As an International Relations major, a great deal of my courses have been in the Political Science department. In all the classes I took surrounding political affairs, both international and domestic, I rarely thought much about the values or motives behind certain political affiliations/agendas.
However, the “Religion and Politics” course most of us are taking with Bonita has changed that entirely. Bonita’s class has opened my mind up completely to searching for deep societal patterns and examining a person or culture’s narrative rather than simply taking for granted that two or more parties don’t get along.
This new mindset was put to the test on Monday when we went to the Legislature, and I sat in on a committee meeting of particular interest to me. The State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee was hearing a bill called “Religious Exemptions for Certain Persons”, which was being disguised as a way to protect clergy in “exercising their religious freedom” predominately by not performing gay marriages. However, the language in the bill was so loose and vague that it could have applied to much more than clergy and could have been used as an instrument in discrimination. Thankfully, the bill was killed in committee, and will be postponed indefinitely. However, as we were waiting for the proceedings to begin, Bonita said to me, “It makes you wonder what his [the senator who introduced the bill] narrative is”. And it did. Up to that point I had just been upset with the guy, he was just the other side, my oppressor. But, after Bonita said that, I had to really think about why someone would write a bill condoning discrimination. What was his narrative? I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I like to think that Bonita’s class has certainly opened my mind.