Sunday, March 18, 2012

To Stone or Not to Stone? That is (not) the Question.

It's the Lord's Day and I've been thinking about religion a lot lately.  We are living in strange times.

I think I've talked a little before about my spiritual journey on this blog - how I was raised in a secular home but in a religious society - how I longed to be part of the private club - how I joined and then left the club - and how I am now trying to raise my own children in a secular home that exists within an increasingly fundamentalist society.  I'm hoping they won't feel that "longing to belong" that always nagged me growing up.

As homeschoolers, we are even more saturated with religion than the average Texan.  Most people here homeschool for religious reasons.  Even so, we have found a circle of friends who accept us and love us for who we are....some of them are religious and some are not.  But the Culture of Homeschooling here is definitely religious in nature.  There is a definite feeling of families homeschooling to protect their children from what they see as evil secular influences (although honestly, the public schools here aren't exactly free-thinking hot spots), or to raise Christian soldiers or prepare for the Rapture or because they were "called" to homeschool by God Himself.  Families homeschooling for these reasons do not tend to be a very welcoming bunch. 

For example:  On Facebook I belong to a group that consists of local homeschoolers.  They post activities, seek advice, share information, etc.  And the general assumption among them is: If You're Homeschooling You're Christian.  But the group, itself, is secular.

Recently, a woman posted about a field trip she was organizing at a trampoline place.  It was a great price and sounded like something Camille and Jasper would want to do - so I read the info.  This caught my eye:

Disney music will be played. There will be no secular music!!

Do I need to point out the obvious error here?  No?  OK.  I won't.

Next it said:  Invite all the Christian Homeschoolers you know!

People immediately began asking know...normal questions like dress code questions.  They wanted to make sure their sons would not witness shoulders, etc.  Because that would drive them mad, I guess.  Make them begin raping and pillaging and plundering - and it would be all because of those bared shoulders or the possible glimpse of cotton panties up the leg of a jumping girl whose mother didn't think to dress her modestly for a trampoline place.  We are all Eve, after all.  We're is our responsibility to make sure we do not cause evil thoughts in the minds of men with our nasty, filthy shoulders.  Wait...I've digressed.

So I posted a simple question.  "Is this field trip open to all homeschoolers or is it just for Christians?"


All posting about dress codes and secular music ceased.  If we're all very quiet, maybe she'll just go away.

Later, I was told that the original poster responded with four comments, one of which began with, "I'm not trying to start a faith war, just plan a field trip..."

Before I could respond that I also was not trying to start a faith war, just wanted to know if we were welcome to come jump on the trampolines because it's an hour-long drive for me and if we were going to be asked to leave when we got there because we don't go to church I wanted to know that up front - well, before I could say that - she'd deleted all of her comments.  I didn't get to see them, but I'm betting that each one became more and more defensive and hysterical.

Needless to say, we didn't go on the field trip.

So this woman had been totally, completely, and thoroughly blown out of the water by me.  She hadn't expected me. I'd surprised her.  How can you be constantly worried about the throngs of evil atheists who are waging a war against you and persecuting you and trying to take away your rights - how can you claim to exist in the middle of this Huge Majority of Evil People - and then freak out when you actually hear from one?  Either we're everywhere you look or we're not.  And all I wanted to do was take my kids to jump on trampolines.  It was way more likely that your kids were going to try and indoctrinate mine than the other way around. 

I have really nice kids, by the way.

So that irritated me.  And then this irritated me:

A young man who had recently announced on Facebook that Liberals Are Hitler, took offense when someone else (not me) made a joke about something from Leviticus in regards to Marriage Equality.  The post didn't call anyone out, didn't use insulting language, and it was obviously meant to be humorous.  The young man took it as a personal attack on his faith.  A conversation ensued about what from the Bible was to be taken literally and what was not.  A man not lying with a man IS to be taken literally.  Other things, obviously, are not.  Like not wearing mixed fibers, for example. This is all nonsensical to me, but I can relate to how it might not be nonsensical to someone else.  Like I totally GET the fact that people have a right to their faith, and a right to live their lives according to their faith, as long as their faith doesn't dictate that they make me do the same (which is obviously where the problem currently lies in our country).  Anyway, I brought up the stoning of adulterers and how the Bible dictates that we should, you know, do that....and I knew full well that this young man would have a Biblical explanation for why we shouldn't stone people in this day and age.  He was not a casual Bible-Reader - it was obvious from his language and the lengthy discourse that he was very educated about his faith and the Bible.

I was right.  He launched into 3 main reasons why we don't stone adulterers.  They were detailed and involved a deep understanding of Torah and Talmud and Rabbinic Law.  He went to a lot of trouble to explain all of this to me - and honestly - I appreciated it because at least he could make a valid argument, as opposed to someone who really doesn't understand his own faith while he's trying to defend it. 

But after he made all of the points, all I could think of was:
I think we shouldn't bash people's heads in with rocks until their brains ooze out their ears because it's MEAN and amoral, not because we are living outside the borders of Israel without a jury of Biblically Ordained Aaronic priests. 

People wonder how atheists can have a moral compass...yet if you read the Bible, you wonder how religious people can.  Obviously, religion isn't the cause of morality, and often, it is the cause of atrocities.  And while I know some great religious people who walk the walk - they would be good people regardless - they're not good BECAUSE of their faith. 

I'm a good person and I'm raising good people.  We will not exclude you from coming on our field trips.  We will not try take your faith away, we just ask that you not force it on us (and I realize that the basis of many Christian faiths is spreading the Good News and saving people and such - and so yeah - makes it hard on folks like me for you to live out your faith). 

And I don't need to look up the answer in a book and ponder it at length when asked if people should stone other people.  My moral compass is just too firmly grounded for that.


  1. I have often entertained the thought of tossing a rock at someone who starts with the whole gay thing. I don't want to seriously hurt anyone, but am I bad because the idea of some denim jumper clad righteous homeschooler sporting a bruise above her eye because someone REALLY took the Bible literally and tried to stone her is tremendously funny to me?

    Yeah, call the grammar police, that last sentence was a crime.

    I have no problem with anyone's religion until they either try to make it MY religion or they suggest that my lack of religion makes it unsafe for my kids to be around theirs.

    Of course, all that shit's in the past, my kids are grown up, and thankfully we found a TON of secular/atheist/Buddhist/other homeschoolers to hang out with.

    You might like this post:

  2. I think you summed up beautifully what we were talking about on Friday. I love your last paragraph.

  3. I just wanted to say that I agree with this post 100%!

    I'm also lucky to live, as does Ami - in fact, within a dozen miles of her - in an area where there are plenty of secular homeschoolers. Even though we've strayed from homeschooling circles due to Davan's overwhelming circus obsession, it's still a reflection of the area as a whole - plenty of accepting folks around from both sides of the coin.

  4. Ok , you win, this is more than enough to chew on to cover the missing posts for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Let's say it scares me now and then hearing and reading about what is going on over there in your country. Yeah to all of you for standing up and remaining up with all the pressure around you.

  5. Amen, sister.
    Been there, done that and the Christians wouldn't let me have a t-shirt because it would let their kids see my shoulders. :)
    For a post in similar theme, you might enjoy

  6. No DOUBT. We live in an area where we have a lot more secular homeschoolers, but it's still hard to find an organized homeschool group that isn't Christian based. I guess the Christians are more motivated than us lazy secular homeschoolers. I WAS tempted to join a group and pretend to be Christian until I realized they taught Creationism.


  7. Once again you've dropped off the face of the earth.


  8. Well, hopefully it helps to know you are not alone. Looks like a lot of us agree here. I just wish there were more of us that did, especially in the homeschool arena. I enrolled my son back in public school this year because I am lazy and it just felt like too much trying to find the right affordable non brainwashing curriculum. Of course sending him to public school is just as disheartening as even though there is SUPPOSED to be a separation of church and state there is a lot of that "churchy" ..."one of us" influence there too. He actually gets bullied pretty frequently by his "christian" friends while the predominantly "christian" teachers and admin turn a blind eye, because well..actually I don't know why. I guess because they can. Because this is Texas so they are the majority? Maybe it is because they think if you're going to be a heathen you should learn to accept that you are simply never going to be God's favorite? Who knows.But I appreciate you're take on it and for being brave enough to tell it like it is. AND for doing it so entertainingly. Your entries always make me smile and make me feel a little less alone.

  9. Ugh... that should read ..."YOUR TAKE" NOT You' I hate when I do that. Sorry.