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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review of the Book of Life

Today is Thursday, where I'd normally do book reviews. Yesterday was April Fool's Day, So I didn't do my typical Women Wednesday posting. Last week was Spring Break, so on the whole, I've been a slacker. I could write a book review today, but I'm working on #25Reasons and that's what I need to be doing to meet my goal there.  Here's the latest cover -- the ink is still drying on the page I printed:

But if you connect with me on social media (FB), then you'll know I have been very busy with something I'm very passionate about -- supporting people who are being abused by people who don't realize they are in positions of privilege.  I know something about this. Two years ago, I wrote When I Say I'm Unchurched, and it means just as much today as when I wrote it. (I just put the title into a search engine, and mine's the first article that pulls up. That's a pretty awesome feeling.) At some point, I need to update that article to direct people HERE and not Wordpress, but that's minor.

Before I was a mother, and before DOMA, I was pretty happy calling out damned liberals from my safe space as a feminist in the Republican camp. I had great respect for Barbara Bush and Elizabeth Dole. I really thought that education and hard work could help anybody become as wealthy or successful as they wanted to be.

Now, more than a decade older, and I hope wiser, I have seen the outspoken powerful minority of the conservative party do things to offend reason -- in the name of a set of religious ideas that I don't share -- while a much quieter majority looks on without stopping the madness. People should be free to celebrate their religion. As someone no longer in practice, let me say how many churchgoers have many privileges they do not even realize they have. My fifth grader was supposed to do a research project on the culture of his family. One fifth of the project was supposed to have been about his religion. I'm not comfortable sticking a label on him for an assignment. He wasn't raised in a church community to know how damning it is to be without one. It was the tipping point reason (not the primary or only one) to take him out of brick and mortar school and enroll him in public school online -- so his grade wasn't affected by leaving out a fifth of his "research project." But then we get into the literature class online and one of the units is "Stories From the Bible." As it turned out, my son enjoyed the stories. David and Goliath. Daniel in the Lion's Den. The Loaves and Fish. Seeing them through my son's eyes helped me see them differently than the way I was spoon-fed them in my religious education classes. I could equate them with the Tall Tales and Legends we had read, and the stories of Roman and Greek gods. Reading the Bible stories did not demand that anyone declare himself Christian or Protestant or Atheist.  

People aren't getting how HATE isn't part of the Christian doctrine. Jesus surrounded himself with women, with lepers, with tax collectors, with PEOPLE. All sorts of people. But the stories in the Qu'ran bear striking similarities with the Bible. Many religious texts mirror stories I recognize from the Bible. So I don't like well meaning Christians telling haters to move to Iran. I have Muslim friends. They assume I'm Christian. They're still wonderful to me -- they're wonderful people. I have Asian friends who are forbidden religion. They assume I'm Christian. They're wonderful to me -- they are wonderful people. What most of us can agree on is that the people are fine -- it's the power that corrupts. My decision to remain outside of a religious faith stems from my need to not be corrupted -- to continue to see things in the pure way my son does. It is very humbling to be taught by your child, but it is also very important.

So my Book Review Thursday post is perhaps a book review of the Bible: what it is, and what it isn't. We know that attending church or reading the Bible is not a license for eternal reward in the next world. We can see that child abuse is still abuse. We can see American jails full of people -- many more Christian than any other denomination.We can see that the highest rates of teen pregnancy and divorce are both found in the geographic area recognized as the Bible Belt.
Information belongs to the Census Bureau and used only for the purpose of providing evidence of my claim.

Information belongs to Gallup and used only for the purpose of providing evidence of my claim.

So I hope my unapologetic self will be forgiven when I laugh at people who invite me to their churches while asking me to respect their right to discriminate. I hope they will one day understand why when I hear them say "your post offends me" I want to do more than post to cause them to be offended. Sometimes, I want to punch them in the nose -- but I won't. I want to remind them that I'm still married to the only person I've ever had sex with -- and I'm still married to that person because we mind our own business. We don't judge others. We don't lust after our neighbors or their spouses. We don't care who is sleeping with whom -- we just want to know who's picking up their kids after a playdate or school function -- and if there's a fighting dynamic we need to be sensitive to. It's insulting that they don't care enough about my child not to talk about him or his heathen parents in front of him -- yeah. It's happened. It's bizarre that there are children my son can't play with -- because his parents' (MY) religious views are not acceptable and they aren't (I'M NOT) "good people" -- yeah. It's happened.
I want to rub their collective noses in their privilege -- because they don't understand it. Because of their "deeply held beliefs," they're same people who don't understand feminism. And they can't understand why their deeply held beliefs are so offensive to me. They're a hard group to love.

This month I celebrate 13 years of marriage to the only sex partner I've ever had. So that Bible passage about the stone throwing? I think some people should think about it. And if they claim they have, and maintain their religious right to bigotry, they should think about it HARDER.