Sunday, May 16, 2010

Don't Mix Politics With...Well, ANYTHING!

"Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, political parties, nations, and eras it's the rule." Friedrich Nietzsche

Politics should stand alone. Politics and sports, politics and religion, politics and entertainment...even politics and (many) friendships should not be paired up. This was crystallized in my mind last week when my beloved Phoenix Suns took a public stand on a controversial issue. Management and players were quoted taking positions opposing recent state legislation regarding illegal immigration. Then, this week Nancy Pelosi urged clergy leaders to do the same.

Regardless of your opinion on this, or any other issue, my point is that politics should remain apart from all else. As a Suns fan, we already love our team. They can't improve our devotion by taking a political stance. However, they do risk losing our affectionIf they publicly oppose our politics. This is a no-win for teams. Fans prefer that they play ball, not politics. When they retire they can be politicians. (Right Barkley?)

There is no law prohibiting clerics from preaching political ideologies, and in fact many do. Our constitution does, however, separate church and state. If Ms. Pelosi decides to address religious leaders, she should encourage and inspire them, not push a divisive political agenda. Each of us is so blessed to live in this great country where our place of worship is a personal choice. I'd be the first one to demonstrate this freedom if my pastor used the pulpit on Sundays to prescribe political allegiances. My seat would be vacant and I'd begin searching for a new church that preached about life, God's love and character—allowing congregants to derive their own political affiliations.

Some people can easily separate a wonderful singer or actor from his/ her radical (loudly proclaimed) politics. I find that difficult. The entertainment experience is significantly diminished because I can't erase the sound bite from last week's news. I applaud celebrities for doing good works in the community and the world, but spouting politics isn't as admirable or universally productive.

I think it's ridiculous, if not dangerous, to have only like-minded friends. A lively debate over social issues can be fun and invigorating, but it can also cause hurt feelings and ruined relationships. If done with grace and a watchful eye, we can share opposing views with friends, but there is always a risk. It's probably wiser to keep these topics to a minimum and steer back to things we can agree on, like sports...unless that gets political too!

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