I received a comment on my post about the lady in the grocery store who felt that she needed to tell me that Jesus loved me and was a healer wanting to pray for me. It was suggested that maybe I was reading too much into it. While I don’t want to argue with anyone who reads my blog we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
I have had random people come up to me evangelizing and wanting to pray for me (and this doesn’t count the random Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons who occasionally knock on my door). I have encountered everyone from the overzealous teenage to the downright creepy. I even wrote a poem about the latter. My best friend still talks about this experience because it was just so weird, and not a good kind of weird. Look, if you have to pet a total stranger like they are a lost puppy while repeating over and over that Jesus loves them, you are coming across as a religious zealot planning their next human sacrifice.
I have no problems with God on a one on one basis. What I have a problem with is organized religion. Worshiping God is supposed to bring about a sense of community and promote ethics and goodwill and stuff like that. In theory, religion is supposed to be a good thing. I am sure that for many people religion is a good thing. Of course there is a but.
That but is something that I always find myself writing papers on for university. The mindset of society is that the belief is God is good and therefore we, as a society, should overlook all the bad things that has been done in the name of religion, that we shouldn’t talk about it or even hold religious groups responsible for their actions because what they are doing is done in the name of God. They didn’t mean any harm so it’s all okay.
But it’s not okay and it needs to be addressed. “What harm has religion done?” you ask. Well….
- The promotion of hypocrisy. One of the commandments is “Thou shalt not kill” and yet holy wars have been waged throughout history. There is also Hebrews 12:14: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord,” and John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” while Christians protest against gay rights, use the Bible to promote white supremacy and white nationalism, and so many other things.
- The promotion of racism. I could go on forever on this one. It’s really a pet peeve of mine. I’m just going to leave a link to my final project for my Religious Tolerances and Intolerances class. Just for the record, this isn’t my only argument on how religion promotes racism. Even the pseudoscience of scientific racism is rooted in religion.
- Christianity promoted slavery.
- The promotion of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Another research project that I have done. See the New Apostolic Reformation movement and QAnon.
- The promotion of hate against the LGBTQ+ community. Let’s take a look at Proverbs 6:16-19, shall we. “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” Nowhere in this does it say that “God hates fags” as so many protest signs like to claim. In fact, there is nothing about homosexuality in that verse. The suicide rate of LGBTQ+ youth and young adults is 50% higher if their family and church does not accept them. I’m sorry, but that is unacceptable.
- Various denominations of Christianity seek to keep women subservient to men and I am not going to get into the idea that women are supposed to have sex with their husbands whenever their husband wants it, even if that don’t. That borders on religiously sanctioned rape.
- Intolerance of other religions other than the individual one someone practices. This includes intolerance of other Christian denominations
- The contradiction of science. For all of you who don’t believe that dinosaurs existed, where do you think the fossil fuels come from that is turned into gas for your SUV? Hundreds of children die every year because their parents don’t believe in science and/or medical intervention and that “God will take care of everything.” I’m sorry, God isn’t going to protect you from catching Covid-19.
- Religion has been used as a tool of colonization.
- White Supremacy and White Nationalism.
- The Westboro Baptist Church.
Do I need to go on? I don’t want hear “But not all Christians…” It’s like saying, “But not all men…” It’s a general defense of general criticisms. Not all Christians have done these things, but they have still been done by Christians in the name of religion and God.
So, back to my point. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, just your average door to door prophet sales persons wanting to spread Gods love and convert you to their way of thinking. It’s what their religion demands. No blood no foul. The woman in DC who accosted my best friend and me when we were walking back to the train station, creepy, but harmless. I get it, Jesus loves me. Jesus loves everyone, so the story goes. even those who don’t believe in him. Honestly, in the world of imaginary friends, one could do a lot worse. (Okay, that last comment was uncalled for on my part, I admit it, but it was done as satire to make a point. Please don’t send me hate mail over it.) The overzealous teenagers running up to everyone wanting to tell them about Jesus, totally cool. It’s great to see young people excited about something they believe in.
This woman in the grocery store, she obviously had some sort of issue with me and really felt that I could use a prayer for one reason or another. After she approached me I started watching her in the store. She never approached anyone else. If she really was just a harmless person spreading the love of her god, she would have approached other people, not just the person on crutches wearing the Pride shirt. Then there are the words “[Jesus] is a healer” that alone really bothers me. The added, “Can I pray for you?” makes it even worse. Thoughts and prayers never helped anyone. It’s the illusion of doing something when you are doing nothing.
The phrasing this woman used is full of assumptions. It assumes my religion. It assumes there is something wrong with me that needs fixed. My sexuality was probably assumed based on my Pride shirt. These kind of assumptions come from a snap decision that a stranger made about me based on my appearance. That I take issue with. If this lady was just bopping around the store telling everyone that Jesus loved them, I would have been totally fine with it. That’s not what was going on though. I was intentionally singled out. Since I don’t have a tattoo on my forehead broadcasting I need Jesus her assumptions about me come from a place of religious concern that is more than likely, based on history and the dogma of various churches, homophobic and/or ableist disguised as being concerned for a fellow human being.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.