Do you remember those good ole days when your parents told you that respectable people don’t talk about politics, sex or religion in polite society? They were three taboos you never mentioned.
I suspect the old-timers knew something we don’t, and if we heeded their advice, this world would be a happier place. Well, if not a happier place, at least a more harmonious place.
Times have changed. Just a casual observation of society will tell you that sex is the only thing the entertainment industry, the advertising industry, the celebrity class and countless others want to talk about, to the point that it has permeated all aspects of modern life and led to a pandemic of pornography and sexual harassment.
And for the past eight years, politics has been a national obsession that’s tearing us apart and destroying our spiritual and emotional equilibrium. We talk a great deal about politics, but it doesn’t seem to do any good because, as they say, talk is cheap. I’ve always thought that time could be spent more profitably in prayer, which produces decidedly more positive results.
It’s reached a point where we don’t merely talk about politics. We constantly argue about it in heated and sometimes violent confrontations. I have a lawyer friend who’s so obsessed with political causes he spends a large part of his day defending COVID-19 mandates, Build Back Better and abortion rights. I suspect he loses sleep thinking about them. He also believes there’s no place for religious beliefs in politics.
I have another friend in the medical profession, who believes liberals are responsible for the demise of everything good in America and the rise of everything bad, from secular humanism to militant atheism and persecution of the Catholic Church by the media and the entertainment industry.
Both of these people are believers, but they make me wonder, “What Would Jesus Do?” Does Jesus judge us by our political views? Is he willing to write off half of America because they’re conservative? Or will he turn his back on the other half because they’re liberal?
That brings me to the third traditional taboo—religion. For the most part, discussions about religion in secular society are derogatory. There’s been such a perversion of traditional values that the media often accuse religious people of being the cause of the country’s problems and of obstructing the democratic process because they put their faith first. They would probably have Christians burn a pinch of incense in honor of Caesar to demonstrate their true loyalties.
More than once, I’ve heard politicians and commentators blame religion for America’s unrest. Unfortunately, they often point their finger at the Catholic Church, contending that religion is a major obstacle to “progress,” as they try to push God out of modern life, with tragic results.
A friend of mine worked for many years in a privately owned home-care company that had as its mission statement “Put God first in all we do.” Over the holiday, he called to tell me a West Coast technology company had acquired them, and on the first day of the new ownership, the “Put God first” rule got tossed out. Profits and progress were probably more important. It’s a common occurrence in a society that’s antithetical to faith.
That attitude presents a challenge for Catholics who aren’t afraid to talk about their faith in an age when saying something as inoffensive as “God bless you” can get you hauled into the Human Resources department and brought up on charges.
The goal of any Christian who wants to spread the Gospel should be to break the taboo and bring Christ into a conversation. Talking about Christ is a lot more productive than talking about sex or politics, and in the process you might help Jesus save some souls, which should be the goal of every Catholic.
Countless people are wandering in darkness, and they don’t even know it. They’re oblivious of the Good News, and talking about your religion might be the only encounter they’ll ever have to open the doors of their hearts to Jesus and introduce them to an entirely new life. All you have to do is plant the seed and Jesus will do the rest. So in the new year, make a resolution to share your faith.