|From the Oatmeal comic "How to Suck at Your Religion"|
Although this entry is inspired by Kim Davis (thanks, Kim, you kooky gal!), it is not specifically about her. I’m tired of her, aren’t you? So much for that 15 minutes. Much ado has been made about her four previous marriages and some of the nasty details about her life. It turns out that she is a recent convert to Christianity. I’m not going to judge her for her previous mistakes; we’ve all made them. I do think it’s a shame that she has decided that her religion prevents her from having empathy for others. It really shouldn’t work that way. I prefer kindness over condemnation, as well as abiding by the law of the land. Her attitude is really kind of pathetic. Sorry you’re such a dupe, Kim.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about recent converts. I’ve had my own experience with that, and honestly, aren’t they just the worst? I am not at all surprised that she is new to Christianity.
My ex-husband got religion at a late age...I’m going to say he was maybe 30, or in his early 30s? Well, you’d think that he was the first person in history to find out about Christianity or to read the Bible. He had that same sort of fervent, holier-than-thou attitude that I see in Kim Davis. He had a dismissive attitude towards me and my thoughts on it, because he decided that he knew more about it than I did because he was fervent and he was studying. This despite the fact that I was raised in a very religious home and attended an apostolic evangelical church (just like the religion Kim Davis converted to). I spent my entire youth going to church services, every Sunday and sometimes on Wednesday. I learned my Bible verses in Sunday school like a good little girl and got a Bible with my name embossed on it for my efforts.
In other words, I was not ignorant about religion. In fact, I knew quite a bit about what was in the Bible. That didn’t matter one bit to him. Because he was new to it and was on fire about it, he obviously knew more about it than I did. When he would toss scripture at me, I’d come right back with a discussion about it. Even then, I was questioning the dogma and learning that nothing is black and white. As the Monkees sang, only shades of gray. But he stuck with the interpretations of his Baptist church, and as far as I know, is still deeply involved.
I did mention that he is my ex-husband, right?
I suppose that it happens with anyone who discovers something new, whether it’s religion or lack of religion or the joys of...I don’t know...surfing. I understand that people get enthusiastic about things, and I certainly feel that enthusiasm and passion for things that I care about.
What I try not to do, however, is dictate to others about my passions. Don’t like “The Walking Dead”? Fine. Don’t watch it. Don’t dig Duran Duran or the Stones? Fine. Don’t listen to them. What people like my ex and Kim Davis don’t seem to comprehend is that not everyone believes the same way they do. They cannot use their belief system to deny the rights of others.
My ex was determined that if our marriage was to work, I had to believe exactly the same way he did, and be as involved in the church as he was. That wasn’t going to happen. I am my own person and have my own thoughts on things. I couldn’t continue in that kind of a relationship and I filed for divorce.
Kim Davis decided that she would not participate in the law of the land, she denied services to people who rightfully asked for them, and beyond that, she refused to allow anyone in her office to fulfill their duties as employees of the state.
There is a reason I divorced my first husband, and there is a reason Kim Davis is in jail.
Being religious does not have to mean being intolerant. I know people who are believers but who are compassionate and caring and understand that we’re all on this planet together. If you are using your religion to deny the rights that our Constitution grants to others, or to condemn others for their own beliefs, you, as the Oatmeal says, suck at your religion.