Religion, Politics & Poker

Posted: April 21, 2015 in poker
Tags: , , ,

“Polite Company.”

“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?

The poker goddess would like us to live in a world where we can discuss anything in a reasonable fashion, where debate is encouraged, where ideas are freely bounced from one mind to another like a watercolor basketball dripping with fresh paint.

That being said, I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a town full of fundamentalist evangelical Christians, home of the New Life church (formerly run by anti-gay hypocrite Ted Haggard before his sexually scandalous downfall), Focus on the Family, and a couple hundred other tag-a-long Christian organizations.  It used to be, before Haggard lost his throne, that you couldn’t shake a stick without uncovering a burning bush, or drive down the street without seeing a religious fish bumper sticker.  It’s gotten a little better.

Now, I believe in god as well as the next woman, but I was raised CATHOLIC, which isn’t by any means a small demographic in America.   The philosophy is slightly different that with other Christian religions.  The church is sacred & holy, and we are supposed to do good works in the world.  (Though I haven’t been to church in a while, I think that my god understands this & would forgive me.  The god I believe in would also have slightly different opinions about women & birth control than the true Catholic god. Maybe I’m not a very good Catholic.) All of that being said, I’m pretty tolerant of other religions.  The world is a big place, and it can be a good place with loving people who want to help each other, even if they’re Protestant or Methodist or Jewish or Hindu, like my software co-worker & friend Bejoy.  (We’ve spent hours talking about India & Hinduism on the phone, and he is a good soul.) I find that many people in the U.S. confuse Hinduism with Islam or other religions.

So, if we look at the New Life church, which I’ve had occasion to visit, you have to make a choice on what you want to see: the good or the ugly.  The good part would be an active church with a lot of singing and community.  The ugly side would be the merchandising, the lack of tolerance for differences, the parade of the “less fortunate” that are brought out at the beginning of the service.  They say god is everywhere, but I felt more like I was at a high school pep rally than in the presence of God. I was really bothered by the lack of the sacred & holy thing.   There was a large screen and a lot of clapping. And stuff for sale.  CD’s and books and crosses.  It brought to mind a cross between a Church and shopping mall.  I don’t want to be put in the position to defend any religion, but the soup kitchen is run by the Catholics.  Do good works, that’s all.  Matthew 6:5-15

The other thing about my town, and it is one of the most beautiful towns, the mountains visible from almost everywhere, is the politics.  Almost everyone with an artsy creative side has moved to the west side, close to the mountains, as though they offer protection from the anti-Obama stickers and the still-after-all-these-years broadcasting booming barreling voice of Rush Limbaugh & the overbearing twisted Fox millionaire, Bill O’Reilly.  Apparently when he was in power, Dick Cheney ordered the TV’s at the air force bases to be set to Fox news.

mountains

I love my city, and it has gotten better, by that I mean seemingly more tolerant, but even as  I write this, I am filled with a little bit of  fear.  I may be offending my neighbors. But Free speech is in our constitution!  Beware offending the man with the cash in his hand.

I’ve sullied the poker blog with enough talk on these controversial topics.  They are definitely best avoided at the poker table, especially in tournaments where one sits for hours with strangers making pleasant small talk.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

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