Friday, January 15, 2016

Thank you, Ms. Evans

Bigots in various state legislatures are trying to play to the prejudices and fears of the citizens by proposing laws that will "protect the 'religious liberties' of those whose deeply-held religious beliefs" make it just impossible to serve, accommodate, employ, or otherwise treat LGBT people as equals.  There's a direct link back to the Supreme Court's ruling on inter-racial marriage and on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  There is a need to feel superior to another segment of the populace.  Although marriage equality is the law of the land, there is still money to be made and political races to be won by saying those fags have to be put back in their place.

The news of another state that will try to end the obvious attack on religious liberty (sarcasm on my part) was reported on recently.  Again it sparked in me complete disdain for these fundamentalist xns.  The story sparked a general condemnation of xnty (Christianity) that felt too broad.  I've done another blog on my questioning of religion and faith and belief and have done a lot of reading.  I started thinking at the keyboard: 

"I have a very fucked up view of theology. I'm not quite able to profess atheism, although it makes a lot of sense, and I'm positive I'm never going back to xnty. So I'm reading a lot. A Christian writer whom I respect is Rachel Held Evans, a recovering evangelical. She writes about the results of her questioning, leaving (and being forced out of) her church, in Searching for Sunday, published last year.
"In a section of the book on the desire to cure problems rather than heal them, she has two outstanding paragraphs:
"'And what [the questioning and hurting people] find is when they bring their pain or doubt or their uncomfortable truth to church, someone immediately grabs it out of their hands to try and fix it, to try and make it go away. Bible verses are quoted. Assurances are given. Plans with ten steps and measurable results are made. With good intentions tinged with fear, Christians scour their inventory for a cure.'
"'But the modern-day church doesn't like to wander or wait. The modern-day church likes results. Convinced the gospel is a product we've got to sell to an increasingly shrinking market, we like our people to function as walking advertisements: happy, put-together, finished -- proof that this Jesus stuff WORKS! At its best, such a culture generates pews of Stepford Wife-style robots with painted smiles and programmed moves. At its worst, it creates environments where abuse and corruption get covered up to protect reputations and preserve image.'
"She is a Christian I respect because she's honest, she thinks, she questions. She also writes about how she came to understand and respect us all, and not just LGBT Christians. I get atheism. I get the desire to believe in a god, too. As Hitchens, et. al. present very good arguments for atheism, Evans writes about a 15 year struggle that isn't over yet. I need to say I respect them all and I still can't convince myself one way or another.
"But I am convinced that these bigoted assholes who feel their precious prejudices need legal protections are pig shit xns."

A fellow JMGer liked that I used Rachel's book as "another point of view."  I replied:

"Thanks.  People here [at JMG] have helped me think about religion, theology, atheism, and more, but (perhaps as a Libra) I see valid points most of the time, except for fundamentalist xnty. Been there, done that, made up my mind. However, I left with no desire to return; Rachel has a need to reconcile obvious hate and exclusion (which all of us, including her, know) with her need to love her god in a community setting. More power to her."

And I truly do mean that.  She really, really wants to believe, to have her faith restored, to find a church of fellow travelers.  Me?  I think I need proof.  I need to see something, I need something tangible.  I have considerably more days behind me than before me.  I never thought I'd see marriage equality become a reality, let alone the law of the land.  Maybe I'll surprise myself and get an answer before I die.

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