I appreciate the well thought-out response, Jack.
I can see where discussing politics and religion are terrible ideas. That’s why the principle is conditional upon when the other person brings up either topic.
I’ve had this happen numerous times, and I can vouch for the fact that trying to refuse to talk about them is akin to saying: I don’t agree with your stance — because people usually bring those things up with the preface of “here’s what I think”.
I do think there is a tactful way to be honest and try to avoid the ire of those with different views. But I think it has to do more with just asking questions of the person. Oh, that’s interesting, I haven’t kept up on the issue much [lie] — what laws did Ms. Clinton violate, and what kind of prison time usually goes with those violations? And so on.