Rejected Christ, Because I'm a Father. -
I used to go to church, I used to believe, I used to tithe
10%+, I used to volunteer, I used to hold small groups
in my home. That was all back before 2003. That was before
Bush wanted a second term and my church was mobilizing
to help him do it. They handed out Republican propaganda,
they preached how Bush was a godly man and we should
all "honor our King" (exactly as they said
The final straw came when they emailed our entire congregation
a raft of lies about Democrats, and didn't BCC it. I
thought "What right does our pastor have to press
his political opinion on all of us? We go to church to
hear the word, not politics." I saw an opportunity
to speak to the congregation with a gentle voice of moderation
and reason, imploring them to consider the wars and killing,
the torture, the loss of civil liberties under the Patriot
Act, etc. etc., so I took it. I provided links to news
stories that showed the contradictions in what we were
being told and I asked them to seek the truth before
they made a decision about the future of our country.
I realized that Kerry was a poor choice, but I thought
that another 4 years of Bush was enough to weaken us
to the point of no return. I tried to get that across
as gently as possible.
It was a firestorm of hate.
I was cursed at by people I'd known for years, people
I'd prayed with. I was told I hated the troops. I was
told that waterboarding wasn't torture, and even if it
was, it was ok because America was worth it. My small
group I hosted at my home was subjected to Nazi-like
brownshirt investigation, with the small group pastor
dropping by to "keep us on point" in our discussions.
I was invited to a private meeting with the pastor, who
suggested that politics was the true opiate of the masses
and that for every hour of political thought, I should
spend 2 hours praying for guidance. I was told that government
was chosen by god and that I had to honor my King (Bush).
I was told that his son that was in Iraq was laying his
life on the line for my freedom, and that I was being "disrespectful
and out of alignment with god's word".
People in church stopped speaking to my wife, possibly
the sweetest woman on Earth. We were ostracized to the
point that it was palpably uncomfortable to sit in service.
The small group I hosted decided to "host the group
closer to most of the other members' homes", meaning
1/2 mile closer to them.
We left, my wife hoping to find another church home.
I was still shocked and angry at my treatment from these
godly folks, so I didn't exactly make it a priority.
The second realization came when my young son began to
realize what death was, and connected what he heard of
Hell and demons in church. He became terrified of his
parents dying, and then his death, and then everlasting
torture. I opened my mouth to explain the sacrifice of
the Lamb, and why he'll never see Hell if he loved Jesus
and then it hit me like a freight train.
As a father, I was about to tell my terrified son the
fairy tale equivalent of this: "If he didn't want
to end up locked in a dark, dank basement filled with
spiders and child molesters and murderers, then he should
love me with all his heart and soul, and if I believed
he was sincere, then I wouldn't lock him down there forever.
I would tell him I sacrificed myself to work very hard
for him, and that I was giving him this gift of a chance
to live upstairs with me forever. However, if he didn't
want it, then it was out of my hands and he would have
to go to the basement and be locked in there, away from
the warm beacon of my love forever."
I couldn't tell my child this. I couldn't tell him that
invisible demons were real.
It occurred to me that if I couldn't ask him to believe
this, then why should I believe it, and if I didn't tell
him, then I was betraying god by not passing on "holy
truth" to him that he MUST KNOW TO AVOID THE BASEMENT...
and it all fell into place. I had been a stooge. I had
believed this idiocy my whole life, I had even held off
on having kids earlier because I feared the coming Apocalypse
was just around the corner. I was a fool and I was so
ashamed I was numb.
I held my son and soothed him. I told him not to worry,
there were no such things as demons, and we would all
be alive for a very long time. I told him he had nothing
to worry about, and that I and his mommy loved him very
much. Slowly his sobs subsided, his tears dried, and
he looked up and smiled at me, hugged me tight and said, "I
love you, Daddy."
He fell asleep as I rocked him in my arms on the couch.
I gritted my teeth and wept. I've never been to church
since, and I never will. My children are raised to be
critical thinkers and to resoundingly reject magical
I'm now comfortable with the words "I reject Christ",
because it holds no more power over me. I might as well
be saying, "I reject The Flintstones".