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do unto others...
why i'm sick of being the bigger person
by katherine l (aka clevertitania) (@CleverTitania)

A few weeks back, my sister and I were driving back into town from a work trip (her work not mine, I just tagged along). As we turned a corner to head towards her house, we saw a man standing on the corner with a sign. The sign was for a local church, and threw out a bible quote. I don't remember which one it is, but I'm pretty sure it was a commandment, since I vaguely recall it starting with "Thou shall not." But the quote isn't what made me, and my sister, angry. What made me angry was this; if I stood on a corner with a sign that touted agnosticism, or Wicca back when I was into that, I'd be screamed off the corner.

So can someone explain to me why the only people allowed to be sensitive in this country are Christians? Why don't my feelings matter when we get into these big national debates about freedom of religion versus 'sensitivity'? Because I'm getting pretty sick and tired of being sensitive to them when none of them seem sensitive to others.

Now sure, there are exceptions. There are wonderful Christians, who are incredibly sensitive to the fact that the whole world doesn't believe in their scripture. But for many supposedly conscientious Christians, it's a little like the Stepford Book Club suggesting to their lone Jewish member, "Your pine cone snowman could be Jewish, just add a beanie." It's patronizing, at best. Do you have any idea how many good Christians have told me they respect my right to not share their views, but they're going to pray I'll find my way to Jesus some day? How insensitive is that?

If you are a Christian (or even one of those people completely apathetic to religion), you probably think this shouldn't be insulting. After all, isn't it nice you want to pray for me and want me to find the happiness you've found with 'the lord'? But let me ask you this? What if I said that I'd keep hoping you'll come to your senses and find the happiness I've found in not believing in any deity which purports to tell me to live my life by his rules - some of which even countermand my own views of right and wrong - or I'll be punished? Wouldn't you be insulted?

See, here's the problem not only with the Christian base of this country, but with its base in our our political process (primarily represented by the Religious Right). They think that the rest of us just don't get, and we're just waiting for the spirit to suddenly fill us one day. They think that we're just blind to the love of Jesus/God, and eventually we'll come around. And those of us who don't believe, we know that the odds of us being converted to Christianity are about as good as the odds of Christ showing up in the middle of the Bunny Ranch in Nevada (though that would be one fun news cycle).

And here's why; because not believing in your bible doesn't hurt us, it makes us happy. Because most of us have been exposed to negative side of religion, and we want no more part of it. Because for us, the idea of believing in a being with absolutely no proof he exists makes us feel stupid. Now sure, not all Christians are stupid. In fact, we all know some people so smart is blows your mind they are believers, but that doesn't change reality. We would feel stupid (or possibly schizophrenic) to suddenly develop this faith you wish for us. So you're praying for us is basically saying you wish us to feel stupid or crazy.

But while Christians are primarily the ones screaming against the Islamic Cultural Center in NYC, and the buidling of many other mosques, it's not just them. No, there's the other group telling the rest of us to be sensitive to them. So again I ask; why?!

Now let me clarify. They are physically saying, "Be sensitive to the victims and families." But clearly they don't mean the Muslim families who lost loved ones that day, because it certainly can't be insensitive to them to build a center of positive Islamic faith near the site their family member died. And they can't be talking about being sensitive to the atheist, Christian and other families who are supporting the project. No, the only ones we seem to have to worry about are the hard-core Christians and the people who believe Islam is not a religion worth respecting; whether because it's not a Christian religion or because they think they know it's full of nothing but hate and vengeance.

Show me the non-fundamentalist Christian 9/11 survivor, who know the details of the US' foreign policy mistakes in the Middle East, and are remotely educated in the Muslim faith, that is hurt and offended by the building of this cultural center? And if you can find one, frankly I'll be shocked.

Those who are better informed about Islam and those who don't share the idea that Christianity is one of the things that was attacked that day, they have no need of sensitivity from us. So now we have to be sensitive to people who don't like the Muslim faith, for whatever reason, because they are the only ones left to be sensitive too. But these are the same people who are inconsiderate of everyone else. These are the people most likely to put up 'message from God' billboards, because they think they have the right to proselytize to anyone driving down the interstate. These are the same people who believe this country was founded on Christianity (it wasn't), and that anyone who doesn't believe in the bible has no moral compass (they do), and that anyone who doesn't live by their book should burn in hell. They are the same ones who say they are appalled by abortion-clinic bombings, but that the victims of the bombings "reap what they sow." They are the same people who insist they are not homophobes, but still call homosexuality an abomination and abhorration.

So yes, anyone who is against the NYC Islam center isn't a bigot or racist, but they don't seem to realize that they are asking us to be sensitive to those who are, because anyone who knows the facts and details of this issue is either in support of the project or just telling the rest of us to be sensitive to the opponents. I've yet to hear one person with full understanding of the issue who isn't in one of those two camps. The only people actively against it are the one still calling it the "Ground Zero Mosque" when it isn't either of those things.

I've spent most of my life pissing off Christians by my very existence. My grandfather once called me a satan worshipper. My ex's father and step-mother tricked us into attending a play called Heaven's Gates, Hell's Flames, and you should've seen the look on the step-mother's face when I told her I would not be going up to add my name to the book of life. Not to mention how offended I was that there were children being subjected to these screeching demons dragging the non-believers into hell. But once again, my sensitivity doesn't matter. I've had people call me everything from sinner to whore, all because I didn't believe in their view of things. And I've had to deal with employee's who think it's perfectly acceptable to send bible scripture in their email signatures, because they are just trying to spread a little of "God's Love."

I can count on both hands the number of serious Christians I've met that have treated me with dignity and respect after finding out I wasn't in their camp. And then I have to read about soldiers in our armed services being punished for not wanting to attend an Evangelican Christian Rock show. The hypocrisy is getting just a bit too thick if you ask me.

So, until the Christian mouth-pieces in this country - and anyone making false assertions about other religions - are willing to start being sensitive to the rest of us, I'm not going to be sensitive to them. I'm tired of being the bigger person in this argument. Until they acknowledge that we don't judge all of them by their radical fundamentalists, I don't care how they feel about the fundamentalists who attacked us. Until they refuse to build a church near the site of an abortion clinic bombing, I don't care what they feel about an Islamic center being built anywhere in NYC, even right on the site of the towers. And until they stop telling everyone that the bible calls homosexuality a sin, or that it's a disease to be cured, I don't give a damn what they think about gay marriage.

Despite being in Bill Maher's camp on how organized religions are more of a blight than a blessing, I respect people's rights to believe what they want. I don't rag on any religion more than any other, and I don't even rag on religion in general. I do rag on religious people who think they speak for God or the bulk of his believers. And that's not going to change. But I'll be damned (pun so intended) if I'll bend over backwards to be considerate of the sect of Christianity that treats me, at best, like a lost sheep and sometimes like a immoral unethical pervert.

In fact, if I ever have the money, I'm thinking of putting a nice big billiard up on I-80 that reads, "Just because He makes you feel better doesn't mean the rest of us have to live with Him."


When I grow up, I want to be; whoever Joss Whedon wants to be, when he grows up. I am a writer because it's the first thing I want to do when I wake up in the morning; aside from eating and using the lavatory of course. My work includes screenplays, short stories, film/TV/music reviews and socio-political commentary. The last one is a fancy way of saying I like to shoot my mouth off on many topics. I excel at using $1.50 words. They gone up, thanks to inflation. Isn't our economy awesome?

more about katherine l (aka clevertitania)


this title space for rent...
by katherine l (aka clevertitania)
topic: news
published: 10.20.11

you can love your country...
just don't 'love' your country
by katherine l (aka clevertitania)
topic: news
published: 6.7.10


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