Warning: If you are easily offended, stop now.
In general, if you are easily offended, don’t read my blog.
In fact, perhaps before reading, you should read this again. It’s been a while.
The following rant has been years in the making. Yes, it’s about religion. And how I’ve gone REM on the pope’s ass and lost mine. It’s also about our government and what has now become a disgustingly blurred separation of church and state. The straw that broke this rantoppotomus’ back? My trip to Incredible Pizza last night with Ms. B. I don’t want my pizza served with a side of Jesus, thank you very much. And my salad is just fine without your croutons o’christ (Dane Cook’s bit on the Catholic church is spot on – anyone raised Catholic, whether they agree or not, can relate on some level to that bit). I came to play games and relieve some stress – leave church out of this. If I wanted to discuss Christian principles, I’d have invited a theology group to dinner. I certainly don’t need a slinky shaped like a cross (although the subsequent mental image of pushing Jesus down the stairs, which is essentially the statement made by a cross-shaped slinky, was as funny as it was wrong), and I don’t need a bat that says I play on God’s team. Oh, and the 90s called. They want their “WWJD?” keychains back. If you’re going to shove religion down my throat, please post that on the doors of your establishment in large, blinking letters so I can decide for myself if I want to endure that all night.
I was raised Catholic. I was a good kid. As hard as it is to believe now, if you had met me in 10th grade and said the word penis in front of me, I would have blushed, gotten flustered and embarassedly admitted that I had never even seen a picture of one, much less a real life one. (As I think 10th graders today still should, but clearly do not.) I went to PSR, and high school theology group (okay, only until 9th grade – we moved my 10th grade year and they didn’t make me find a new group). Sure, I have always had my own viewpoints on religion, and have always been insanely bored by Catholic ritual (and a little creeped out by all the chanting…you want to talk about a cult? HelLOOOO!), but I prayed. I talked religion with people when they brought it up (as in, expressed my viewpoint when asked – I’m not a bible thumper). When the guys in suits got off their bikes and asked if I had accepted Jesus and my Lord and Savior, I always said yes. In short, I was a believer.
I always just ran with the faith idea – you don’t need proof because that’s what faith is. Well, guess what? Just because I say I believe in unicorns doesn’t make unicorns real. That’s pretty much how I feel about the rest of the belief crap. I like to make fun of Scientology because it’s a religion born from a sci-fi book. Well, when I take a step back and reconsider, what is the Bible? Sure, we’re supposed to believe it’s a work of non-fiction, but it was originally written in a language that is now dead (and translated into a form of modern language that has now evolved, thus changing the meanings of many words), passed down for years, filtered through biased sources (*cough* the Vatican *cough*) and then spoon fed to everyone as the word of God. If we’ll believe a man can walk on water, talk to a burning bush and magically create fish, who are we to laugh at others who believe we are possessed by the meandering souls of immortal aliens? Some argue that Scientology was created as a scam to make money…yeah, you know why? Because religion = big bucks. Last time I checked, Jesus got pretty pissed when he found people trying to sell shit in his father’s house of worship…but now it’s okay to have billboards and television commercials promoting church, and to run ads on TVs IN the church that sit on either side of the altar and solicit donations to help the church grow into the biggest in the state? I thought church was about faith and hope and prayer, but now it’s just about money and greed. So, yeah, why not make up a new religion? It’s the new business plan.
Hypocrisy abounds in the world of religion. Not just in Christianity, but in all of them. And religion is extremely patriarchal. Women have no true value other than serving as devoted wives and mothers. So, I’m a sinner because I don’t want to be a mother? I don’t buy that. Suicide bombers die for their religion in the hopes of being greeted by 72 virgins in the afterlife (have you seen that episode of Family Guy? The virgins were all Trekkies and computer nerds - virgins, ha!), yet their wives aren’t allowed to show their ankles in public without being stoned. Each religion claims that you have to follow that exact doctrine to achieve salvation or eternal life. I went to a Unitarian church once. Had the sermon not been all about donating your tax return to the church, I might have gone back. Again, the religion as a business thing really chaps my ass. But I loved that they read from all the major holy books – the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, etc. – and the messages were all the same. If you shave away the politics, the personal gain, the business, you end up with the core – the golden rule, if you will – to treat others the way you would like them to treat you. You can’t tell me that, if I live a good life, help others, give back, but don’t go to church, when I die, I’m condemned. And yet, if I live an evil life, kill people, punt babies, beat kittens, embezzle money and ruin the lives of those around me, but I do go to church and ask for forgiveness when I die, I’ll live for eternity in the land of plenty. Really? That doesn’t add up.
Then you add in the science. I like science. It’s real. It’s factual. It’s tangible. It’s rational. Evolution is real. How can anyone look at the proof and deny it, yet provide no proof of any god and believe vehemently in it? Maybe if religion allowed science to work with it (which I believe it can – time was undefined during Genesis, so why couldn’t seven days and nights really have spanned ages? Just saying.), then I could more readily accept it, but religion is determined to fight science. Why is it so wrong to donate a woman’s eggs to science in the name of curing diseases and healing disabilities? Especially if it’s a woman like me – I am NOT going to use them. Why be wasteful? Stem cell research has the potential to help cure so many things, and if there are people willing to donate to the cause, they should be allowed to. No one tells me I can’t give my cat to a shelter because I don’t want it anymore – and that’s a real, living, feeling creature – so why can they tell me I can’t give my eggs?
I’m not an expert on any of this, nor do I wish to be, but I’m so tired of it all. I’m tired of hearing about people being pissed that their kids’ schools have removed prayer, but it’s okay for government to deny gay couples the legal right to wed because it’s morally objectionable (to who? Oh, yeah. To the people who were pissed about taking God off our money). RELIGION defines marriage as being between man and woman. The Constitution has no such definition, although amendments have been proposed to do just that. How is it okay that religion dictates what the law allows? It’s not okay. Religion should have absolutely no bearing on what our legislative body does.
It is repulsive to me that so much merit was placed on the religious affiliations of the candidates in the last election. I know many, many Christians who go to church but lead morally questionable lives. Just because you are a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist or a member of any religion does NOT mean you are a good person. It apparently DOES mean, however, that you have some consecrated right to judge those around you and tell everyone what they can and can’t do. Fuck that. I want no part of that. I want to live my life, enjoy my life, without carrying around the Catholic guilt. Just typing this makes me feel incredibly guilty.
I have no problem with people wanting to have something to believe in. Whatever that is, God, Allah, Jesus, Buddah, I don’t care. You have that right to choose. And I have the right to choose none of the above. With that comes the right to not be made uncomfortable for making that choice. I can be confused about religion and angry about it. You can think I’m ridiculous for putting so much thought into it. That’s the beauty of having rights, the beauty of why this country was founded. I value diversity. I actually really love learning about religions – they fascinate me. But that doesn’t mean I have to buy into any of them. People cry about how corrupt our government is, but have you ever stopped to consider how corrupt religion is as well? It’s inescapable. The bottom line is this – I try to be a good person. I believe I AM a good person. And that’s enough for me. Keep the rest of that crap away from me. If I want to hear it, I’ll go to church. You can keep your prophet pizza. I’m full.
And just in case you’re not offended yet…