Today, while at work, exhausting things were happening and making me cranky. And some of them have to do with religion.
That should not be, whatsoever where I work, and I like where I work because religion plays no part in what we do. Or at least, it absolutely should not.
But today, it did, and I got mansplained to by some preacher as to why kids act a certain way, and for the sake of being affable I thanked the dude for the work he does with our kids. Because often, religious workers do great things for many kids.
Religion is not all hurt. Religion helped me through a lot when I was younger. I was little Catholic girl, CCD superstar (my nun teacher told my mother I was “brilliant” close to my confirmation), sang in the children’s choir, played in handbells forever and absolutely adored it, and even directed a chime choir when I was in high school. Loved it all. It got me through a lot.
But I grew away from the church when I was in college. There wasn’t one big event that made me throw down my rosary. There were just more questions that came up in my life, and more things that made me realize what kind of person I wanted to be and what kind of person I didn’t want to be. What person I already was, and how I began to realize that maybe said person was incompatible with the church I professed to believe in.
So like I said. In my line of work, which if you take into account the severe lack of writing I’ve been doing here as of late, has taken over my life, religion is supposed to play no part in it.
Growing up in Central Florida, church was everywhere. I watched an MSNBC crime special about a preacher who supposedly called a hitman to kill his wife, and he lived in Orlando. The host of said crime special called CFL “the brass buckle of the Bible Belt of the South.”
Sure, there’s that unfinished building in Altamonte that I would go into, ever, not if you gave me several thousand dollars to do so. But I never knew my home as an overly religious place. Maybe just a place with one dominant religion.
But down south here, there’s a lot more diversity. So I just don’t talk about religion in my job. At all.
And it got talked to me in a really nasty, chauvinist way today. And it pissed me off.
And maybe if I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, it wouldn’t bother me so much. But when the Jesus people left our building today, they did nothing but complain about being here. And a blessed day to you, too.
Back to inadvertently thanking Mr. Mansplainer for Christ.
I’m not bowing down to the dude, I’m just trying to be civil. And dude proceeds to tell me how he’s been saving kids from a gay lifestyle.
Do I think it’s a good idea for 11-13 year olds to be having sex? No. I don’t. I’m not going to promote that to anyone.
But regardless, I know people who knew they were gay years before they’d lost their virginity. (Some people also hold on to their virginity, not only out of prudeness, or religion, or of desperation, but for the sake of self-preservation.) If you’re going to scare the gay out of vulnerable kids, I have a problem with that.
And seeing I live in a gay epi-center (not that it makes me any sort of expert at anything, just some loud girl with an opinion), I have to wonder how much crap my neighbors have been through in their teens. Being told how wrong everything they wanted was. It’s a well-told tale. But I don’t like to think it’s happening in the building in which I work.
In Jesus’s name, no less.
As far as me being religious, it’s not a thing. I’m a straight up agnostic. I have no belief or disbelief. I do believe in science, but I believe in the spirit, as well. I think there are surely things science cannot explain (see the end of Kinsey), but there are way more things that science can explain.
I’m not anti-god. I get along faaaabulously with lots of religious people. There are some atheists I can’t tolerate (particularly preachy ones). It might be worth noting that my husband is an atheist and is a damn do-gooder.
I am sure as hell not a nihilist. I believe in doing good because we’re compelled to do it, and because I care about people in general. This can often be the most effing sanctimonius b.s. anyone can say, but I was raised with care. I care about people because my mother cared about me. She cared about me more than I could ever express to her through any amount of gratitude, and I’m lucky that that’s made me the person I am today.
As for religion, late one night in a Steak’n’Shake diner a few years ago, one of my closest friends laid it out for me: “Punk rock is your religion.”
Maybe not specifically punk as a genre, but the spirit of it. Rock’n’roll. Everything music. That’s how I described my somewhat religious childhood and adolescence, right? By how many ensembles I played in?
And even more so than I worshipped the Pope as a teen, I worshipped Billy Corgan, and for any of his grandiose showboating, his music touched a nerve with me as a teenager, and told me things like this:
my god is subtle and great / she can’t be wounded / by the gossip and the hate / of the frightened / who stuck their heads in the sand
And when I think about this unpleasant exchange that I had, the sort of which I’d been lucky enough to avoid in the pasts, I think of those lyrics. And I don’t need a personal relationship with Jesus, because the calm, patient bassline and even Corgan’s strange falsetto here empowers me. I believe in one love, yeah.
And if you don’t love your fellow man/woman/trans/genderqueer enough as people, then you can’t be part of my religion.
(Also of note, the “Temple of Billy Corgan” was the first website I ever spent way too many hours pouring over. Thanks, Billy, for hastening to my internet addiction, as well!)