If you want to keep friends, don’t talk religion or politics at dinner. I hope you’re not eating right now, because it’s kind of hard to turn on the television, read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or walk out the front door, for that matter, without hearing about Presidential hopefuls, or the Pope visiting the United States. So, let’s talk about it for a minute.
Pope Francis is here. A fan of his positions and progressive ideas or not, he’s a very big draw. He’s only the 4th Pope to visit the United States, the last being in 2008, and with an estimated 70 million practicing Catholics in our country, a lot of people are interested in following his every move while here, if not actually attempting to be as close to him in person as possible. A fan of mixing religion and politics or not, delivering a somewhat controversial speech to Congress with many of those Presidential hopefuls in attendance, is a statement on at least the fact that politics and religion are, in a very palpable sense, one and the same – at least in America’s pre-Presidential election.
I watched the highlights of the Pope’s speech, and I was more amazed at the politician’s posturing responses to the Pope’s statements than to the Pope’s statements themselves. Certainly both sides of the House overly reacted to the issues, one side gloating, while the other side whined, one side agreeing, while the other complained, and all in reverse depending on the issue or statement at hand. I found it hard to concentrate on the content through all the reactions to the content. I find it fascinating when politicians attempt to leverage their positions on the back of somebody else’s efforts, as if endorsing or denouncing others makes their point, rather than standing up to be judged for their own efforts. But, I’m also fascinated at the fact that anything about politicians can fascinate or surprise me.
We’re going to get a lot of religion and politics during the coming year – certainly in the next couple of days – and I sure hope I can better focus on the issues than on the animated gesticulations of the politicians.
With that in mind, here are a few movie quotes on the topic:
“It’s rude to talk about religion. You never know who you’re going to offend.” – Albert Finney in Big Fish
“We’re not owners here, Karen. We’re just passing through.” – Robert Redford in Out of Africa
“I know. I know. We are your chosen people. But once in a while can’t you choose someone else?” – Topol in Fiddler on the Roof
“One of the great problems of our age is we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.” Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady