Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
We're all gonna pretend it's still Friday...
Isn't it amusing that this particular meme assumes that only one of these two topics will interest folks?
But I'll bite on both of them. Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one.
It is en vogue to say "I'm not a religious person, I'm a spiritual one." That's all well and good as far as it goes. Spirituality is a deeply personal thing. Religion is a more outward-turning thing. The expression of spirituality, if you will. Spirituality is praying for someone (including yourself). Religion is bagging lunches for your church to hand out to the homeless. (Both of these are just examples.)
Me? I'm both. Erik's and my wedding rings are titanium bands with cut-out crosses. To me, it is a reminder to keep God foremost in my thoughts and heart. I pray. Often. I make an effort for this to be not just when I want something. In fact, I try to ask for little. I read the Bible, and sometimes other religious writings (I'm thinking of C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain here). I turn outward as I can. I go to church irregularly. I have done service projects for Lent before--and I plan to do that again this year. (I'll be reprising my 40 Hats in 40 Days challenge, and hopefully donating them to a crisis pregnancy center.)
I am Episcopalian. Not Anglican, not since it became something else. (They left us, not we them.) I am wholeheartedly Episcopalian--I am proud of the fact that our Presiding Bishop is a woman and a scientist. I am proud that we have gay clergy--including bishops. The ECUSA is inclusive of all God's children. (It's not the only denomination. The ELCA is neck-and-neck with us on the topic, and I gather the UCC is as well. We won't speak of Unitarian Universalists. They're officially not Christian.)
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth, of all things seen and unseen. I could continue to recite the creed, but I think it boils down to that. To the best of my knowledge, there is God. Beyond that? To be honest, I neither know nor care. I respect devotion in whatever form it manifests itself. I have a Facebook friend who is a Hare Krishna and one of the most pious people I know. I have Pagan friends who walk with the goddess. To (purposely) misquote Queen Elizabeth I, God is God. Everything else is window dressing.
I consider politics to be the greatest game. I do not think the fate of the Republic hangs in the balance of X, Y, or Z. I am all-too-cognizant of the fact that we've been thinking that for decades, if not centuries. (Go read some Emerson or Thoreau if you disbelieve me.)
I am a Constitutionalist, and because that political party is little more than wishful thinking, I am nominally Republican. (Once upon a time I was a registered Democrat; then I got to know Democrats better.) I count myself a populist and a libertarian.
I am not a Libertarian. I cannot stomach their "abortions for all" platform position, sorry. And I remember the interview with their 2004 Presidential candidate which I listened to in Norfolk all too clearly--the fellow called for the dissolution of the FDA. Let the free market handle it. Yeah, not so much.
That said, I'll go with whatever party is most likely to get the government to leave me the fuck alone. I vaccinate my children on a delayed schedule, I have had two VBA2Cs, I practice child-led weaning (which means I nurse my kids for years), I will homeschool the ones I am legally able to, and consider it a personal obligation to live as lightly on the earth as I may, I think open carry is Constitutionally guaranteed (and that long arms shouldn't be blinked at), that gays should be encouraged to marry, that polyamory isn't necessarily a bad thing (though really not for me)...basically, I live in a way that the .gov wouldn't approve of. So I basically want government regulations as far away from me as possible.
You'd probably be surprised by how many hippies aren't Democrats, but far too many of 'em are. It's something I will never understand--if you don't want Government to tell you how to live, what the hell are you doing encouraging it to tell everyone else how to live? F'r real?
Oh, and also: I think we have to give somewhere. I know many, many folks who aren't like this, but again plenty are. Either we give on low-cost birth control, or we give on abortion, or we give on social welfare programs. I'm pretty sure you only get to be hard-line one one of those three things. The others? Give a little. Not 100%, necessarily. But, as my Ethics prof would say, you can't reason from what is to what ought to be--yeah, folks ought to only have sex when they're ready and able to care for the kids, but that ain't always happening. So...do we make low-cost/free birth control widely available so that there is less call for abortion from stupid people who'd rather buy a six pack of Natty Light than a box of Trojans and then severely limit, say, the amount of food stamps you can get? Do we continue social programs as-is and refuse to fund the other two? Or do we hold fast on all three and pretend that it's okay that kids bear the price of their parents' stupidity? (Me, I give on social programs, though there needs to be one hell of an overhaul so this perpetual underclass is not maintained.)
And yeah, there's more. But I strongly suspect other aspects of this will be asked about later on, so Imma cut this for now.