A few years ago, I came out to my parents.
It was during the Christmas season, a period of time where I head back to Chicago for a week to, ostensibly, put on five pounds of roast beef and beer. But that year, there was an albatross hovering over the debauchery: Christmas Mass.
Since my youth, I'd labeled myself as a “Catholic.” Not because I had any fervent belief in Jesus, but because that was what happens on the south suburbs of Chicago. You go to Catholic grade school, you go to church on Sundays, you become an altar server, you dress up for Christmas mass—obligatory actions and traditions that become a part of your life organically, without consent.
But after living on my own for a bit, and noticing that the most insane people on the planet are also the most religious, I felt it time to officially part ways with the church. My first action through inaction would be not going to that year's Christmas Mass. Not attending would be simple, telling my parents why would be not.
“Mom,” I lobbed out. “I have something to say.”
“I've been thinking about it for a while and, well, it's something I have to get off my chest, finally, once and for all.”
“I don't think I can go to church this year.”
“I don't believe in God.”
“Oh, no problem.”
The instant relief that accompanied that dismissal, while nice, was dulled with the monumental obstacle still looming: my father.
I'd gone to mom first because she was seemingly the more spiritually open of the two. I came to this opinion because I think I saw her pick up a book by the Dalai Lama or something once? And, more logically, she couldn't beat me up. (I hope.) So when we finally met up with my dad, I was still all nerves. Am I going to be a terrible embarrassment? Is he going to feel that all those years were a waste of—
“Rocky, your son has something to tell you.”
Before I was could even steel myself, mom just put me out there to face the spotlight. Caught off-guard, I instinctively rapid-fired out:
“Oh, OK,” he said. I don't think he even turned away from what he was doing.
And that was that.
Now, clearly, not all coming out events are going to go as smoothly—I was lucky. But if you're in a place where all of your friends, family, postal workers, drug store clerks, teachers, firefighters, whoever-the-hell all see each other at mass, it's going to feel like you're alone. But you're not. There's a ton of us. Sometimes, enough at one place to actually march on Washington. And we actually have enlightening conversations, listen to good music, and see movies that don't only feature Kirk Cameron. So come on out, atheists and agnostics in the most podunk two-mule towns in the country—there's plenty of room at the party.
On to this week's roundup!
- A whistleblower lawsuit against Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world's largest Christian network, led to the unveiling of all sorts of wonderful facts, including that the founders used $100,000 of the network's funds to buy a motor home for their dogs.
- Pat Robertson, once again, equated homosexuality to demonic possession.
- “[The clergyman] explained to me, quite sincerely, he had been hanging curtains naked in the kitchen when he fell backwards on to the kitchen table and on to a potato,” says the nurse. “But it's not for me to question his story.” (Yes this story, as noted in the link, is from 2008. But who cares? It's awesome.)
- Police went raid crazy in France and arrested 19 suspected Islamic militants.
- This week in Santorum: A boy at a bowling alley campaign rally in Wisconsin went to grab a pink ball until Rick stopped him, saying, “friends don't let friends use pink balls.” Because, you know, pink is for girls, and girls are lesser than boys, because the Bible says so, Amen.
- In South Korea, a pastor who “had a small congregation that was not recognized by other churches” and his wife were arrested for starving and beating three of their kids to death in an attempt to cure them of demonic possession.
- This original, hand-drawn in pastels, 18''-by-24'' painting of Jesus holding the now-in-heaven Whitney Houston sold on Etsy. You, meanwhile, found your new desktop background.
- Clashes between the Yemen army and al-Qaeda left about 30 dead.
- Remember during the 2008 election when racist Republicans constantly claimed Obama was a “secret Muslim” (while also, annoyingly, claiming he hated America because what his Christian preacher said)? Those assholes are back.
- 65% of American conservatives now do not have a “great deal of trust in science.” That's an all-time high.
- This post entitled “20 Facts about Kirk Cameron that Might Give You Seaver Fever” made the Internet rounds last week, and boy, was it a doozy. Among the facts: Cameron's own religious conversion was the result of Dudley Moore's brain disorder, and The Big Cam gives the big thumbs up to anal sex, as long as it's between straights.
- The ongoing insurgency in northern Mali took a turn as the rebel group Ansar Dine (which means “Defenders of Faith”) took control of a few cities where they eventually plan to start enforcing sharia law.
- One person was killed and over 120 injured during this year's Land Day protests, the annual “celebration” where Palestinians go ape shit and give Israel the collective middle finger because of an ownership dispute claim for an ugly, small piece of land in the Middle East.
- And finally, our Hero of the Week: Matthew Vines, a gay Christian from Kansas who spent the last two years researching if the Bible actually says that homosexuality should be condemned. The result is a video that you need to watch. Yes, it's long (over an hour) but afterwards you'll be able to destroy any argument with a religious-minded bigot you have a chance to have. That's value, right there.
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