Thursday, March 11, 2010

One More Brick

Many ex-Christians get questions from baffled people still immersed in religion about how they became an “ex.” What led them to decide that they were no longer Christians? I have heard varying answers and they are all as different as the people answering them. For me, it was not one thing, as you can see from this blog, but more of a journey in steps. Every step I took away from Christianity though, I felt a bit more light and a bit more free. Ironically, this is how Christians say they feel when the find god. I found that the more I learned the truth about religion, the more relieved I became that the little voice of reason has always been right; I was just not paying attention. I found it liberating to let go of the guilt, worry about after-life, worry about being "left behind" and all the other things that go along with Christianity.

I like answering questions with one quick, easy answer. Maybe I got that from being a Baptist: “The bible says so” or “humans are not always meant to know god’s plan for us” or, along those lines, “We just have to have faith that god knows what is best.” These sound like answers if you are not a questioner, but after a while they sound like NON- answers and I began to think they were lame when I was a teenager. So, I began to see a few things wrong with religion, which made me wonder what else was wrong with religion. For a long time, while I was raising my kids, I did not have time to think about god or religion; I just knew that I was NOT going to church anymore. (Later, in another blog, I will tell a story about how I attempted, one last time, to get back into the church) However, I did not label myself agnostic, atheist or anything really, I just did not think about it.

One of the many events that I witnessed in the good old bible-belt that gave me a huge push away from the chrisitian church and everything it stands for was the story about the Fleming Island High School senior who was not allowed to wear a tuxedo in her yearbook picture At the heart of this story is homophobia, discrimination, intolerance and outright arrogance.

Read Story here:
 Short Version of the Story
 Longer More Detailed Version of the Story

Unfortunately, I know Sam Ward, the principal of this school very well. I worked there as a teacher two years after this happened. He firmly believes that his religion is the only right one. He runs the school like a Nazi camp and he is one of the most evil, rude, close-minded people I know. The only reason he would not allow this girl to wear a tuxedo in the picture is because he KNEW she was a lesbian. Even though 200 people showed up to support her, Kelli was not allowed to have her picture in the yearbook. I was working for a newspaper at the time of this story and I was asked to write about it for the paper. I naively believed I could write a story in support of Kelli Davis. I found out I was wrong. So, I quit my job at the newspaper. The editor of the paper wanted me to say that students nowadays need to know how to conform and how to follow dress code (as you can see from the article, there was no written dress-code for senior yearbook pics, just a tradition). I refused to write anything like that. I always taught my kids (and students when I taught at Fleming Island High School) that changes cannot be made in the world by conforming. If something is wrong, we need to stand up and say it is WRONG!

While this story was big in the Clay County news, I heard so many chrisitians run their mouths about Kelli and how she needed to be saved, turn from her “evil” ways, repent, dress like a “girl” etc… Even though I had seen Christians become evil first hand, I was blown away by how much they bullied Kelli because of her sexual orientation and the fact that she stood up for herself. I was proud of her! She had to deal with so much hate, arrogance and meanness, not just from her classmates, but from the principal of her own school, someone she should have been able to count on to protect her!

Many people saw Kelli as a rebellious teen who was just trying to break the rules. One woman, Karen Gordon, was quoted saying "When uniformity is compromised, then authority no longer holds." I have no doubt that this woman is a christian, the kind who tell their church members, “We cannot question god or the bible, but submit our wills to him.” In this extremely religious area, where most people just assume you are christian, Kelli had to walk the halls at school and be called “dumb fucking dyke” and I am sure many other rude comments by students who had heard their own “christian” parents bad-mouthing Kelli.
When are we going to learn that questioning things that are wrong is a GOOD thing? When are christians going to stop being so judgmental, evil, rude, hateful and intolerant of others? Although I had thought that perhaps the churches I had grown up in were extreme, I found that most christian are NOT good, kind, loving people. So, for me, this incident added one more brick to the wall I had building between me and “god.” If this was what god was about, I wanted nothing to do with him!

P.S. Sam Ward still sits his big fat ass in his cushy office at FIHS. I am sure many teachers and parents will jump for joy when he is no longer spreading his poison to high school students.

Disclaimer: I purposely do not capitalize religious words. I don't think of them as proper nouns. Whatever!

10 comments:

  1. This is such a sad story Lori. It is even sadder that the principal is still running that school years later.

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  2. I'm not surprised that you reject Christianity, Lori. Based on your story and what I've recently heard many so-called "Christians" say I totally agree with you.

    For me the problem is less "Christianity". I think the real problem is the institution of the church and the people who are members. They suddenly feel strong and safe in that group and think they're entitled to tell others what to do.

    I have not found a church which matches my very simple definition of Christianity - that of following the teachings of Christ. If I look at what we know about him and what he did, I feel I can call myself a Christian. He welcomed those who were minorities over those in authority. He taught us to love and accept our fellow human beings. He got killed because he wouldn't bow to the rulers of the time. I have no problem with that.

    Never mind all those churches and interpretations of the bible which have grown over time - Christ would be the first to reject all that, I believe.

    People like that principal should be made to walk in their victims' shoes - if they could feel what it's like to be treated like dirt, MAYBE they would begin to understand that what they're doing is wrong. MAYBE. But you won't see me holding my breath.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  3. One of my best friends took off his shirt and carried roses like the girls in his grad picture. For that he was not allowed at the graduation ceremony because they refused to show his picture to the crowd. I don't know if our principle did that on the grounds of religion but it was discrimination for sure.

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  4. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700015734/ACLU-sues-over-Mississippi-schools-canceled-prom.html

    It does not stop there. Did you hear about this story out of Alabama.

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  5. Serena, Thanks for stopping by! I always welcome your views on here. Sam Ward would not even know how to fit his feet into someone else's shoes, let alone walk in them! But great advice for sure!

    Melodie, That is just so sad and wrong! Either way, it is just stupid to do things like that to teenagers! Why not find the ones who are selling drugs at school, beating each other up, or acting like shit-heads and disrupting the class? They need to leave people alone who are hot hurting anyone else!

    Courtney, Yes, I have heard about the girl(Constance McMillen) who wanted to bring her girlfriend to the prom and was not allowed. That makes me soooo mad! I am tired of schools being allowed to do things like that. Have you seen the Ellen show with Constance? That is why I love my Ellen so much. ;-) I am sure that this principal is much like Sam Ward. He/she? stands behind their shield of religion and uses their beliefs to make decisions for public schools. Constance is an amazing example of how we all need to be! Even though she is obviously shy, she stood up for what was right. This is the only way we are going to change things! I love you Courtney!

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  6. yet another reason to homeschool :)

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  7. you can't be a christian one week and something else the next.. aparently you we're never a christian

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  8. Dear "jesusmyjoy,"

    YOU have NO right to tell me that I was never a christian before. That statement is yet another reason why I no longer am one. So glad to have gotten away from hypocritical, judgemental arrogant people who think they are entitled to tell someone else what they did/did not do/do not believe. If you had read my whole blog, you would see that I was indeed a very good "christian." Now, I am just so glad I have gotten out and away from that shallow kind of thinking.

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    Replies
    1. Actually jesusmyjoy can, it's the first amendment. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying whether jesusmyjoy is right or not I haven't been able to read your whole post or much of the comments yet

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  9. JesusMyJoy, I am a Christian who's known Lori for a couple years. Her and I have had some interesting discussions over the years because we disagree on most things spiritual. But I respect her because if you'd taken the time to read her blogs you'd realize that people have treated her horribly in the name of Christianity & she is using these blogs to try & find a way to heal. It saddens me-as a Christian-to see people such as you pass judgement like you did without really trying to understand where she's coming from. People that do what you did are the EXACT reason people are running from Christianity. I wish more Christians got that.

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