Tuesday, March 15, 2005

my god, not yours

I noticed this last year as well-- as soon as I say, "no thanks, I can't [insert whatever], I gave it up for Lent", its shit storm central.

Something like--

"ARGH! THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE IS A CHRISTIAN! NOOOO!! SOB YARRRGAHHA BLAH AAHHHH!!"

---- except that it actually sounds more like "um, what?"

Its actually the moment of quiet unease before the "um, what" that gets me. Have I sprouted an extra head? Did a dead body fall out of my pocket? Broccoli in my teeth? No, no, and maybe, but that's not the problem.

Jesus is a no-no around these parts, didn't you know?

Now, I am not the best example of a religious person. In fact, keeping lent and praying that the Metro will not arrive before I get to the platform, are pretty much the only religious practices that I follow. Why do I keep lent? I'm not quite sure. It just seems like the right thing for me and so I do it.

But just because I was raised in a Christian church and yet continue to occasionally do Christian things or agree with Christian beliefs does not make me some gay-hating I- heart- Jesus- and- my- AK47- put- a- bible- in- every- school- desk- and- a- white- man- in- the- oval- office- until- the- end- of- time- republican jackass.

And if one more person tells me they are "spiritual" but not religious, I'm gonna smack his or her stupid face.

Please. PUH-lease. What you are actually saying is "I'm comfortable believing in some kind of over-arching powerful thingy but I'm afraid to commit to anything in particular because you might judge me."

Well, I am judging you and that is for being stupid.

In the US-- temperance, abolition, the un-liberation of women, social welfare, segregation, emancipation, all of it-- motivated and supported as religious causes. Shit, even the separation of Church and State was had religious purposes, so no one church or group could claim national power! Yo mama!

Yet here we are, running around like Chicken Little screaming about how everything is going down the shitter and Imminent Destruction is around the corner.

"AH! Bush won again! Its the Apocalypse and those friggin' Christian Coalition people were right cuz we're all going to Hell!"

This huge fear of religion that liberals have, of religious people, overwhelms me with its ignorance and arrogance. Surprise! America has always been a conservative country. Christianity, for better or worse, is the majority religion. Yes, there is fundamentalism, there are people filled with a God-fueled hatred of all things different, and yes, they think that you are less of a person for not being in their religion-- but not everyone who believes in something is one of them. If we said the same thing about Muslims- all of them are terrorists because some of them are? Or Buddhists- all of them are Tibetan freedom fighters because some of them are? All Jews want to kill Palestinians because some of them do?

What do we become then? What we accuse them of being- racists, extremists, prejudiced...

Religion is not your enemy. Tolerance is not being right. What this country stands for is not liberty in the sense of liberal thinking but liberty as the co-existence of a multitude of people and beliefs in one place. That's why we separated church and state, that's why we never made Christianity the national religion or English the national language, or democrats or republicans the national party, because we cannot risk the tyranny of one over any of the others.

There are questions that may never be answered, about the things that none of us can be sure of-- unless aliens land, Jesus returns, or it Big Bangs again and we all go, "ooooh, I get it." Until then, no one person is actually right, no matter how much you or they think they are. So we have to account for the difference of opinion. Its the American way!

Christ!