9/19/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Klym ~
The community I grew up in is just 15 miles south down the road from where I now reside. That community is in the North Central Texas area and it is the most backwards thinking, non-progressive place you can imagine. Even for Bible Belt standards, it is astoundingly behind the times. I would say they are stuck, perhaps, in the 1850's?
I grew up attending a hell-fire and brimstone Southern Baptist Church there that still occupies the better part of a huge city block. If you don't attend church there or at the other huge Baptist church in town, you are NOT part of the IN crowd in that community. It's amazing how much difference 15 miles north can make---while the town I live in now is mostly Christian, our mayor is very forward thinking and religiously liberal. When the same-sex marriage law was passed, he supported it out loud and clearly stated that our city clerks would abide by the law.
The mayor of my hometown, on the other hand, stated emphatically in their newspaper that prayers would continue to be spoken at their city council meetings. When asked if an atheist or a Wiccan priest could lead a prayer at the meetings, his response was, "No, because _______ is a Christian community." When I read that article yesterday, my blood began to boil. I couldn't believe that the mayor of any town could be so hateful and bigoted and yet claim to be a Christian. Why do these things continue to astound me? I should have expected it, but seeing his words in black and white, in print, just infuriated me.
All last night and this morning I stewed about his statement. He also claimed that Christians are under attack in America. Oh, puhleeze.....I am beyond weary of hearing that from the Christian Right. Boo hoo hoo....poor persecuted people....waaaa, waaaaa, waaaaaa.....call a waaaambulance.
So, I wrote a letter to the editor of my hometown paper AND I signed my name for all to see. Yes, I signed my name---maiden AND married name, so all my classmates who live in my hometown will not wonder who wrote this letter. They will KNOW that I am not a Christian anymore. I came out for all to see. Well, that is if my letter is printed in the newspaper, which I hope it is.
Here is my letter:
To Mayor ______:
In the ________ issue of the______________ you insisted that a prayer be spoken at the beginning of all City Council meetings even though this is breaking the law of separation of church and state. You also denied anyone but a Christian the right to pray at a council meeting, claiming that ________ is a Christian community. I grew up in ______ and I now live in _________, but I am ashamed that someone of your status and position would make such statements. Do you honestly believe that every single resident in ________ is a Christian? I grew up in ________ attending ______Baptist Church and I am no longer a "Christian". I am a Unitarian Universalist, if you must have a label. I have friends who live in _______ who are humanists, atheists, agnostics, pagans, and many other "religions". As far as I know, they have the same right to reside in _______ as you do. Furthermore, if you truly live by the Christian Bible, what about the verses where Jesus says to love your neighbor as yourself? Obviously you don't consider your atheist or Wiccan neighbors to be worthy of your so-called "Christian" love.
And what about the following statement that Jesus made in Matthew 6:6 of the Bible:
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6"But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
As for Christians being under attack in this country, that is a pure lie. This country was founded on freedom of religion and you can worship any god of your choosing or no god at all, but you CANNOT deny others the same right, and you CANNOT pray at a government function. Period. It's the law. Our founding fathers, who were mostly Deists, set up our DEMOCRACY this way so that we would not become a THEOCRACY, which is what they fled from.
For all my Muslim, Jewish, pagan, atheist, humanist, and agnostic friends in ______ and elsewhere in ______ County, I am sorry that you have a mayor who represents your community in such a non-inclusive way. Perhaps you should elect a different leader for the future---one who loves, welcomes, and embraces all people of all faiths or no faith at all. "Religion" should build bridges between people, not walls.
End of letter
I am sooo tired of hiding, and that article in my hometown paper made me decide that I need to be proud of who I am and what I believe. I am a good person, damn it, and it's time for good people like me to come out of the woodwork and be counted. Just because I don't believe in Bible God doesn't mean my opinions are worthless. So, there. I did it. If you read of a woman being tarred and feathered in north central Texas, it will probably be me!