I was surprised yesterday by a phonecall from an old friend. She and her husband were in town and wanted to stop by for a visit. I was delighted to hear from her and encouraged them to come. We had a delightful visit. When some remark was made, my friend said something I have heard since I was a little girl, that it is best to not talk religion or politics. My response was that perhaps this was the problem with America--we have avoided talking about the most important aspects of our lives. Maybe, if we talked more about our personal faith and about the consequences we anticipate from pending political views, our nation would not be in this sorry devisive state. Sharing my faith was not something I frequently did because of the seemingly universal belief that talking religion or politics would alter the relationship between friends. Funny thing is that basic religious beliefs among my friends turn out to be very similar despite membership in different churches. Maybe if I had spoken more freely during my youth and throughout my life I could have strengthened not only my faith but that of others. Perhaps if I had invested more time in thinking about the ramifications of politics and discussing things with my friends and associates I would have made better choices when voting. Possibly my friends would have become stimulated in their own thinking and be able to discern potential negative outcomes in time to take a stand against some of the changes that have been made to the manner in which we are governed.
Would discussion of religion and politics teach us to hone our debating skills based on thinking about specific issues? Would we have learned to argue our points of view without resorting to vulgar and vile commentary since we value our friends? I wonder.