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Can You Really Keep Your Religion Out of Your Politics?

By Brennos

Doing any sort of activism work will inevitably lead to some criticism by members of your community, at least it will if you are doing it right. Demanding relevant change in the world makes people who are complacently comfortable in their lives, positions, and viewpoints profoundly uncomfortable. This comfortable complacency is often one of the most persistent barriers to making lasting changes to equity and justice within our society. One quickly finds that being perceived as a threat to that comfort will incur criticism, attacks, and vitriol from the most invested. This can be tiring, but it’s to be expected. It’s part of the process, and while responses of personal attacks and malevolence tend to harm everyone involved, respectful and civil disagreements and debate furthers the dialogue and can lead to solutions to problems. So a big part of remaining effective in your activism is to learn when to ignore criticism and when to engage in dialogue with your critic.

One of the most common criticisms that an activist that comes from a spiritual background will receive is to tell us that we shouldn’t mix our religion or spirituality with our politics. The people who level this complaint at activists and take a stance on not mixing their religion and politics tend to be people who can afford to separate these two aspects of their lives, people whose human rights aren’t being threatened and whose lives and finances are well protected by a system that tends to favor white male rights over all others. But what does this look like, this separation of spirituality and politics? How does one untangle these ideas in our minds and make choices without one influencing the other?

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