Saturday, October 24, 2009

Not a box I really wanted to open

but I read a ridiculous story today about a scheduled book and Bible burning and felt compelled to respond.

"Man, I don't want to go to heaven
if it is filled with people like that."

Jay Thomas uttered those words after interviewing the very vile Fred Phelps, founder and pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church. You may remember hearing about Phelps' congregation's protests at American soldier's funerals to gain attention for their numerous causes. They leave few stones uncovered when looking for new groups to hate. Racist depictions of African Americans and Italians and denouncements of Catholics, Jews, and every other form of religion but their self described "Primitive Baptist" sect. Fred Phelps and his hate mongering followers carried "God Hates Fags" signs at soldier's funerals asserting that every tragedy in the world is linked to homosexuality.

My impressionable years

When I attended church with my high school boyfriend, his pastor asserted that you could spot the sinners and purveyors of pornography by their very large (back in the day) satellite dishes.

Local religious protesters blocked the theater release of Monty Python's "Life of Brian" and when I finally watched it years later, it was hard for me to believe such a silly movie could possibly test one's faith. I have always maintained that the same folks that joined cults were the same weak minded fools that could be seduced by drugs or fundamentalist religions. No thinking, we tell you what to believe. To those without intelligence or confidence, it must be comforting to just follow and not doubt.
From my small town church pastors that vowed rock and roll was devil music and women's equality rights laws would force men and women to shower together on army bases to Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Marvin Gorman and Jim Baker and their public falls from grace - all these men showed me they were not to be trusted with my faith and growth. Don't wanna be like you.

I stayed away from organized religion for over a decade. "I'd rather go to hell because at least I would see my friends" is my mantra back then. Every Sunday morning, I enjoyed my spiritual time at my very own church of the Holy Saint Mattress.

Eventually, I found my own way at a church different from my childhood experience. While I invite and welcome anyone to join me, there is no pushing the issue because I respect that we all need to find our own way. Just because my parents and grandparents were a certain strain of this or that doesn't mean it was a good fit for me. (Rest assured, no early morning Saturday knocks on the door will be me proselytzing and leaving religious tracts on your porch.)

My first adult foray to church included an awesome pastor who once remarked some folks will be surprised at who ends up in Heaven and who doesn't. Some won't find their church friends and won't recognize the prostitutes, pimps and "sinners" that they wouldn't speak to on earth. Eye opening.

But I gotta tell ya, it still chaps my ever lovin' ass when I hear someone spewing hate in the name of being Christian. It makes me hesitant to use the label. Stands against Harry Potter books, Halloween, Dan Brown and his "DaVinci Code", the burning of all non-King James Bibles by North Carolina "pastor" Marc Grizzard - it just shows ignorance, intolerance and everything else that makes me uncomfortable with religion.

I don't want to go to heaven if it is filled with people like that.
Recently asked my friend, the pastor's wife, if I was a bad Christian if I didn't exclusively read Christian authors. Her reply? "Hell no!" It wasn't meant to be a test question but it verified that I had found the kind of people I want to be with.

You believe what you believe. I'll believe what I believe.

But if someone gets in my face with any of that foolishness or tells me my gay friends are going to hell . . . I'll try deep breaths until I pass out or just start screaming "I rebuke you!"

Hoping you find your own way,

in your own time

and there is peace and love and hope for us all,

I am,



Anonymous said...

wow! Perfectly said!!! Just had a similar discussion with friends after a so called "Christian" spewed off some foul language denouncing all in her path..all in the name of God, of course.

SkitzoLeezra said...

Oh, I love me some foul language but it's ignorance, intolerance and the misunderstanding of "Christian" values that riles me to near-violence.

Louisiana Belle said...

That Fred Phelps makes my blood boil! Where is his grace, mercy, compassion, and love for others? Those things are in the bible, too. He reminds me of a pharisee. There is no way he is perfect, so that makes him a hypocrite.

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