Sunday, September 19, 2010
I'm a pretty apolitical person. I'm not registered with any political party partly because I take issue with the concept of bi-partisan government. I believe too deep a focus on politics removes us from real change we can make in our real, every day lives. And especially the way things are going these days, I believe it's just another way for people to categorize and dismiss the nuances of the individual human beings around us.
And that's why an email I received the other day really bothered me. It was a forward (gotta love 'em) supposedly listing changes to the 2011 tax codes that would plunge us into socialism. I gotta admit I was offended on multiple levels. Forwards are impersonal. Unless it's an invitation or notice of a birth or other event, I don't see the point of emails sent out with no real regard for who the readers are. It offended me professionally too. Tax information is readily available online. The email cited no information from the IRS website...no links, no citations, nothing. Misinformation is a scary thing and I know close to no one is going to go and verify what was stated. In the past, I've received similar emails from fellow Christians that have been proven to be outright lies told to prove a point. (I'm still not sure of the best way to handle those situations) What gets to me most though, is I know...I genuinely know why I receive these emails.
The senders were Christian, I'm Christian, and for whatever reasons, that means I must be a Republican and worship at the almighty shrine of capitalism (despite my chosen field of study, I'm not 100% sold). I get these emails pretty often from Christian...acquaintances. I can't say "friends". Anyone who's a close friend knows that not only am I not into politics, but also that I delete just about any email whose title starts with "FWD:" site unread. (Yes, that includes ones that declare that I don't love Jesus if I don't open them and immediately forward to my entire mailing list.) It's not just the emails to be honest. I've been invited to rallies, been shown Tea Party signs, all with the assumption of my agreement with the principles in question. And I know it's not just me. I've been seeing more and more blog posts and message boards posts from Christians dealing with the same issue.
It kinda frustrates me. Not because people might disagree with me. That's part of life. Not even necessarily because of the assumptions made (though I do have to admit that does irk my nerves a bit). It gets to me most because I know this isn't what we as believers should be focusing on. I know that if it makes me angry, I'm distracted spiritually. I know it's wasting time and opportunities we should be using studying, helping and praying. I know it drives wedges between believers. Wedges that can be hard to remove.