And these are the Days of Our Lives…..

I feel like we are constantly in some wackadoodle damn soap opera. The roller coaster of our life just never had a moment to slow down and stop. There are never any breaks along the way, it’s just UP and DOWN. UP and DOWN.

Jeez, life, throw me a damn bone.

I’m super frustrated right now because Kim and I got Punky all dressed up and paraded her around the court house in Kansas to get our application for a marriage license. Literally, just last week, this was a done deal and we found out about it on Wednesday. We were excited, we were so relieved. It wasn’t Missouri, but just the few days prior, Missouri did rule that they would recognize gay marriages performed legally in states that do allow that sort of thing.

So, why not, we said?

We only live 30 minutes away from the court house doing it and we could go up there before I went to work the very next day. So, Thursday, we got ready, we all three got up super early. This was a momentous occasion and one we called all our parents about and pumped up our Facebook friends and family with this adorable video from Punky!

It was pouring down rain when we got in the car, by the time we got on the highway, I couldn’t even really see the cars in front of us. The rain was sheets of water, buckets being dumped on our car. Kim looked at me and said, “You must really want to do this.” And if anyone knows me, I don’t drive in the best conditions, let alone these types of conditions, unless I want to get somewhere. I held it together and kept my cool.

Punky got to press the walk button on the crosswalk and go through the metal detector, all while charming the pants off anybody we passed with her ridiculously adorable pea coat and umbrella.

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We finally found our way to the marriage license window and got the application; after swearing to god that our statements were all true. We got the application and they hadn’t even had time to change the pronouns on the application yet, it’s that new. So we had to cross out groom and we had to change he to she. Normally, this kind of thing might bug me, but not at that moment. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do it right.

11 years we have waited. 11 years we have been patiently watching and silently hoping that we will be married in our own state, or at least close. (Kansas is literally right around the corner from us!)  Who cares if the forms are updated. That time will come. I just wanted it to be right.

We signed some stuff, took our application and went home to wait the three day waiting period for Kansas marriage licenses.

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We were going to make a trip back there on Tuesday. We were going to get married and get our marriage license on Tuesday. The long wait for marriage (and tax benefits and rights and equality) was finally over.

Until tonight.

When we read that the Kansas State Attorney General petitioned a block on all gay marriage licenses. There will be a hearing. Sometime in November. And yes, I know – we will get married eventually. With the way the momentum of gay marriage is sweeping the country – it’s going to happen.

But.

It won’t be Tuesday.

And we are all pretty bummed about it.

SAD

And in other news, we are going to visit my family tomorrow – so that will likely brighten my spirits a bit.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

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The Right Side of History and God’s Thoughts?

The Supreme Court ruled on our family’s civil rights today. It didn’t really affect my family in the way I would hope it would – but it is a step in the right direction. The Supreme Court ruled to strike down DOMA (Defense Against Marriage Act) which federally defined marriage between a man and a woman. This means that any state that has legally married same-sex couples are now protected under federal law as a married couple and entitled to the same benefits and rights as those taxpayers in a heterosexual marriage.

This is big news!

Now, we live in Missouri. Missouri and our neighboring state Kansas currently have bans in the state constitution on same-sex marriage. Which means that our states do not recognize a marriage between same-sex couples, regardless of whether they get married in a state that grants same-sex marriage or not. I’ve yet to figure out, because I am currently writing this draft at work on my lunch break, what this means for my family in general.

I know striking down DOMA means that all states that currently have legalized gay marriage couples, will be afforded the same rights to the federal level. So, basically, those people married in those legal states are protected under federal law and now get their rights restored.

What does that do for those of us who do not currently live in a state that recognizes gay marriage? I am going to assume, it means nothing for us in the immediate future. We will simply go about our lives, unmarried and discriminated against until such a time as all states in the United States of America smarten up and decide to be on the right side of history. Perhaps sometime in the future, all the states and the people who populate it decide to treat all their taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and neighbors with the same rights and equality under the law.

Then I think of the post from one of my very favorite bloggers, Deborah for Kids Without Religion and the link she provided to the North Carolina Values Coalition. I found a lot of things interesting as to what is happening to the religious community in regards to their opinion of my family’s lack of civil rights and the outcome of this decision by the Supreme Court.

I hear all the time by the Conservative Right that in order to be a ‘true’ American you must trust in your government’s laws. You must abide by the law and you must be a patriot to our great country. This usually means following “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and believing in the almighty “God” In order to be a true American, you must have these fundamental things down and in your very core.

So, two days ago, before the decision of the Supreme Court came down, I went to the website’s Facebook page, because of course, I was interested and intrigued. Low and behold, I was also looking to be pissed off for the rest of the night.

I found this woman’s wonderful prayer to her Lord and Savior. I am sure it is similar to other people who are her like-minded peers in this debate.

I’m have blacked out her name and picture because I do have respect for her beliefs, however, if you were to go to the public Facebook page, you will see her prayer in this exact entirety. She is proud of her beliefs, I am sure, so I am sure she will be thrilled to have the exposure of said prayer for my blog readers to see!

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If you can’t read this, here’s the transcript of the prayer.

Prayer for the Supreme Court and the Nation
Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your unchanging truth, holiness, righteousness, mercy and grace. You have given us a nation founded upon the principles of Your word. You have blessed us, but we have squandered Your grace and turned away from Your principles. So we come to You to plead for our nation.

Specifically, we pray for the pending Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage. We pray that next week the Court would not impose a false definition of marriage on our nation. Father, we confess that we in the Church have already sinned against You and have not been good stewards of the gift of marriage through our own issues with unfaithfulness, selfishness, pornography, homosexuality and divorce. Forgive us, Lord. Now our nation is following our imperfect example and seeks to redefine and corrupt the gift of marriage in order to satisfy its own lusts.

We acknowledge that through Jesus Christ we can repent and turn to You. So help the people of this nation to turn to You with repentant hearts, that we all may be covered in Your grace. Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, let Your purity and truth shine in this situation. Help us to proclaim to those enslaved by homosexuality, and any other sin, that liberty and identity is available in Jesus Christ. Help us to lovingly embrace the repentant.

Fill us with Your Spirit so that our thoughts, words and actions reflect Your love and not our judgment. Help us to trust in Your plan, and to act justly throughout it. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Savior. Amen.”

So, when the decision from the Supreme Court came down, I thought about this prayer in particular. I thought of this woman and those in her same like-minded beliefs giving the future of my family, the fate of my daughter’s reality up to her god’s will.

Ok, well, and we all know that god’s will is righteous and correct. God’s will doesn’t make mistakes. We all know that if we are true Christian believers and believe in the word of the Lord, we must follow and trust in God’s will.

And realistically, this is what this woman has done. She has prayed for God’s will to stir the hearts and minds of the Supreme Court and the decision they were making about the fate of my family.

Now that the decision has come down on the opposite way in which this woman and her peers have been praying so fervently for, what does that mean for them? If God exists and we must trust in God’s will, then … I think …

God has made a very clear and direct point to his followers.

He has not answered your prayers.

What does that say to you? To me, that says, that God’s will is clear, if he is real and listens to your prayers. He denied your prayers. Your prayers were not answered?

Can we speculate as to why?

I can. I can speculate that this God of yours has made it very clear that your discrimination against your fellow human beings AND your hiding behind his name and word to justify it, is not acceptable. He has denied your prayers because God’s will is not the same as you have been persecuting your homosexual brothers and sisters in the Lord over.

Not only have you now used your God’s name to condemn an entire group of people, but you have also decided to discriminate and with hateful laws persecute those people. My family, in the name of God.

Well, it looks to me that God is telling you that you are wrong and you cannot have what you want. Looks to me that God is saying, everyone should be treated equally and instead of answering your prayers, he has chosen to go the opposite way and make his wishes very clear.

Of course, what do I know. I haven’t been to church in awhile. I personally believe the church does nothing but drive fear and brainwash children into believing things that may or may not be true, but we can’t prove any of is.

I guess, my question to this woman in light of her prayers not being answered is this:

Do you trust in God’s answer to your prayer? Do you trust in his will that you requested when you prayed to him? Or do you find some reason to believe this is not God’s answer and must be something else? Basically, will you be a hypocrite?

If so, I’m not surprised.

In the end, I don’t care what God thinks, because in the end I don’t think God played a part in this decision. I think common sense and good morals and good hearts had everything to do with this decision. End of story.

So, congratulations to all the ladies and gentlemen out there who are legally married in their states who will be now federally recognized! Congratulations to you all! I hope that when this very long journey is over, my family will be celebrating just as hard as you are currently!

The Guilt of a Newly-Minted None

The foundation of being a moral person has always been about believing in God and following the teachings of the church. If you don’t follow the path Jesus walked, you are likely a heathen or a pagan or the unworthy of Heaven. Or, if you don’t follow Jesus and the teachings of the Bible, you are just lost and possibly weird, on the fringes of society and destined to be an outcast.

Heaven has always been the goal that we strive for in life. Be a good person, doing things in the name of Jesus and you will achieve your rewards in Heaven. We are told in order to go to Heaven you must be a good person. In order to be a good person, you must follow Jesus.

What if you don’t believe Heaven is the ultimate goal any longer? Can you still be a good person? Can you teach your children to be good citizens of society without using Heaven as the end goal? Can people be moral and decent human beings without getting anything in return?

I believe you can be a good person without the foundation of religion. However, as a woman who has grown up with the church and the teachings of the Christian religion, it is something that is hard to rectify in my brain. It has been so ingrained in my heart and soul that you can only be a good person if you follow Jesus. If you do what Jesus and God decree as correct and proper.

I have spent the last 29 years of my life thinking that God was the only way. That Heaven was the end goal. The only other option is eternal damnation. If you aren’t following God, you aren’t a good person, so you can’t go to Heaven, and therefore, you will burn in Hell.

Hell certainly doesn’t sound like a nice place to end up. When you look at the descriptions of Heaven and Hell in the teachings of the church, who doesn’t want to say they believe in God and hope that they will get to go to Heaven. By taking the belief of Jesus and Christianity on faith alone, it is supposed to safeguard them from the eternal damnation of Hell. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

Let’s not forget that Heaven is also a better alternative to ceasing to exist. When you die, you just are no more. I never really liked the idea of that happening either. So, what was the purpose of life? What was the goal? The end game? Ceasing to exist seems exponentially as harsh a fate as Hell.

So to alleviate either ‘negative’ outcomes at death, if we believe in God and the teachings of the church  or death will end much more pleasantly. I am sure I am not alone in this thought process. I am beginning to think this is how people get caught up in the beliefs and the church.

Looking back at this, the description of Heaven and Hell is more propaganda and fear tactics. If you don’t do what we tell you to do, you will be punished. If you do exactly what we tell you to do, you will be rewarded. Don’t question or you go to Hell. Don’t miss church or you go to Hell. Don’t forget to pray at supper or you might go to Hell. Don’t support gay people or you will go to Hell. Don’t be friends with Pagans or they will bring you straight to Hell with them.

A lot of fear goes into the foundation of religion. A lot of fear and ultimatums.  Fear and ultimatums lead to guilt. Guilt about doing things just right. Making sure you are following the faith perfectly. What if you slip up? You can be forgiven, but the people of the church may look down on you. You will be given a big heaping spoonful of guilt.

Like my previous post about Cults and Churches, the fear and the ultimatums and ultimately the guilt is what keeps a member of a church or a cult in line. It keeps the person feeling like they are a bad person if they don’t go along, if they don’t follow. The guilt can be enough to hold a person under the church or cult’s thumb for years and it is a form of brainwashing.

I came across this blog post recently and it made me think. The points are valid. How come our particular religion can be believed on faith, but someone else’s religion is clearly not correct. It’s not right and thus a fairy tale. All the creation tales in each different religion are similar yet, once you latch on to the one you like, it’s the only one. It’s the one that is supreme.

You can deny all others as false and ‘fairy tale’ but the one that you follow may sound similar, but it’s the only true one. You have reasons and rationale why. The brain has made connections on this that will allow you to believe that it is real. Why do you have all these answers? Because the fear and ultimatums and the guilt that goes with the teachings have given you all the answers you need to make sure you are properly educated in what to say and think. IE. Brainwashing.

Then comes a time when you doubt it. What if you doubt what you have always been told? What if you take a logical look at the things you have always believed and you put rational thought behind it? The guilt settles in.

What if I’m wrong? I am a terrible person for not believing. I should just have faith. God calls me to believe in the face of doubt. I cannot trust my own flawed judgment. I just need to put my faith in Him. Just follow the leaders of the church, they are the ones who have more knowledge than I do. I have to teach my child to believe as I have; otherwise she will go to Hell. Hell is a bad place. What if Hell does in fact exist? If you don’t teach your child about God, they will never be saved and you have condemned your child to a fate worse than death. If you don’t get your kid baptized, they will be eternally lost in the pits of Hell.

These are the thoughts that I still grapple with. I am beginning to realize that I am in fact an Atheist. I have tried to cling to the label of the lesser evil in society of Agnostic, that of someone who is spiritual and who is not sure what they believe. But, I do know what I believe. In my heart of hearts, I know that there is no such thing – there is no validity to the stories I have grown up with. I know in my rational mind that I don’t want to be putting my kid through the same fear and guilt that I am currently trying to dig myself out of.

I hold tight to the lesser label, a label that doesn’t really bring me peace of mind either, because it is less harsh than the reality. The finality of the whole concept. It lessens my guilt. It lessens the doubt in my doubt and the uncertainty. I am coming to terms with the fact that I was in fact brainwashed and I was conditioned with fear tactics and guilt to believe in something that can’t possibly be real.

It makes no sense to me now. I am trying to figure out why the concept of God and Jesus made sense to me before. A flowery story about a man who died for me and forgives me of all my sins. A story of redemption and of love and kindness. It made sense because it was about the good in people. It was about the rewards for being a good person. It was about being a part of something.

How come we can’t teach our kids to forgive our fellow human beings for their misgivings and their shortcomings. Can’t we teach our kids to be kind and loving to all those they come in contact with? Why does the basis of morals and the difference between right and wrong have to be set in the foundation of a religion?

Instead of guilt, I hope to give the facts. I hope to give the theories and the stories. As I learn more of the different stories and the different culture theories of how the world came to be, I hope I can pass on the questioning nature I have grown to possess and leave the guilt out of my daughter’s heart.

Cults and the Christian Church – Research and Comparision

How to spot a cult: It says through the literature that if the organization says they aren’t a cult, they probably are a cult. If they teach that all other religions or organizations are wrong if they don’t believe what their organization believes it is probably a cult. If they say their belief is the only right belief, they may be a cult. If they say you have to be in their organization only, they are probably a cult. Cults recruit with hyped up meetings. They use unrelenting pressure and call all the time. If they ask you for money, they might be a cult. If they control what you can do and who you can be around, it might be a cult.

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I have a longstanding fascination with all things cult related. I love to read about them, I love to watch documentaries about them, I have even ventured to write about a fiction version of one. I am not sure where the fascination comes from, but I am drawn in. I am interested to see how these people, involved in cults were manipulated. I am fascinated by how easy it was to manipulate the members.

When I watch documentaries about it, I have to wonder, how did these people believe something like this was actually real? I ask myself how did this leader come to be this way? Sinister motives, mental illness, good intentions? I always have to sit and ponder what and why and how.

I recently read this blog about The Dying and while it made me think of my own views on death and dying, it also made me realize that most religions could be considered a cult. Had I been part of a cult? Is the indoctrination of the church just another form of mind control?

I know that when people leave a cult, they have a difficult time leaving the beliefs of the cult behind. It still plagues them. I am dealing with something similar. I feel as though I want to change my way of thinking and I know that what I thought before was not correct. However, every time I think something different, I feel this nagging guilt and a sense of urgency to back peddle to my old beliefs.

Now, I am pondering different things. Not an outsider looking in. I am looking inside myself.

How to spot a Christian Church: The Christian Church is not a cult. They say so when teaching of suspected cults. All other teachings of Christianity that differ from the Christian Church is wrong and not as enlightened. The Christian Church is the only true word of God and the only right way to believe. If you don’t believe in their teachings you will not be saved and you will not get to Heaven. If you are not baptized in the Christian faith you will not be saved and you will go to Hell, you must belong to their church only. With bands and music and fun revival meetings, Christian churches can get new members easily. They ask for your name, phone number, and address when you visit their church. You will then receive literature and phone prayers, especially if you do not come back. 10% tithe to the church, it’s in the name of God, he is asking this of you. You should only read the Bible and listen to music that glorifies God, watch tv that only glorifies God, watch movies that only glorifies God.

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So, comparing how to spot a cult and how to spot a Christian Church, I am beginning to think that I was part of a cult. That statement is not to offend my christian friends and family. It’s simply what I feel like right now. I feel like, now that I have made the decision to move away from Christianity, away from the church. I feel guilt and I feel this inner battle with myself between what I have always known, for the last 30 years and what I know now that I am a mother of an impressionable tiny human.

Components of a Cult Compared to My Experiences with Christian Church: (As explained by Cultwatch)

Deception: “We love everyone as God loves us. Jesus died for all our sins. We give generously to all those in need. No one can judge but God.” Unless, you aren’t of the same mind as the leaders of the church. Unless you don’t own a Bible and read it daily. Unless you are a homosexual trying to get married. Unless you are not baptized. Unless you are a waitress that doesn’t give me a tax deduction on my generosity. Unless you are pro-choice and you want to murder babies. Unless you try to teach my kid yoga in PE class.

Exclusivity: You will only be saved if you are a follower of our church, of our beliefs. You can only go to Heaven if you take Jesus into your heart. You will go to Hell if you don’t follow the Bible, no other teachings will do. You will be condemned to Hell if you allow your gay daughter into your home (personal experience with my father).

Guilt:  If you give to God you will be rewarded. If you don’t give to God you will not receive blessings. Maybe if you tithed more often, you might start to reap what you sow financially. If you would baptize your child, he might not be so unruly. If you just give your faith to God, he will make your life happy and healthy. You should have given it to God, he would have handled it for you.

Love Bombing and Relationship Control: Joining the church will afford you many new friends. You will be surrounded by love and compassion. We advise you to steer clear of non-believers because they will only tempt you away from the proper path with God. If you leave the church or the faith, we will not be able to employ you at the church any longer or call you. We will pray for you though, from a far.

Information Control: You only need the Bible and faith. All secular forms of entertainment or information is not necessary. Speak with God in prayers and he will give you the answers in your heart that you need.

Reporting Structure: Watch out for your brothers and sisters who are struggling with their faith. If they are in need of prayers, make sure to let us know. We will pray for all who need it, we just need to know about their transgressions and make sure they are properly taught.


The comparisons are staggering. Comparisons between the church and cult definitions are some that I had not noticed before. What this research did for me was to affirm that I do not want to put my daughter through the same questions and guilt that I am going through now.

What this research told me is that I respect others who wish to be involved in the lifestyle of Christianity. If you find comfort in it and it helps your life, then I will not sit here and say you are in the wrong. I will simply say that given my history with the Christian church and the teachings, I know it’s no longer right for me. Or for my child, until she’s old enough to make her own choices about what she feels and believes.

What it does for me is say, I was right in my decision not to subject my daughter to the world of contradictions, guilt and oppression that I lived most of my life. I will, instead, teach her to think for herself. To learn lessons on her own. To make her own decisions as I am doing now, though I will allow her to do this much sooner in her life than I did.

Intelligent Design in Science Class?

I just learned about this Missouri House Bill 1227. A Missouri legislator is trying to pass a bill which would introduce the idea of intelligent design in public schools, without discrimination.

Missouri Representative, Rick Brattin is proposing Intelligent Design/Creation be required teaching and given equal time in every science classroom in Missouri, including college level classes, prohibiting families from making their own choice. This will also require the schools to spend money on new text books on or including Intelligent Design.

Intelligent Design in the Science Class? Is that a contradictory statement to anyone else?

I will be honest here, I didn’t know what intelligent design was until this very moment. I am not the most political person in the world. Until this blog. I have decided that I need to be mindful of what is going on around me. Especially when it comes to my child’s education.

Punky isn’t quite a year old and we have a long way to go before I really need to be concerned, but seriously? If we pass a law that allows intelligent design to be taught in science class, we are allowing religious teachings to be given to our children.

I have said before that I have no qualms with people who are affiliated with a religion. I have nothing against those who go to church or follow the teachings of the Bible. It’s just not for me. The repercussions of religion, the church and most people I come in contact with have been more negative than positive. I have made up my own mind in this and I hope to allow Punky to make her own mind up as well.

If this is taught in schools, a place of academia … where is the respect for other beliefs in a public environment. Look, if a child wants to pray individually, more power to them. If a child wants to read the Bible in the library on their spare time, sure go for it.

But, when did it become appropriate to tell my child they must do that too?

What about those kids from Jewish homes? From Muslim homes? I’m not even talking about Atheist or Agnostic. Let’s think about other religions for a moment. The United States is a melting pot of all sorts of religions and cultures. School should be a safe place to blend all those into one harmonic place to learn things. Learn academic things.

If you want your kid to learn intelligent design, great! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. That’s what you take your children to church for. Or am I confused?

I am the first person to say that there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of God. There is not one way to know which theory of the way the world was made is correct. However, to introduce a religious based story to a school environment is wrong. When children are impressionable and should be taught these things at home.

How am I to help my child make up her own mind, when teachers at school will be telling her how to think, how to act. It’s just another way for religion to be forced upon my unwilling child. I’m the parent here. I pay the taxes for her education. I should get a say in what they teach her. Not to mention, that this bill will allow my tax dollars to not only facilitate the religious teachings of my child, but also pay for the new books that are required.

What’s wrong with leaving religious teachings in church? Any religious teaching. I don’t care if you want to teach your child about these things. I’m just requesting that you respect the fact that I may not want my child taught the same things. Your truth is not my truth. If I wanted her to be taught these things I would take her to church.

I’m appalled that this is even a proposed bill right now. I’m even more concerned that there are other states out there that have already passed a similar bill. I have already signed the petition to say no to this in our schools.

This is just the sort of thing this blog is actually about. My journey to finding out things that may affect the way I parent my child in regards to all sorts of topics. In this case, religion.

Respect my right to parent and teach my kid as I see fit when it comes to anything religious based. How about we keep science as science. The things that have definitive answers. Again, I’m not saying God does or doesn’t exist, but unlike the things they teach in science class, there’s no way to prove or disprove. Let’s leave that in Sunday school.

A New Kind of Coming Out

I have in the last few months, implied that I was Agnostic. Never have I said it out loud to anyone that I may come in contact with.  Family and friends may have gotten the hint, or they may not have. Unlike coming out as a lesbian, this was not something I could just show up with a partner on my arm and it was obvious.

Being Agnostic is something you have to announce. Well, it’s not really anyone else’s business, but there’s not a handshake (that I am aware of) or a pin to affix to my lapel to say, “I’m Agnostic.”

It’s also not something that I just want to bring up in polite conversation. I tend to steer clear of the topics of politics, religion and sex when I am talking to family or people at work. Some of my close friends know the truth about my doubts. They know that I am still searching for answers that I am not sure of.

While I didn’t grow up in a religious home, my parents and grandparents are indeed religiously affiliated. They are like most of society that I come in contact with. That’s okay. I don’t shun the religious. I don’t judge them. As I hope they don’t judge me.

So, here I am, bringing my religious beliefs, or lack thereof and doubts out in the open. I am having a new kind of coming out. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time. Last time I came out, my family was torn apart. My father didn’t speak to me for six years, and while this has been rectified, it’s not something that is easily forgotten.

This blog is my new life. My attempt to raise a morally conscious, kind-hearted child.  My navigation of religion and parenting and how to do it without damaging my kid. My partner and I are raising our daughter without religion.

When I said that to someone recently they remarked that I was going to allow my ‘prejudice’ to influence my daughter’s beliefs. This struck me as incredibly worrisome. My main goal is not to influence my daughter’s choices. I want her to be who she wants to be. I have come to realize I don’t know how to do that without indoctrinating her one way or another.

The comment really struck a cord with me. It made me re-think my parenting strategy. My partner and I have thought this through and we have discussed the fact that neither of us really believe in the teachings of the church. We both feel that the church has brought heartache to our lives growing up and has left us both feeling ashamed and evil.

My goal in raising my child is not to teach her that religion is evil. Or that religion is bad. I have no desire to tell her one way or another that God is real. I want her to respect other people’s beliefs. I want her to explore other people’s beliefs. I want her to expand her knowledge and be curious. I want her to question everything.

I want my role in her life to be open communication. About anything. This doesn’t include just religion. It means sexuality, relationships, education, self-esteem, everything! I want my child to come to me and ask me questions. I want to have discussions with her. I want to be honest with her and say, “I don’t know the answers. I can’t give you the answers.”

My partner and I are very different in our beliefs. Atheist and Agnostic are very different. However, we both understand the benefits of letting our daughter learn on her own. Explore on our own.

So, to those who love us and those who know us: We love you all, no matter your religious affiliation or not. Regardless of your beliefs and your political lean. No matter your relationship status, your gender, or your lifestyle.

I plan to help our daughter love people equally and accept people with an open mind and heart. I know my partner and I are both interested in raising our kid without religion, but that doesn’t mean without morals, boundaries, and love.

Confession: I’m Raising My Kid Without Religion

ag·nos·tic  

/agˈnästik/

Noun

A person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena.

Not to be confused with an Atheist. They are definitely two different things. I’m very irritable when it comes to labels, but in order to define the way in which my mind thinks, this is the only way I can really describe it.

Believe it or not, I just came to this realization not very long ago. I have been pushing the boundaries of my beliefs for a few years now, but as of just a few months ago, I have realized that I am indeed, simply agnostic.

Let’s back up a long time ago, to my childhood. I was raised in a semi-non-religious household. My parents were more interested in extra-curriculars to really have interest in God and religion and all that comes with it. As a baby, I was baptized in a Methodist church and would frequently visit the Methodist church with my maternal grandparents. Though, to this day, I still don’t really know what they believe and I don’t know what they taught me.

When my parents divorced and then re-married, I was introduced to a non-denominational church. Looking back on it, it was really more of a ‘modern Pentecostalism’ church. Live band, lots of awesome singing and music, speaking in tongues, and being filled up with the holy spirit.

I totally dug it. I also believed things about the world, that I would now find to be appalling. In fact, I am still ashamed of myself for feeling and thinking the way I did in those years. I would proclaim that sex before marriage was a sin and you would go to Hell. I had been known to make statements about how being gay was sinful and disgusting. (At the time, I knew not even one gay person)

I would stand in my pew and sing my heart out, during my early and late teens, and I would praise God for the graces he gave me. Which really, looking back wasn’t much. For the anonymity of my family and those that I was shaped by, I will not go into details, but I was a damaged child searching for answers. Searching for a place to belong. I was a kid searching for something or someone to accept me and take care of me for a change.

I moved out of my mother’s house when I was 17, finishing my senior year of high school away from my immediate family and still religion followed me. I found a church behind our house and I thought, “This is what God wanted. He placed me in this house and I found my way here, for a reason.” I attended the youth group and was part of many skits and plays that fostered the idea that if you didn’t believe in God and you didn’t believe in the Bible you were going to Hell and there was just no hope for you.

When I graduated high school, I went on to college. From there, I tried to find and seek out a religious group for which I could belong. I found none that were as inclusive and as welcoming as I did when I was growing up. I believe, now, that it was because in college, people are more open minded. People don’t feel as though you are black or white.

I met my first real gay friend and before I knew she was gay, I told her that I thought gay people would go to Hell. She came out to me shortly after and that was the moment when I changed my entire view on things. I also realized, I was gay. Though, again, I don’t really care for labels and in the grand scheme of things, who knows what I may or may not be.

I met my partner of 10 years while I was attending that same college and she is my first and only partner of the same sex gender. We have been together for 10 years, we have a beautiful baby girl who will be a year old in less than a month. So, in a sense, for label-sake, I am a lesbian. However, only because I couldn’t imagine being with anyone but my partner. Not because she is a woman, but because she is the person I was meant to be with. Should we, which is very unlikely, split, I am not sure which gender I may or may not find company with.

Anyway, once I found my partner, who is an atheist, I started to question what I really believed. My entire religious upbringing was very cut and dry. If you were gay, you went to Hell and God didn’t love you. Well, that’s a bummer. I had been loyal to Him. I had gathered Him followers. My father got out of jail and turned ‘jailhouse Christian’, so when I came out, he shunned me for 6 years. Why? The deacons of the church told him that if he allowed me into his house, I would corrupt his children, my younger siblings, and his entire family would go to Hell for ‘condoning my sins.’

This was another breaking point in religion for me. So, now, not only does the religious community tell me that if I’m gay (because I love a woman) I am going to Hell, but my dad (my only male figure and hero) agrees and has shut me out of his life (though has since come around and we have a great relationship, the damage to religious ideals is done.)

So, where does that leave me?

Well, today, I start this blog to discover what that means. I am not really sure myself. I have scoured the internet and communities to find like minded individuals like me. People who want to parent their child without religion, without forcing their ideals on their children.

How do you do that? I am not sure.

I want to arm my daughter with all the knowledge she would need to have an intellectual religious conversation. I want her to have answers when she is asked questions about her beliefs. I want her to be able to make her own decisions about what she believes.

I know, I know, she’s not even one yet and already this idea of religion plagues me. Religion has come to my life in times when I needed it most and made me feel amazing, but it taught me some very ugly things. I feel as though I was indoctrinated as a child and I don’t fully know what I believe anymore.

There are days when I feel like my questions about my beliefs will just send me straight to Hell. My thoughts on not raising my child in the church or discussing God and religion with my child will condemn us both to Hell. Then there are days, when I just feel like that’s ridiculous. That religion is only a form of scare tactics to keep people in line and fear is a great motivator for making people do the things you want them to do, or believe the things you want them to believe.

Where do I stand on this? I’m still not sure. I know that I doubt the belief in God and the teachings of the church enough to question it. I know that means I am in a sense, Agnostic. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I KNOW that God does or does not exist, but do believe, there’s a possibility that my entire childhood is a lie.

I don’t want that for my kid. I don’t want her to live in fear of her every move. I don’t want her to feel judged for every mistake. I don’t want my daughter to be told how to feel, groomed how to think.

So where does this journey lead?

Hopefully, where I want it to lead. A child who grows up knowing she can be who she wants to be, believe what she wants to believe. A child who is taught to love everyone and accept people for who they are. A child who doesn’t need God or the teachings of the church to define her or dictate her decisions in life.