Friday, August 5, 2016

After the Love is Gone

            I was hopeful. I was scared. I thought I was free. I thought leaving the church was going to end all of the abuses that went with it. I slept in on Sunday, I happily ignored everything that came from any pastors, I stopped looking over my shoulders, and really started to dig into this whole mess called religion and faith. I started deconstructing my faith completely and ended up an atheist.
            What happened next really blew my mind. I was completely hoping to be utterly free from the abuse I had endured from the church and its members. This was my expectation and desire. However, the persecution from the church was just beginning. First off, my friends left me nearly wholesale. I love the notable exceptions very much. Secondly, in communities where church hurt was discussed, my atheist posts were coming under fire. Thirdly, I was being called out in public. Fourthly, I am being told I have no morals because I no longer adhere to Judaic Law
            My friends from church were my family. I watched their kids, they watched mine, I filled their freezers, took them meals, bought them groceries, and showed up anytime I was invited. I did my part to really live out the Christian faith that taught me to consider my fellow Christians as part of my family. I worked hard at it. I wanted them all to feel like they were in my tribe and my heart. The minute I stopped believing and expressed doubt, they left me completely alone. Again, save the few who stayed that I can count on one hand that proved to me beyond shadow that they truly are ride or die friends. To you guys, I love you.
            I joined groups of mixed faiths. Some Christians, some agnostics, and some atheists comprised the groups. I was invited to share my journey into the brain sheer the that is leaving the church and for many our religion. Things were going very well and I thought I might have found new homes. Then the Christians started in on my posts. I was so hurt because I felt like I was in church again. Yet, these were the groups where they were some of the only people who knew intimately what leaving felt like. I slowed way down on those groups and showed hesitation.
            I started getting public notice. I went to the Indiana State Fair and saw that some really great ladies donated the time and supplies to do a face painting booth where 100% of the profits went straight back to the kids. I wanted some face paint and I love making donations. I looked at the wall and saw that I could get my face framed with rainbow hearts. RFRA (You know, Mike Pence’s right to discriminate against gays law?) had been passed, then been shamed globally, and them edited to say, “Discrimination really isn’t ok.” So, I put the rainbow hearts on my face in a show of solidarity. As soon as I stepped out of the booth I heard an old woman’s voice ring out from a church booth, “YOU ARE GOING TO HELL, YOU QUEER LOVER!!” All I could think to say was, “THEN I’LL SEE YOU THERE, YOU OLD SINNER!!” I kept walking while she sputtered. Truly if you want to try living as an atheist, wear a Christian novelty shirt for a week, then the very next week, wear a shirt that simply says, “Atheist” on the front of it. I would love it if you would report back to me your findings.
              This very week, I came under fire from my family. I divorced my husband of 17 and a half years because the marriage just could not be repaired. We went to counselling; I considered the kids. It just did not work out. I filed in January. For me, that was the absolute end. I had counted to three and said my piece it was done. Very soon after, I fell in love. Now, He lives in England and I in the USA, so, by nature, we have to take it slowly. The emotions grew between us and I found myself on a plane to England while my ex and children went to the beach in July. I stayed with my love and I loved him. Upon my return, I found myself very much so judged. A family member of mine yelled at me in front of my children that because I had loved the man I am now engaged to be married to, I have no more morals. She said that it was proof I have no morals—loudly—in front of my own children. In that moment, I removed her emotionally from my life. Yes, my own and real family has now turned their back.
               In conclusion, I will say that I never once experienced persecution as a Christian. My rights were never taken away and I was never once put down for my faith here in the United States of America. The first time in my life when I was called names and systematically attacked for my beliefs is when I stopped having faith and became an atheist. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. 


  1. As a Canadian (much more secular culture) all I can say is, Whaaaaa?? I mean seriously, hate has been so normalized that I think to some it's become the opposite and therefore proof of love. They seem to think that by hating the wicked that they love God. We'll just leave Jesus out of this conversation because he had some strange ideas about poor people and sluts.

    Somewhere in the wood in Canada a tired old and slightly grumpy man raises his hand to his face and sighs.

    1. It is my every damn day here in Lafayette, Indiana.