God, Faith, and Freedom

The never-ending election of 2012 has given me pause to think about God, faith, and freedom. I have felt since the beginning of this campaign that the religious Christian right is out to get me. Not me personally. I’m too old and insignificant to be worth paying any attention to at all … but anyone like me and certainly, anyone like me still young enough to bear children.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this for a great many years and after all the years and all the thinking, I’ve come back to where I began: I don’t know the Truth and neither do you.

Therefore, I will let my conscience be my guide and do what feels right.

You can believe whatever you want, but you don’t know a single thing more than I do. You believe in God, but you have no proof there is one. What you have is faith.  Faith is not proofit is opinion dressed in fancy clothing. It doesn’t matter how many people believe the same thing you do. A few or many, faith is neither fact nor proof. You believe what you believe because you believe it. You can’t prove anything.

You want certainty, but all you have is faith. You’d like me to buy your faith and accept it as proof, but as it turns out, I’m a hard sell.

UU Church 47


We know nothing. We are the proverbial blind men analyzing the elephant. We think whatever piece of the elephant we feel is the whole elephant but it’s just a piece.
I’ve been dancing around that elephant for years and at one point, I came really close to accepting Christianity. Then wham, along comes this campaign and the bullies from the Christian right decide to try and take all my freedoms away. They figure they can push their agenda through, get a President of their own and whatever I, and people like me want doesn’t matter.
Turns out, we do matter because they lost. Big time.  Not that losing has made them give up. Oh no. They battle on, good Christian soldiers that they are, pushing and shoving and complaining that they are persecuted because they lost. They call it a conspiracy; I call it an election.
Meanwhile, Jesus Christ, the guy on whom the entire Christian thing hinges, wasn’t a Christian. He was a Jew. Not only was he a Jew, but he was a Rabbi. One of my guys. If he dropped back to visit, I’m betting he’d play on my team.

A little history

That being said, when Christians decided that they were special and different from the religion that gave them birth, they proceeded to slaughter us at every opportunity.

Christians have a special enthusiasm for killing in the name of Jesus, who was a pacifist. Never mind the contradiction; it doesn’t have to make sense. During the Crusades, the armies of God marched across Europe murdering every Jew they found, often by rounding up a whole village, locking them in their synagogue, then burning it down with every man, woman, and child inside. When these fabled romantic heroes ran out of Jews, they began to slaughter their fellow Christians with no diminution of enthusiasm.

Marauding Crusaders wiped out entire Christian villages and depopulated provinces while on their way to save Jerusalem from the Infidels. By the time they got to the Holy Land, between their various squabbles and disease, they were significantly reduced in number and didn’t get to kill very many infidels . No matter. They had racked up impressive kill numbers of Jews and other Christians. It’s easy to kill unarmed people. It was harder when they actually encountered Saladin and other leaders who fought back.  Then, blood-lust quenched, and Jerusalem still firmly in the hands of the infidels, the victorious armies wended their way home, raping, pillaging, and killing as they went.

This is the kind of history that has made me wary of embracing Christianity. Forgive me if I detect a degree of ambivalence in how Christians feel about me.

Back to the present

This election was the last straw. I believe everyone should be free to practice their religion and customs in peace. But it’s time to stop worrying about everyone else’s rights and start giving some thought to my own.

When I add current attacks by right-wing fundamentalists to several thousand years of  historical persecution by Christians, I don’t get a warm, fuzzy feeling.

I realized today that I’m weary of the endless war. I’m tired of being bullied. I’m tired of explaining patiently over and over that yes, I believe in choice for women. No, I don’t believe that a 4 week old embryo has the same value or rights as a starving five-year old.

I don’t want prayer in public schools. That’s what churches and other houses of worship are for. I encourage anyone who feel a need to pray to attend one.

People who would refuse food stamps to hungry kids have no right to claim the moral high ground and lecture me on the morality of abortion. Moreover, anyone lacking a uterus should really just shut up. Women do not need to be instructed by men in what do about their own uniquely feminine health issues.

I grew up in the world before Roe versus Wade. I remember the terror of coat hanger abortions, sepsis, and deaths. Lives were lost, lives were ruined. In my opinion, if you don’t have a uterus and a vagina, you have no right whatsoever to tell any woman what to do with her own body. I’ll believe that God opposes abortion when God tells me Himself.

I’m weary of being bulldozed by a Christian majority. I’m tired of having my beliefs belittled and my concerns dismissed.

Fundamentalist Christian bullies have done their co-religionists a serious disservice. They pushed until they drove a lot of us from a passive, relatively sympathetic neutrality to active hostility. Even though their agenda has been soundly rebuffed, they keep pushing. It isn’t going to work. Those of you who are pushing should stop. You are not advancing your cause; you are hurting it.

I want my freedom. Keep your religion out of my life, out of my email, and off my website. Believe whatever you like; I will never interfere. Pray in your own schools. Keep Christ in your Christmas; I’ll try to keep fruitcake in mine.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all of us!

9 thoughts on “God, Faith, and Freedom”

  1. After several years of disaffection, I find myself about to join the local UU church, whose minister is a strict humanist. He believes in many good things, but a god is not one of them. It’s good to feel a sense of community and shared commitment again, without the BS. (Sunday’s musical interlude was a vintage recording of the Stones doing, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. That was a the quintessential UU experience – one I never expected to find in Texas, or at least anywhere outside of Austin.)

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    1. This election was not my turning point, more like the final straws on the overloaded camel. I know it’s not fair to paint everyone with the same brush, but the disease of fundamentalism and self-righteousness is so widespread I can’t feel comfortable around my churchy neighbors. VERY unfortunate that our UU church is and has been in a state of chaos and collapse for more than a decade, since they drove the last pastor out of his mind and out of town. He was cool and I liked him. Now they have no real leadership (but the prettiest Church on the common). Fine if you don’t mind a church with no leadership and virtually no congregation. If they ever get their act together, it would be my first choice. Garry is still much more traditional than I am … good Lutheran lad that he is, but he understands my issues. That’s the thing about Garry: he does NOT judge. And he is deliciously cynical.

      Hope the UUs work well for you. They are usually a really good bunch of people.

      M

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      1. Thought your piece on fundamentalist tyranny was brilliant. Though I can hardly get the noun “church” out in the same breath with my favorite pronoun, “I”, or my second favorite, “my”, it is good to feel a sense of community again, especially here in Texas where it is SO hard to meet like-minded people. I used to dream of retiring to Austin one day, but it appears there may be like minds here as well. Not many – and in fact the UUs here are split, with one group “churched” (but about as BS-free as one can get, I think) and the other more secular.

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        1. For all of us, if we aren’t living in an east or west coast metro area, we are somewhat (maybe very) isolated. I often feel incredibly alone. But this is where we live, so THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET and EMAIL!!!!!

          On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM, Serendipity

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  2. Last night Marilyn discussed most of what is in this blog. It was a passionate discussion as is this blog. My short answer is — I get it. For the decades I worked in television and radio, I had to deal almost daily with the rants and ravings of “Good, God fearing” people. Some of them screamed at me on the phone. Some sent thick, barely legible messages in crayon. Many others were very coherent, literate and cunningly polite. I dealt with them in a civil fashion even if their responses were usually not civil. It is all so ironic. I have been able to deal with religious and political zealots because of whatever beliefs, ethics and concepts I formed as a youngster growing up and involved in many church activities. I stopped attending church on a regular basis as an adult. My excuse used to be work. Now, it’s because I am too lazy to get up Sunday morning. Currently I am a working on a documentary about a local church — its choir, minister and congregation. Surprisingly, I’ve found myself energized by these folks even though I am doing a “job”. I attended a service at the Church yesterday because we were filming and I had to do interviews and some on camera stuff. Business aside, I found myself absorbed in the sermon (A Thanksgiving theme) and enjoyed meeting some of the congregation. I think I may be attending a Thanksgiving Eve Service at the Church where Marilyn and I are members. So, I guess, Religion for me is a personal thing. I try to practice it. I don’t always do it well but I try. As for those God fearing zealots who use social networks and other media as their bully pulpits, I choose to ignore them. Oh, I just remembered something. Ten years ago, after delivering a heart felt eulogy for my Dad, the minister suggested I consider preaching full time. Aye-Men!! Aye-Men!!!

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    1. The politics of religion … the ultimate oxymoron. Our isolation here in the country is sometimes hard to deal with.

      On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM, Serendipity

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  3. Each of us has our beliefs, which guides us throughout our daily lives. You have yours, I have mine. Doesn’t mean either is the right choice or the wrong choice, just the way we are mostly dependent upon how we grew up and the values we maintained as we grew older. I value your opinion as well as others for it is not up to me to be a judge. I will admit I do tire of all the foward after forward after forward of email messages eluding to angels with a ‘special’ surprise one will receive in a few days. Now that is true BS!

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    1. This sort of thing should be private, but it has become highly political. It’s scary. Everyone should have the right to live according to their conscience and culture. To say many of my best friends are Christians doesn’t cover it. My husband is Christian. Probably 90% of my friends are Christians, but we’ve always found common ground. Our similarities have always been more important than our differences. The fundamentalist Christian right has become militant. When power, politics and religion combine, death and destruction follow. I have no problem with religion but I don’t want the government involved.

      How can the same people who say they want less government simultaneously demand religious observance be legislated? Can’t they see the contradiction? Separation of church and state is a terrific idea. We should stick with it. Being a minority is always dicey, but when the majority starts to act like the army of God, watch out. The worst atrocities in history have been perpetrated in the name of God …and somehow, I don’t think God has anything to do with it.

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