A few weeks ago my sister and I were talking on the phone about religion, and Christianity in particular, since she recently started going to a Lutheran church in her neighborhood. Midway through our dialogue, she suddenly asked me, "why are you so angry?" And I was a little taken aback by her question.

Ironically, I think living in the so-called Bible Belt for the past four and half years, has really hardened me against religion and Christianity in particular.

Let me say this: I love religious mythologies and rituals. I really do. And I find the stories and beliefs of all religions to be fascinating. I also firmly embrace our country's freedom to practice religion - ANY religion - even if I, personally, think it's all hooey. It's called Liberty, and it's a good thing.

The problem is, the most vocal Christians down here (and I say "most vocal" because obviously there are some really wonderful people here as well who subscribe to Christianity), are so incredibly intolerant of any deviation from their personal beliefs, it's astounding...and infuriating.

You may remember this post I wrote about the Secular Life organization here in Nashville and the heat they took over the completely innocuous and inoffensive bulletin board promoting their social organization.

This brand of aggressive, hostile Christianity seems to penetrate every aspect of life down here and was completely foreign to me for the most part before moving here.

On July 14th, in a college town about 30 minutes south of Nashville, the Christians are gathering together in, basically, a hate rally against the construction of a mosque. Here's the initial outcry. And details on the protest. Make sure you read the comments on this one - some real doozies both by Christians and Muslims alike.

While I don't think Islamic beliefs are any more significant or valid than Christian beliefs, they ARE allowed to worship here in peace. It's in the Constitution.

So while it may seem as though I am mad as hell at religion, I'm just frustrated by the hostility, prejudice, and downright meanness of the religious atmosphere that permeates this region.

On a bright note, I've heard there is a counter-protest being organized to protest the, uh, protesters.


Mars Girl said...

Unsolicited advertisement for Unitarian Universalism: This is why I love my faith. Cuz it's not really a faith, per se. I mean, we ascribe to 7 principles. But we can borrow all the good parts from every religion. And we have the rituals. Our services are very similar to the kind done on Sunday mornings everywhere throughout the country. Without all the God stuff and usually involving some sort of intellectual discourse on a topic. Plus, several people in our congregation are atheist. A lot of people start going to a UU church when they have children, no religion, and feel the need to give their child some sort of "faith" base. We have great, smart children in our church because our programs with the youth are so great--having them explore their own feelings about religion and sexuality.

Anyway, I've been so happy since I've found UUism. It's brought balance to my life. And I describe myself as an agnostic with "spiritual tendencies" (I want to believe there's more to life than this, but at the end of the day, I really kind of think this is it.)

On the subject of hate comments attached to articles, I was JUST SAYING this week that I think one of the downfalls of the internet is letting any Joe post comments to newspaper articles. My church recently has been looking to purchase the property of a defunct country club (we're running out of space), and someone posted a letter in the opinion column suggesting that they did not want a "church of that type" (meaning, one that welcomes gay couples, transgendered people) in their backyard. And, then, the idiotic comments ensued... Not to mention the idiotic comments that followed the original article about the topic. Egads. It really makes me realize that I'm surrounded by idiots...

In the past, I've also witnessed disparaging comments against cyclists posted to articles about a cyclist's death in a motor accident... (mostly of which were blaming the cyclist for being on the road, saying they deserved to get hit by a car, or other idiots saying that they purposely drive close to cyclists to intimidate them). I think it's horrible that any old a-hole can post a comment to a newspaper article... What happened to the days when you had to submit your letter to the editor???

cathryn said...

I am intrigued by UU. I know that there are two UU churches (? are their buildings called churches?) here in Nashville and have considered checking it out.

And I totally agree that article commenting has gotten out of hand. The internet is such a "safe" place to voice hate, it's become the norm. Sadly.