Taboo Conversation Topics: RELIGION and POLITICS

TABOO TOPICSIn polite conversation, we know to avoid 
discussing religion and politics, unless we’re
prepared to get into a knock down drag out –
these two areas just seem to bring out 
emotional extremes in otherwise calm
people.  Why do you think this is?Personally I don’t hold strong views on either,
except that I believe in neither, which is
probably a strong view by itself.  So rather
than hear a lecture on why I must, why I absolutely must have a religion (to save my

immortal soul), or hold a political view (to save the country from certain ruin), I try to avoid both in all conversation, polite or otherwise.

I’m reminded about this in a phone conversation yesterday with my former client and now good
friend Roger.  Roger is a retired insurance salesman and long past his prime, pretty mellow in
his golden years.  So I was very surprised when we were discussing my daughter’s graduation
from college last year and being unable to find gainful employment in her career of choice,
Roger shouts “you better be voting for Romney!”  I said, “What did you say?” since I couldn’t
believe his vehemence, and he persisted, “you are voting for Romney, aren’t you?”  Wow, he
was actually pushing his politics on me!  What IS it about politics that gets people’s ire up??

Whatever “it” is, religion has the same bent, which makes my skin crawl (I have personal issues
with religiosity).  I recently read that religion and strong causes makes a person callous,
makes them feel superior – how true!  The holier-than-thou attitude of “true believers” is not
enviable, instead it’s rather pitiable.  And who, they wonder, am I to pity them? – me, with the
certain-to-be-damned soul!   Your cause may be good for you, and it may even be good for
the world at large, but let me decide if I want to embrace it for me.

COMMUNICATION TAKEAWAY:  If you are at all tempted to discuss religion or politics think 
twice – it still offends many.  Maybe it doesn’t offend all, but it’s not worth it to find out the 
hard way, since they may not tell you the truth when asked.  And if you don’t care enough
about the person so you can freely be offensive, why waste your time with the conversation?
Political views, in this the high season for politics, and religious views are still and will
likely always be communication hot potatoes, best left alone.

QUESTION:  Does this resonate at all with you?  Do you have a story of a political 
“debate” that went over the top, got a bit out of hand?

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