Friday, February 08, 2008

Politics And Religion

Yes, I am going to take a walk on the WILD side... And blog about Politics And Religion...

I realize these topics are taboo for many people in polite conversations.

However, for those of you that know me, you know nothing is taboo. And I am not alway polite...

And it may help you to understand my motivation for this post...

A couple months ago at my Southern Baptist church I had a serious disagreement with one of the preacher's decisions regarding the congregation of our little country church. While his rhetoric was spot on, his methodology for enacting said rhetoric was HUGELY and intolerably out of line.

So hubby and I decided to stop attending our little church. I was hugely saddened by our decision. I love this church but felt it was important to separate ourselves from the decision this one man made as it appeared to represent the entire church body.

In my despair, I emailed (on Facebook) several of my cherished life-long friends and told them about what had happened and asked for their spiritual support. And, bless 'em - they gave it lovingly and willingly.

And out of our very supportive conversation, an idea grew - we decided to do an on-line Bible Study. We selected a book and started discussing (via IM) a chapter every week.

So a couple weeks ago we were getting together on IM - waiting for everyone to join - a couple of us gals started talking about preferences for presidential candidates. The other two - preferring republicans. And I said - kinda tongue-in-cheek - "I try very hard not to vote the GOP ticket if I can help it."

And one of my dear friends - that I have known since childhood says to me/us - "I cannot talk about this with you anymore as I have a serious disconnect from Liberals."

ouch.

that stung.

and really hurt my feelings... (don't disparage my friend in comments - please - as I do love her dearly)

so I am a liberal. I mean I have been called worse. truly.

Growing up at my Grandfather's knee in South Mississippi I found myself Southern Baptist and Southern Democrat. The two were one in the same. coexisting. for all practical purposes, indistinguishable from the other.

when, exactly did that change? and has it? changed.

I can remember my Grandfather telling me how all the local democrats - on the state and county levels - created jobs for people during the depression years. Roads were built. people got paid. families got fed.
And this was VERY close to home.

These jobs created by the local democrats kept my grandfather's family and close-knit community from going hungry. And afforded some of them the extravagant luxury of sending their children to college.

There was no greater affront than for these kids to go to college, get a degree and come home a Republican. Lord Forbid!

But it happened...

And I heard about it. More than once, mind you.

People of my Grandfather's generation did not forget transgressions of such magnitude.

Many of my people in South Mississippi - Great Uncles, Cousins, and Great Grandfathers - were elected officials on the county and state level. On the Democrat ticket. Southern Baptist, all. My roots.

I was living in Baltimore, Maryland when William Jefferson Clinton was campaigning against George Bush. I remember a visit home to Mississippi and my Grandfather taking his worn, well-read Bible and sharing scripture with me that, to him, indicated Bill Clinton would be our next president.

He was so certain of his conviction he told me that if George Bush was elected president again he would put down that Bible and never pick it up again. And he meant it.

But Granddaddy and his Bible were right, lest you forget the results of that election...

I know you are dying to know what verses he shared with me - and there were several. But the only one I can recall is this...

God is talking to Abraham about his descendents - bearing in mind that Abraham's descendants are the people of Israel.

"I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12: 3).

Granddaddy went on to explain at that time, President Bush had provided missiles to the enemies of Israel and had trained those enemies on how to use these weapons against the people of Israel.

President Bush had literally cursed Israel.

You do the math...

Granddaddy did.

People have always said of Democrats - All they want is more taxes and bigger government.

People, please. Who in their right mind wants more taxes? Not me. And I damn sure don't want any more government than we already got - 'cause we got more than we need as it is. Still, I am realistic enough to acknowledge there are some necessary evils...

But I am a democrat.

I reckon I must be a modified version.

My Daddy always said we didn't make enough money to be Republicans. That cracks me up. I have pissed off more than a few people with that comment.

So I am a Democrat. But I did not get here blindly. It would be easy for you to say I drank the family kool-aide and just went along with the inherited rhetoric.

Do I really seem the type?
to follow anything blindly?
seriously, people.

There's more than just my roots. I got some branches as I grew up...

Young Democrats in college.

Card carrying member of Planned Parenthood.

Met Al Gore at a political rally my Jr year of college when he was still a senator from Tennessee. My Dad and I chatted with him - just the three of us - for about ten minutes. I told my Dad that night on the way home I wanted That Man in the White House one day. And if the people in Florida knew how to punch a hole and/or count - I would have gotten my wish.

Personal family history with Trent Lott. I know what kind of man he is. I knew before everyone else did.

I won't get into the issues - but now you know my politics.

Call me a liberal.

whatever...


Now on to religion.
I did say Southern Democrat AND Southern Baptist...

You have probably heard people say "I was raised in the Baptist Church or the Catholic church, etc." I have said it plenty of times myself.

Well any good Bible thumper worth their salt knows that God doesn't have grandchildren. Either you are a child of God or you ain't. Doesn't matter what church you were raised in. Just because Momma and Daddy are members, doesn't mean you are. It's not like the Country Club...

Simple enough concept.

But it just so happens that my Christianity came to me via the Southern Baptist Church. That does not mean I am especially fond of Baptists. Even if I am one…

Most Baptist are wonderful, loving, God-fearing people. It's the few (okay, maybe more than a few) zealots that give the rest of us a bad name.

My church, growing up, was full of imperfect sinners. Even in my youth, I was not blind to the inequities present in our congregation. Black families that dare darken our First Baptist door were quickly invited to attend the Negro Baptist church on the other side of the tracks.

One of the deacons played a role in a lynching of a black man accused of raping a white woman.

We were encouraged to bring our rock and roll records and cassettes to the revival so we could burn them and rid ourselves of all the hidden satanic messages.

But still, in the midst of all this, I had the most phenomenal Youth director, who along with his wife supported me and the other youth in our church. We learned about fellowship and covering each other's backs. Our youth group did not enjoy a utopian existence, but for the most part - we were there for each other - at church and at school.

That Baptist youth group got me through many a rough spot in Jr. & Sr. High School. It gave me a solid moral foundation. At the same time opening my eyes to the inherent flaws in most organized religions.

and that being they all like to stand at the fence and yell:

"You're going to hell and we're not.. Nanny Nanny Boo Boo"
"No, You're going to Hell!"
"No, You Are."


So what do I believe?

Here goes...
I still consider myself a Baptist. guilty by affiliation.
But I am a Christian first.
I believe spirituality - through faith - is your personal relationship with Christ, the Son of God.

Thus Christianity.
Religion, is socialized spirituality. And it is Religion that often gives spirituality a bad name...

One thing that makes me a really bad Baptist - and I like to think a really good Christian - is I do not judge. I don't. And the good Baptists will write to me and say "we don't judge. God judges."

No, really, I have been to Sunday School with you folks. I know how you talk about all the Catholics going to hell in a hand basket. And how you like to poor mouth the non-denominational churches - and call them ‘Feel Good’ Churches - like that's a bad thing. Let's get something straight - If I can't go to church and FEEL GOOD about it, I don't wanna go...
I've heard what you say about people that drink. And dance and good heavens, the homosexuals.

JUDGE. JUDGE. JUDGE.

And I don't think the Baptists are all that special. And just like I can talk about the rednecks, I can dis the Baptist - because I are one. You will NEVER catch me talking trash about other denominations.

Still, I like to imagine that the Methodist talk about the Catholics and the Lutherans talk about the Presbyterians.
and so forth and so on...

It's someone's motto or I heard it in a movie -
"Kill 'em all - Let God sort 'em out."

me, my motto -
"Love 'em all - Let God sort 'em out."



13 comments:

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

I too, come from a family of Southern Baptist Democrats. In fact, it is a big battle Big D and I have with my family, they were shocked when they found out I changed my political affiliation. I keep telling them that you have to align yourself with the party that supports your interest, your values, your beliefs. They continue to tell me that my grandpa would "roll over in his grave" if he knew I changed parties.
I do wonder, how it changed so much. Now one party is seen as the conservative Christian party, while the other is the liberal pagon party. When did that happen? When did we stop being Americans and start drawing lines? I mean, really drawing lines, like if we don't belong to the same side we have to assume the other person is crazy.

bg's Little Sis said...

Love you bunches T.Cole!

-lil'sis

not said...

mmmwwwwah!

from your yankee lutheran separated at birth sister!

Misty said...

I liked reading this post! -From a democrat who was born to two democrats..one a Jew and the other an atheist. However I am spiritual and a praying girl who has grown up to believe in more than I was ever taught.(i wasn't taught much in terms of religion)

t_cole said...

Thanks Ya'll.
I wrote on this for several days.
Feel like I put my soft under belly out there for the world to see and it was not necessarily the easiest post to publish.
So your love and kind words really mean a lot!
t

cadbury_vw said...

what if i think liberals are too right wing?
[heh]

----

here in Canada, my party's greatest leader was a Baptist Socialist. He taught the social gospel - help yourself and help your neighbour.

cadbury_vw said...

BTW - excellent post

t_cole said...

Thanks Cad - was hoping you'd find your way to this post...
Knew you'd have a thing or two to say.
=)

Wien. said...

You know my stand, with that said I found your post to be very interesting and thought provoking. Thanks!
w.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

Shucks t, all the guys who were democrats in Georgia when I arrived are Republicans now. Don't worry, with good luck and a lotta faith, all those who are Democrats may be forgiven in time (as 'maybe' all those who are Republicans.)

Anonymous said...

I'm a Texan. I lived there my first 42 years, anyway. Now I live in Delaware, less than three years, and hoping to move back soon. I am still a Democrat, like my grandparents were...but ALL the rest of my family has turned Republican on me. :-( Oh well. The reason I'm commmenting here for the first time is to tell you I'm a devout Catholic, have always been...and I've never heard anyone in any of my Churches (thru many moves, Corpus Christi, College Station, Dallas, Beeville, George West, Houston), NEVER have I heard a Catholic say ANYTHING about another denomination not getting into Heaven. Never. But my mom used to tell me that Protestants do say that about Catholics. I wonder why? I'm truly clueless. I myself was taught that anyone that lives by their beliefs, doing the very best they can with what they know, will get into Heaven. It's similar to how we believe you have to KNOW it's a sin for it to be a sin in God's eyes. If you never even hear about Jesus in your lifetime, how can that keep you out of Heaven?

Jennifer

t_cole said...

Hi Jennifer -
Thanks for stopping in and commenting.
Hope you do make it back to Texas soon. It is considerably warmer here than your current residence.

Your Mom was right. And it makes me batty. Out and Out NUTSO!

I agree with you. (look at that - a Baptist and a Catholic CAN play nice.) =)

t

t_cole said...

btw - Richard - you crack me up.
Always nice to see your smiling mug on my blog!