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.