UNITED STATES—If been said time and time again that there are two topics that should never be discussed at the workplace or in any group setting: politics and religion.  I’ve always asked myself the question why not?  Can’t we all have a civil conversation without blowing things out of proportion?  When it comes to politics and religion, the answer to that question is no and for good reason. Let’s start our discussion by looking at religion.

Religion is something that has been around for ions.  There are so many various religions from Baptist, Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Methodist, Jehovah Witness and many, many more.  Every religion has its own beliefs and not everyone agrees with those practices or theories. There are those out there who are Atheists and don’t believe in a higher power.

The problem with religion is the attempt to defend what you believe to be true when so many others are against it.  The point revolves around one important center: it’s that person’s right to think or believe how they choose to believe.  It doesn’t necessarily make it right or wrong, but we it’s our right to think how we want to think. The problem with that notion is we live in a world where people want to control how we think, how we live, how we act and what we do.

Everyone wants to have power and that’s the same problem with politics; religion and politics are about having POWER.  When you have power you can control what people do because you can influence them through the use of money.  We live in a nation where it’s the one commodity that everyone wants and the commodity where people are willing to do vicious things to get it. Politics in particular is a power struggle.  The more power you have the more impact you have on people.  Look at it this way we have two powerhouse titans in the political arena: Democrats and Republicans.  You really can’t be in between you’re either for one or against the other. That’s the problem with Independents, while to some degree you’re not pro this or pro that, they tend to slant one way or the other.  I do believe in do time that a third party will rise in the political arena because let’s face it the American public is fed up with the antics of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

Neither can ever seem to come to a common ground on anything, but that’s where we come in. If you’re in the workplace discussing a political issue you’ll always encounter an opposing side and they can sometimes be downright nasty with their comments.  Its one thing to state your opinion, but to take verbal jabs at a person’s character is another thing. Discuss without being disgusting.  No need for expletives or fist fights.  Trust me I’ve seen it happen and am appalled to have witnessed such atrocities because of people’s passion for one party or a particular religion.

We don’t live in a world where we allow people to voice their concerns without their being some form of backlash, that’s the problem with Freedom of Speech.  We have it, but do we truly have it?  From a legal standpoint? Yes. From a social/cultural standpoint? No.  You may get a pass with the legal system, but the American public is not always so forgiving when you make stupid comments or insensitive statements.  So just how does religion and politics come to play?  They take the idea of Freedom of Speech to new heights.  We go above and beyond to prove our point or to defend a group that we feel connected to, its not right but its something we do time and time again.

By LaDale Anderson