A few days ago I wrote an article about the divide between religious liberals and atheists. There was a pretty big reaction to it by people on both sides. One of the commenters, a gentleman named Richard La France, sent me an email. It is long, thorough, and touches on several issues that are all affected by the religious divide. It’s definitely something that I think as many people as possible should see. I’m posting his email here, and I hope that after reading it everyone forwards/shares it. Mr. La France, I’d like to again thank you for taking the time to read my article, comment on it and write this great email.
“Thank you so much for posting this, Ryan. I can feel my cheeks burning when people on the blogs go off on religion. When I talk about it, I’m always very careful to point out the difference in those who hide behind Christ to do unethical things and the real Christians which, I believe, far outnumber those who use Christianity for false reasons. When I read the first four Books of the New Testament for myself instead of letting someone else twist the content for me, I immediately added Jesus Christ to my Hero list. I found myself agreeing with everything He said and afterwards always knew when someone was not living up to his/her professed Christianity. It wasn’t, mind you, a judgment but more of an observation. I get very angry at politicians and preachers for misleading people with severe misinterpretations of the New Testament and especially when they quote bits from the Old Testament to make a point against certain groups when, if you read further, there are more points to be applied to everyone.
Leviticus is especially a favorite to quote for them because it apparently mentions about homosexuality. Ryan, I was born Catholic but searched for an English speaking church. It was a big mistake in one way, in that those other churches made me uncomfortable and miserable instead of feeling happy and rejoicing like they seemed to be doing. But when I attended a Southern Baptist Church in Panama City, Florida with a girl from my high school, the first thing the preacher said was that Mr. & Mrs. So and So wanted me to tell you all that their son is a homosexual and they want us all to pray for him. I almost went through the roof! I turned around and the poor boy, he was only twelve, I believe, looked like he was going to faint from humiliation. I was so angry but didn’t want to be rude and walk out before it ended. I felt like steam was coming out of my ears. I was also gay. It was 1963, the year before I graduated. I wanted so badly to say something to comfort that boy but those Baptists are the most intimidating people I’ve ever seen. I never went to church again after that day and I swore that if I ever decided to go back, it would be to the Catholic Church. I doubt it will happen, but it seems that, despite what some of the Bishops say about it, Catholics are more open-minded about things.
I have to say that having seen so many gay people become atheists because of the abject rejection by their churches, that they went beyond understanding Christ and rejected the idea of religion altogether. I personally understand how important those moral standards of Christianity are and that they have held this nation together all these years and it was good when it was kept in its place. But the horrendous things people are doing while claiming to be Christians just makes me want to rage at them. They’ve betrayed their followers for the sake of the mighty dollar and have led them to believe that greed is all right. The people that I find to be the most evil of all are doing their darnedest to make this into a Christian nation, and even California has a woman running for Senate in the upcoming race who is going to do that to California. She’s going to have a rude awakening when she messes with Californians in that way. We are a blue state and will remain that way always. Voter apathy is what got us The Terminator. I spend so much time at this keyboard, feeling like I’m screaming at everyone to get off their asses and say something, when all I’m doing is repeating the same stuff over and over, just like I did here except for the parts about religion. If the politicians won’t listen and the people won’t listen, are we to just throw up our hands and let the corporations take over and do as they will with our public lands and with the people as well? If it goes that far I will absolutely renounce my citizenship. It was only a second class one, anyway, and I’ve certainly held that resentment for 67 years. But, I love my country and I am going to fight for it to be made right if I have to sit here and type until my dying breath. Thank you again for your article. It needed to be said.”
Richard La France