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prisonchaplain

Are you more comfortable with political or religious like-minded company?

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Grieved--that's how I felt seeing a bumper sticker that said: Christian Democrat: I can pray and think. It tells of one who is more comfortable with non-believers than with "brothers/sisters," who apparently can't think. Similar feelings arise when I hear, "How can you call yourself a Christian and vote for ... support/oppose ...?" Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives--we can all be guilty. BUT, we must not. We must stop this! Again, this year, families are eating apart at Thanksgiving, because political disagreements led to hard feelings and broken fellowship. Those of us who name Jesus as our example ought to remember that He asked Father to forgive his murderers--as well as those mocking Him while He was dying. Less pride, less talk...more humility, more listening. Let us love one another for ... God is love.

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I'm "comfortable" around anyone who just wants to be friendly.  It is always more "comfortable" to be around people who are more agreeable.  And it is easier to be agreeable when you already agree on topics at hand.

If the topics at hand are politics and religion, then... well, you do the math.

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When it comes to politics, I think people take politics way too seriously.  My true political colors are republican (center-right), but I really don't care if you are democrat, republican, communist, whatever.  I don't do political debates in person much (I generally don't care enough to muster the energy), and if you say something against my politics, I will probably just smile and nod.

Now, you can offend me regarding religion.  If some fundie told me something like "you don't really love Christ because you are Mormon" (I have heard that one before), I would probably take a lot of offense, even to the point of just leaving the gathering. 

I actually have a harder time hanging around Christian fundamentalists than atheists, secularists, etc. for this reason - I don't care if some atheist says "religion is for suckers", but I would be deeply offended if some fundie started quoting the Godmakers or something to me (and the more fundamentalist they are, the more likely they are to react like this).  It is the people who should be natural allies to Mormons - very conservative Protestants - who are frequently the hardest people to associate with.

(In making this statement, my above comments should not be read to apply to all Protestants.  My Methodist grandmother is one of the nicest women you will ever meet, and we talk religion all the time.  I am referring to a specific subset of very hateful fundamentalist Protestants).

So yes, in some ways I have a hard time associating with those different from me.

 

Edited by DoctorLemon

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I'm more comfortable around people who have the same interests as I do-baseball, video games, music, etc. One of my best friends ( a guy I've known for almost two decades) is a big liberal. Another one of my close friends is just as far to the right as you are @prisonchaplain. So politics don't matter as long as we can talk about it. 

Religion doesn't matter either. Most of my close friends are nominally religious or basically agnostic/atheist.  We talk about it, but none of us are so thin skinned where we can't take some good natured teasing about it. 

While politics/religion can certainly cause strife in a family there is often underlying issues/personality conflicts as well. Maybe I'm just naive but I sort of doubt that politics/religion would cause such a split in a family that it would cause estrangement. Maybe for cousins/aunts/uncles, etc but I doubt for immediate families. 

Edited by MormonGator

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I always appreciate a good, spirited discussion in religion and politics.. the only company I dislike is the company that gets offended. One of my all time favorite friends is a strict catholic that is debating between starting and family and being a priest. We have had a lot of great discussions where we have both casually said “As a catholic/LDS, I don’t agree with you at all on this and here is why”. Both sides are aware of the conflicts in doctrine, we discuss them, and still cheer each other on and have pleasant conversation.

Same rule applies to politics. But As soon as someone gets offended, I tend to become offensive. 

Edited by Fether

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2 hours ago, DoctorLemon said:

I actually have a harder time hanging around Christian fundamentalists than atheists, secularists, etc.  ...

(In making this statement, my above comments should not be read to apply to all Protestants.  My Methodist grandmother is one of the nicest women you will ever meet, and we talk religion all the time.  I am referring to a specific subset of very hateful fundamentalist Protestants).

 

You may or may not realize that you defined your group in very specific, historically relevant and accurate terms.  In the 1940s there was a divide among conservative Christians. Prior to that date it was just liberals (modernists) and fundamentalists. In the 1940s some conservatives (think Billy Graham, Christianity Today magazine, etc.) began voicing concerns about the angry tone and the culture-rejecting nature of fundamental Christianity. They suggested that we engage rather than confront, love people more than oppose their sin. The group that retained the Fundamentalist title (think Bob Jones University and those folks that protest not only LDS pageants but Contemporary Christian Music concerts--yeah, that happened to my kids last week) said they would not compromise with the culture, and insisted they were called to contend (fight, argue, preach, confront) for the gospel.  So, yeah...when you say Fundamentalists are the ones you would have a hard time being comfortable, they would probably rejoice and be glad they were doing what they perceive their job to be.  BTW, the other group became known as Evangelicals.

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2 hours ago, MormonGator said:

While politics/religion can certainly cause strife in a family there is often underlying issues/personality conflicts as well. Maybe I'm just naive but I sort of doubt that politics/religion would cause such a split in a family that it would cause estrangement. Maybe for cousins/aunts/uncles, etc but I doubt for immediate families. 

I believe they most stereotypical scenario is when freshman college student comes home for the holidays and tells grandparents how backward and damaging they and their politics are (especially if they voted for POTUS). Grandparents get offended, parents are stuck in the middle, and next Thanksgiving/Christmas one or the other suggests keeping the holidays small this year, and says they won't becoming.

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29 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

You may or may not realize that you defined your group in very specific, historically relevant and accurate terms.  In the 1940s there was a divide among conservative Christians. Prior to that date it was just liberals (modernists) and fundamentalists. In the 1940s some conservatives (think Billy Graham, Christianity Today magazine, etc.) began voicing concerns about the angry tone and the culture-rejecting nature of fundamental Christianity. They suggested that we engage rather than confront, love people more than oppose their sin. The group that retained the Fundamentalist title (think Bob Jones University and those folks that protest not only LDS pageants but Contemporary Christian Music concerts--yeah, that happened to my kids last week) said they would not compromise with the culture, and insisted they were called to contend (fight, argue, preach, confront) for the gospel.  So, yeah...when you say Fundamentalists are the ones you would have a hard time being comfortable, they would probably rejoice and be glad they were doing what they perceive their job to be.  BTW, the other group became known as Evangelicals.

We talked about this once, that when Mormons talk about tensions with Evangelicals they are actually very often actually talking about tensions with fundamentalists they mistakenly think are Evangelicals.   I did indeed have this in mind when drafting my comments.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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3 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

I believe they most stereotypical scenario is when freshman college student comes home for the holidays and tells grandparents how backward and damaging they and their politics are (especially if they voted for POTUS). Grandparents get offended, parents are stuck in the middle, and next Thanksgiving/Christmas one or the other suggests keeping the holidays small this year, and says they won't becoming.

Yup, agree totally. 
 
From what I've seen in my personal life the main reason cousins/aunts/uncles aren't close to one another isn't really because of disagreements, just vastly different lifestyles. 

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Since I can’t stand any form of socialism, I’m more comfortable with people who agree politically. 

I know a lot of different religious people, including some atheists who are not religious. I manage to get along quite well with most of them. 

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The purpose of my headline to this thread was not so much to gage poster's personal comfort levels with political vs. spiritually like-minded, but rather to explore ways to return to a society in which we trust each other enough to engage political and religious discussions without the deep animosity and distrust. What most disturbed me about the account in my OP was that the bumpersticker expressed such great disdain for fellow believers, and that most who see it (Seattle area, mind you) will snicker at the poke against Christian Republicans. After all, is not the bottom line message: Hey, I might be religious, but I'm not THAT stupid (i.e. I admit my religious practice doesn't say much in my favor, but at least I'm not GOP). How awful is that?

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15 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

The purpose of my headline to this thread was not so much to gage poster's personal comfort levels with political vs. spiritually like-minded, but rather to explore ways to return to a society in which we trust each other enough to engage political and religious discussions without the deep animosity and distrust. What most disturbed me about the account in my OP was that the bumpersticker expressed such great disdain for fellow believers, and that most who see it (Seattle area, mind you) will snicker at the poke against Christian Republicans. After all, is not the bottom line message: Hey, I might be religious, but I'm not THAT stupid (i.e. I admit my religious practice doesn't say much in my favor, but at least I'm not GOP). How awful is that?

Well, we have several Mormons on this board that do the same thing.  One went so far as to label himself "Not a Mormon" until I pointed that out to him as misleading.

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I always found the alienation of family and friends for political differences to be sad. I had a cousin move to California who decided he doesn't want to associate with the family anymore because we are all ignorant, backwards Christians (I'm using far nicer terms than he did). It was sad because he was a really great guy, and I honestly didn't care that we disagreed before he got personal. I'd probably label myself a Reagan Conservative, but I have friends and family who run the whole range of political and religious thought and I like that. I have no problem discussing religious and political differences, as long as the person remembers that despite our differences, we are friends and family first. 

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21 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Those of us who name Jesus as our example ought to remember that He asked Father to forgive his murderers--as well as those mocking Him while He was dying. Less pride, less talk...more humility, more listening. Let us love one another for ... God is love.

I hope to repeat what I did last year around Christmastime.  I got in a massive yuletide knockdown dragout fight with my favorite Facebook arguing buddies.  Athiests, anarchists, liberals, my high school buddy who married a lady who now goes by the name of George and uses male pronouns - we had a blast last year.  

I remember poor Vort wandered into the middle of it and tried to come to my aid, he learned pretty quickly this was consensual combat in an online warriors arena.  It was even respectful in it's own way, although if you didn't realize you were watching a boxing match you wouldn't call it that.

My gay/straight transgender marrying friend even has a noble rule of combat I've tried to adopt.  For every scathing denouncing political post, he must post one cute picture of baby animals doing cute things.  I like that.

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32 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

The purpose of my headline to this thread was not so much to gage poster's personal comfort levels with political vs. spiritually like-minded, but rather to explore ways to return to a society in which we trust each other enough to engage political and religious discussions without the deep animosity and distrust. What most disturbed me about the account in my OP was that the bumpersticker expressed such great disdain for fellow believers, and that most who see it (Seattle area, mind you) will snicker at the poke against Christian Republicans. After all, is not the bottom line message: Hey, I might be religious, but I'm not THAT stupid (i.e. I admit my religious practice doesn't say much in my favor, but at least I'm not GOP). How awful is that?

Regarding politics: I think if you don't know someone well or you know someone gets really upset regarding politics, the best thing to do is probably not say anything at all or handle it very, very delicately.  Your college-aged nephew may come home for the semester with all sorts of funny pro-Communist ideas, but is it really worth getting into a screaming fight over, or is it better to just trust that your nephew will outgrow the silliness soon enough?  (I bet in ten years time, at least 70% of today's SJWs will be voting Republican).

Regarding religion: as a representative Mormon or Protestant or Catholic or whatever you happen to be, you do have an obligation to do missionary work.  However, presentation is important.  Talking about your beliefs in an inviting way is very effective (saying how much you love Christ, what Christ has done for you, saying "I believe [insert belief]".  What is not effective is slamming someone else's belief ("you are WRONG because . . . "), judging someone else's relationship with Christ or eternal destiny (e.g., "You are Mormon so there is no way you are saved"), stuff like that.  The goal is to make the other person like your religion, not hate it.

Basically, use some basic sense.  That's what is lacking - too many people just don't have any sense these days.  If you feel yourself getting angry or irate, you are way too involved in the conversation, you are about to do something you regret, and need to step away.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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31 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

The purpose of my headline to this thread was not so much to gage poster's personal comfort levels with political vs. spiritually like-minded, but rather to explore ways to return to a society in which we trust each other enough to engage political and religious discussions without the deep animosity and distrust. What most disturbed me about the account in my OP was that the bumpersticker expressed such great disdain for fellow believers, and that most who see it (Seattle area, mind you) will snicker at the poke against Christian Republicans. After all, is not the bottom line message: Hey, I might be religious, but I'm not THAT stupid (i.e. I admit my religious practice doesn't say much in my favor, but at least I'm not GOP). How awful is that?

PC-I think the point of the bumper sticker was a bit more tongue in cheek. My brother will say "I'm liberal but I'm not stupidly liberal like a SJW." So he'll poke fun at liberals like himself. I'll say the same joke about my LDS faith. I'll say "I'm LDS, and so are my three wives." or, "I'm LDS but not so LDS that I don't go into a Starbucks." It's a sign of being secure enough with yourself so that you can joke around. 

Edited by MormonGator

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It’s a two way street.  Plenty of conservative Christians bash on liberal, libtards, etc. who are in fact their fellow Christians. Always an implication that a real Christian is conservative. A good friend of mine, very conservative, very Catholic, once called liberal Christians “feral”. He was quoting a conservative Catholic news article.  I pointed out that wasn’t a charitable Christian view of others, and he agreed, but it chilled our friendship considerably. Hard to be friends with someone who views you and your ilk as feral.

The real kicker in this is, that both he and I agreedthat a Catholic can’t really follow either Republicans or Democrats in lock step with either’s agenda. That voting is a process of selecting the best (morally speaking) out of the not quite exactly what I’m looking for bunch.

I have very liberal friends and family, where I am the conservative, mainly because I don’t support abortion, to a level that conservatives generally do not venture.  Then I have very conservative friends and family who are Trump supporters, listen to Alex Jones and quote Breitbart, and I am the liberal. Mainly because I think immigrants are not the enemy.

That isn’t to say I’m some kind of perfect model of can’t we all just get along. I have my own biases, for sure, that I am aware of and would like to be more charitable myself.

The only way to manage any kind of relationship is to just not talk about religion or politics, especially with friends, family and coworkers.

Edited by Blueskye2

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31 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

PC-I think the point of the bumper sticker was a bit more tongue in cheek. My brother will say "I'm liberal but I'm not stupidly liberal like a SJW." So he'll poke fun at liberals like himself. I'll say the same joke about my LDS faith. I'll say "I'm LDS, and so are my three wives." or, "I'm LDS but not so LDS that I don't go into a Starbucks." It's a sign of being secure enough with yourself so that you can joke around. 

I want to think of it in this way. Perhaps it's our context and my experience. Liberal Christians seem to hate conservative believers even more than atheists do. Another case in point. My daughter and I were discussing college choices in relation to a really generous faith-based scholarship in our area. The participant schools are Pacific Lutheran University, Whitworth University (Presbyterian Church USA), Northwest University (Assemblies of God), and George Fox University (Quakers). Her teacher described the schools as all being religious, but said that Northwest was ... well you know, chapel is required ... the body language was so clear--almost as if it was a glorified Bible Institute). As FYI, within the Assemblies of God, Northwest U. is probably one of the most "liberal," religiously relaxed schools. Then again, I'm reminded of the "Not that kind of Christian" campaign, in which participants made it clear that they were Christian, but not the kind that savages the earth, is racist/sexist/homophobic, etc.  In other words, "Please let me play with you. I may be a Christian, but I'm not like most of them..."

Yeah...I want to be optimistic, and view the bumper sticker as tongue-in-cheek, but I'm just not feeling that vibe. It's more the vibe I got from the Christian Democratic senator that backed Bernie Sanders declaration that he would not support Russell Vought to be an assistant director of OMB because he was an Evangelical (and thus believed Jesus was the only way of salvation). Sanders said that Vought was not what America was about, and the Christian Democrat colleague said he agreed with Sanders and fully supported the religious line of questioning he used.

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39 minutes ago, Blueskye2 said:

Then I have very conservative friends and family who are Trump supporters, listen to Alex Jones and quote Breitbart, and I am the liberal. Mainly because I think immigrants are not the enemy.

 

As FYI, in relation to the Northwest University example I gave...it's president, Dr. Castleberry authored a book--The New Pilgrims--arguing strongly for a pro-immigration stance--even offering a biblical rationale for the "illegal immigrants" to be treated as pilgrims, rather than trespassers. Perhaps the example proves my point--to some liberals, having some right policy perspectives is not enough. Far easier to pigeon-hole than to slow down and consider nuances. 

And, oh yes, conservatives have been just as guilty. I've heard some truly ugly things, and read of awful things said--even from pulpits. The worst offenses seem to come from whoever has the cultural/political clout. In the '80s -- early 2000s that was the center-right, today it's the center-left (despite POTUS).  Plus, it's easier to see the grievances when they are directed our way.

BTW, some here have pegged me as conservative. I'll accept that, with a "moderate" adjective, as I too tend to be pro-immigration. I also support local bond initiatives for public schools.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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16 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

As FYI, in relation to the Northwest University example I gave...it's president, Dr. Castleberry authored a book--The New Pilgrims--arguing strongly for a pro-immigration stance--even offering a biblical rationale for the "illegal immigrants" to be treated as pilgrims, rather than trespassers. Perhaps the example proves my point--to some liberals, having some right policy perspectives is not enough. Far easier to pigeon-hole than to slow down and consider nuances. 

I can only go by my conservative family, who I referenced, all who think non-white immigrants are lawless enemies and white immigrants should be treated like pilgrims.

You should understand, that some in my family have racist tendencies.  None went to Northwest U.

Edited by Blueskye2

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I prefer being around conservatives, mostly because they stay shut up in company and don't feel a need to force their opinions on everyone. Danged liberals always want to go all nasty about conservatives. When Bush was president, I couldn't go to water aerobics without people talking garbage - I mean a bunch of middle aged and older white people - using language these otherwise good Iowans would never use on the street, to refer to the President and conservatives (OK, Bush wasn't the conservative I hoped for, but you get the drift). I just got tired of hearing swearing and trash talk in all kinds of venues when I was otherwise minding my business.

We had a huge, 100 yr flood here awhile back. People in my department actually made fun of Bush coming to the area to check out the damage (What does he think he's going to do?). This is what presidents do. And if he hadn't come, they would have jumped on his case for that. You can't win. 

So, I don't mess with them on deep levels. I don't want to be their friend. You can't trust them - they don't carry weapons (so they can't protect you in a pinch) and they don't want you to have a weapon (so you can't protect yourself). And if we want to go racial, nothing makes a white liberal happier than blacks on welfare because it lets them be the racists they are (oh, Tyrone can't help but be poor, he's black, you know) without being up front about it. If you go to school, make some money, and want to keep more of that money in your pocket, then you're an uncle Tom or aunt Thomasina.  To heck with them.

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