|putting religion and McCarthyism to the test|
I rid myself of religion as a child due to the incongruities of McCarthyism & competing bigotries that stared me in the face during my earliest recollections.....My beloved great aunt Mable was a Jehovah Witness, I could not understand how such a sweet little woman who made me her bread recipes with jams made from her garden could somehow be a deficiient person due to a disapproved faith, after all, who has not rejected JW's at the door, handing out tracts in public places, etc? I could not reconcile the basic message of alleged Christian morality and piety and goodness with the examples of my peers who were choosing to be baptized and mumble out the phraseology of faith while demonstraing cruel behaviours in school. I could not ignore the differences in faith of my father's Pentacostalism and my mother's liberal protestantism.
My uncle, dad's brother married a Catholic and having attended wedding masses and funeral wakes, I could not pretend that my mothers church was the one true church while my father would not attend and he'd regale stories of nuns & priests & wine & orgies. My mother told Jewish "jokes" that did not jive with television land and the civil rights movements of the fifties and sixties.
I read Sunday school lessons no differently than I did my public sFchool lessons. I sprang to my feet the fastest in searching out called texts for recitation. After being first so often, I was given more bibles to read and read them I did. I found countless conflicting passages. I began to see a pattern in hypocrisy and the front of holiness.
I cherished Saturday Science & Disney educational films & by 5th grade I was refusing to attend my mother's worshipful pew. The last time I yielded to her nagging & reminders that I should not wind up in hell for lack of faith was the promise of a teen bible instructor who was a ravishing
red head nursing mom of two babies! And that same first class she began
by the ignorant incompetent claim that "when sin entered the world, it made the earth tilt 23 and one half degrees off it's axis" which forced me to see an embodiement of beauty merged with stupidity. As Ingersoll said, the Mistakes of Moses are not the perfect poems of ultimate truth.
Lastly, I was a Boy Scout Tenderfoot comparing my brother's 1949 Handbook with my 1962 version which printed the McCarthyistic version of the Flag Pledge while the earlier version made no mention of an alleged deity named god.
From that point onward, I knew I could not "believe" in what merely was printed for public consumption. I became non-religious by applying religious tenets to reality checks. I embraced Atheism when I read Walt Disney's Front Page Obituary as a newspaper boy. "No funeral is planned, Walt Disney was an atheist." And I wondered why Catholicism got capial letters but Science did not? I read dictionaries and encyclopaedia and found bias when ever I contrasted one publisher with another. I became non-religious by the same sort of winnowing as one decides to become a bowler instead of a golfer, I felt more at home with achievable results instead of a long expensive road to promised elitism.
I wanted to be a true American, a descendant of Lord Baltimore. I remembered my 7th & 8th grade Latin & paid attention to the roots of words while rejecting false claims of wordsmiths. I did the hard work of overcoming censorship & actually read the words of the most hated and villified woman in America. I demanded DR Madalyn Murray O'Hair's books & her magazines from libraries and bookstores, not some priest or preachers scam against her. I learned the stories of Ethan Allen and Margaret Sanger and Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, Paine & Jefferson, their non-religious words.
And I found in high school and college that canards like "dogmatic atheism" were insults of sophmoric philosophy students who were afraid of
simple Greek Materialism. I winnowed out egalitarianism from objectivism, I learned that Ayn Rand could be human and fallible.
I resolved to teach my children honestly and accurately instead of pretending that religion was some sort of source for goodness and heavenly rewards. My first marriage was a compromise with a "spiritualist." My second marriage was to a Lutheran who pretended to be my American Atheist Chapter Secretary to keep me in her bed. My last marriage was to hope and growth in liberal religion, a Unitarian Universalist Church Secretary, herself a missionary kid born in Africa. We named our child Darrow and honeymooned in Dayton, TN.
Because ultimately, religion victimizes all of its adherents as it did her, her healing needs rose to the surface from past trauma.. And healing does not occur quickly and completely with mixed loyalties. I can not be loyal or silent to institutional evil.
I remain non-religious because I am not tied or restrained by any shred of delusion that some supreme being is out there somewhere deciding who gets into a heaven and who will be put into a hell. I hold such alleged beings to the same standard as I do any neglectful abusive parent and insist that the young and defenseless be protected instead of dependent upon their "creator."
I will protect the rights of believers to exercise their non-violent practices and draw the line at violence, abuse and interference
with science, medicine and schooling. I fight for the civil rights of my peers to be made whole in discriminations from fair housing, fair employment and equal treatment before the law. I feel that our continuing
American Revolution is a non-religious growth process. That is why I am an American Atheist, free from religion; fighting theocracy with ideals of justice and inclusivity. My Atheism is no mere disbelief as Webster falsely defined, my Atheism is free of theism. I demand proof for religious claims, any spiritual claim any astrology or pseudo science claim.
I think that non-religious people are open minded people learning rather than believing. We are better citizens and patriots without faith. I like non-religious people as free thinkers and truth seekers. It is much more fun to learn from them than regurgitate beliefs without evidence or logic.