Thursday, December 13, 2007

Religion, Politics, and an Awkward Moment

Well, I’m not one who blogs much about politics or religion (although they are two of my favorites), but lately I’m hearing far too much about those two topics in the same sentences. I guess I shouldn’t be too shocked at the role religion is playing as we go through the bizarre process of selecting our next President. Likely my surprise is driven by the fact that it’s very much my religion in question. That’s not a bad news story holistically – hopefully some of the really odd misconceptions that are out there can go away for some folks. However, I’m sure hating feeling like we (using that pronoun generically) have to defend what we believe, while other’s beliefs, even if they’re identical to mine, get zero scrutiny. Let me give you an example:

I’m walking out of the office yesterday and next to the elevators is a TV showing CNN. Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Mike Huckabee, and the text on the screen is quoting Governor Mike’s upcoming NYTimes interview where is rips on “Mormons” using some really goofy speculations about what we believe. You can get more info on it here. While I’m listening a guy in his late 40s, early 50s walks up behind me and starts watching with me. I don’t know the guy, but he says to me, “Wow, those Mormons are a really weird bunch.” I asked him why he was saying that and he referenced what was on the screen and other stuff that he’d heard (none of it true). I stopped the conversation by telling him that I was a “Mormon” and that he was tragically misinformed. (example, he thought there were 200,000 of us and that the church was headquartered in Independence, MO) Of course that made for a nicely awkward moment. I let the silence hang for a while. I told him the names of several prominent members of the church at our own company and in public life. He was shocked. I would’ve taken the conversation a bit further, but he was so embarrassed that I think he just wanted out.

I should’ve sent him here so he could actually read and see what we believe instead of hearing it from a disingenuous politician on TV. Anyway, long post here, and I have a lot more to say on the topic, but I thought you might find the story interesting. Lots of polls have been out there about the "Mormon Problem" for Mitt. I saw one that said 56% of the respondents would be less likely to vote for a Mormon. Wow, are we really still so backward and misinformed?! And don't think for a minute that other politicians aren't using that to their advantage (example above). (even letting their mothers get in on the bigotry) It's frightening to think that we very well may choose our next President based partially on which Christian church he goes to. Absolutely frightening . . .

1 comment:

Hans-Juergen said...

I'm glad you're still alive. I was wondering if you had froze to death or something.

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