Why Doesn't Religion Need Politics?

Quiestist. noun. There are numerous understandings of the term quietist, and here the word will refer only to those spiritualities, or more properly, those spiritual personalities, that eschew political involvement.

Religions take in all kinds of personalities and tend to burnish what they receive: a mean person, having adopted religion, becomes meaner; a kind person becomes kinder; a political person becomes additionally political; and the apolitical become more so.

Political religion has much to lament. Politics interlaced with religious fervor, or religion intertwined with political fervor, invented many techniques for political oppression. The government of gods has been tried and has failed. Hence the North American experiment separating religion from state.

Religious politicos who draw inspiration from their sacred scriptures always do so selectively. It's not the case that text determines political view, but rather political view determines the choice of text and also the interpretation of the text. A prior political disposition draws a person to a requisite proof text. And when religious politicos speak for God, they're merely ventriloquists staging a self-styled soliloquy, reducing the deity to the intemperate argot of a backroom political hack.

On the other hand, for centuries, in various religions, including past and present-day Islam, there have been religious a-political people. They're called Quietists and they pursue their own salvation without recourse to political legislation or political agitation.

For these, the character of a national government (theirs or other nations) is neither a barrier nor a boon to spirituality. A Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddhist, a Sikh, a Zoroastrian, and the rest, may all be good devotees under any form of governance, no matter which way the wind blows.

Religious a-politicos are those who do not make public displays of their piety but rather go into their inner rooms and pray or meditate in secret. They are typically not well known, therefore.

Too bad.

It's one of the displeasures of contemporary religion that its least admirable practitioners make all the noise and get all the attention.

Perhaps Quietist should not be quite so quiet.

Perhaps Quietists should ascend pulpit and platform and all the pinnacles of public media to announce that they have a more perfect way to embody the ideals of spiritual perfection.

Hush. Be quiet.