Politics and Emotion

Emma Green at the Atlantic posted a conversation with Michael Wear, a conservative evangelical Christian who worked on Obama’s staff as a faith-outreach director.  In it, Wear describes the current problems with political tribalism on hot-button issues, with focus on (non-)religiously based views.  You can read the whole thing here: Democrats Have a Religion Problem, and I’ve pulled out some gems below.

On religious illiteracy:

[Wear] once drafted a faith-outreach fact sheet describing Obama’s views on poverty, titling it “Economic Fairness and the Least of These,” a reference to a famous teaching from Jesus in the Bible. Another staffer repeatedly deleted “the least of these,” commenting, “Is this a typo? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Who/what are ‘these’?” (Green)

On divisiveness:

No matter Clinton’s slogan of “Stronger Together,” we have a politics right now that is based on making enemies, and making people afraid… It’s much easier to make people scared of evangelicals, and to make evangelicals the enemy, than trying to make an appeal to them. (Wear)

On emotion:

I’ve been speaking across the country for the year leading up to the election, and I would be doing these events, and without fail, the last questioner or second-to-last questioner would cry. I’ve been doing political events for a long time, and I’ve never seen that kind of raw emotion. And out of that, I came to the conclusion that politics was causing a deep spiritual harm in our country. We’ve allowed politics to take up emotional space in our lives that it’s not meant to take up. (Wear, emphasis added.)

Perhaps politics is taking up a space that religion used to take up.  This seems to be true on both sides of the political aisle.