“If you want to remain friends, do not discuss religion or politics.” I don’t remember the first time I was given this advice, but I’ve heard it on more than one occasion. While it has always come from someone that I considered wiser, I’ve never really listened. Discourse on religion and politics excite me, so I’m usually down for some sort of dialogue.
Yesterday, I was reminded of the “don’t discuss” adage while noting reactions to President Obama’s statement on gay marriage. “North Carolina, where you can marry your cousin, just not your gay cousin” memes surfaced. Bible quotes were everywhere. Was there a war on marriage? What was the role of government in our personal lives? What did God say? What did the constitution say? There was no way to avoid religion and politics. People were surely having these discussions with friends, and I wondered if they where having them with their partners as well.
We associate politics and religion with a person’s core values. It’s not, “Oh, we have different opinions.” “It’s “Um, what is wrong with you, how can you believe that?” Still, being of a different mind is more acceptable with friends. When everyone in your circle believes exactly as you do, it doesn’t allow for much growth. But, can you build a foundation is with someone when your views don’t align? If yes, do you declare discussing politics off limits?
Should you talk politics with your partner when you have different beliefs?