Books about faith and politics, are they taboo?
October 19, 2012
I know, the surest way to start a fight is to talk about faith or politics. An altercation is almost unavoidable if you mix the two.
It shouldn’t be that way because both topics are near and dear to people’s hearts. If you can’t talk about things that matter, why waste your breath?
I find that most people who stray into these waters choose books they believe will reinforce ideas they already hold.
We all do that. It brings us comfort to find others that agree with us or at least share an abiding interest in the same things that resonate with us.
But sometimes we have to push our boundaries.
I grew up in a large Baptist church in a small town in a rural section of the southern United States. In case you don’t realize it, I would inform you that dissent is a dirty word in such places. It is better to walk in lock step. I grazed with the herd as a child and young adult, but then began to look at my faith more objectively as I grew older.
Re-evaluating my faith didn’t result in my becoming an atheist or an agnostic. If anything, it made me appreciate it even more. But the content of what I believe morphed over time into something that paid homage to my upbringing while taking into consideration life experiences that molded me as a person.
When it comes to politics, I have seen the area where I grew up make a total flip flop. In East Texas in the 1950s and 60s, most everyone was a Democrat (remember a guy named Lyndon Johnson?). Today, seventy-five percent of the voters are Republicans.
When you add the fact that I am a lawyer to the mix, you can see the conundrum. Most people assume that lawyers are godless SOBs. I’m not godless.
So when the time came that I began to write books, I found that religious and political themes rose to the top.
Have you had the same experience? Do you find that as life has thrown you a curve or two that you re-think some of things you used to take for granted?
I used the first three books I wrote as a way of letting out some of these thoughts that had percolated inside me for years. In a real sense, I believe those books were a way of expressing how I understand the intersection of faith and politics.
These are hotbed issues in the United States today.
What is the relationship between religious faith and political action? Maybe as we work through these concepts, we will come to a new birth of freedom in our beloved country. Or maybe not.
Only time will tell.
(Stephen Woodfin is the author of The Revelation Trilogy.)