by coercion, it may help us see into our own selves and how we participate in the very things we condemn.
The first is an extremely funny and sobering blog called The Guide to Dimwitted Discourse (warning: this is satire, so react accordingly; that is, laugh and then realize you are guilty!).
Second, there is a quote that I read from Thomas Jefferson, and at the risk of misquoting, I checked the source to make sure it was legit, as listed below. In the first line, you could easily substitute “religion” for “politics” (and, let’s be honest, many do already).
“Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”
–Notes, ed. Peden = Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. Edited by William Peden. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1955, 160.
So what do you think?