Letter to Christian Working Mothers

Yet, another article that is beautifully written has been marred by comments by the followers of God. The beginning of this article really spoke to me as a working mom and if you are one, you should read it. Here’s the perfect example of having agreements with those who are in the church about other things besides religion. 

However, there comes a side effect of the religious undertones of articles written like this. Marred in the comments are ‘well meaning’ Christian women who think they know what it’s like to be inside someone’s life. They use “God’s words” to make their veiled guilt-ridden comments and they use “God’s words” to throw a little judgement and a pinch of righteousness into an already guilt-ridden and emotional mother’s mind.

My heart goes out to those women who are shackled to the fear that their decision for their family is somehow inferior to those around them. This post is for you.

Dear Christian Working Mother,

I have known that guilt you feel. People tell you the guilt you feel is God’s way of telling you that you may be doing something wrong. Other Christian women are coming forward to tell you how your decision to work outside the home, may not be a good fit – and you shouldn’t ignore that guilty feeling in your gut.

Let me tell you something, ladies, working mothers feel guilt. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian or Atheist. It doesn’t matter if your child is newborn or young adult. A mother’s instinct is to care and nurture her child with her own two hands. To foster and delight in your child’s learning and teach your child the ways of your beliefs or non-beliefs.

We aren’t that different, you and I. The guilt a working mother feels, has nothing to do with religion. At the end of the day, the guilt you feel in your heart, those achy pangs of sadness come Monday morning has to do with being a mother. Carrying a child for 9 months gives you a special bond with that child – it’s a natural psychological response to want to be close to that child and have a hand in their daily lives.

Don’t let people use God to guilt you into doubting your decision to work outside the home. There are some, most likely just like you, who have no other choice.

Think for a moment, what happens if you give in to your guilt and you quit your job.

Will God put food in your child’s belly? Will He clothe your child and keep her warm from the coming winter fast approaching? Now you can hold your child in your arms all day long, but at what expense? Will you have a roof over your head? Will you have a car to drive him to all the playdates you so desperately want to attend?

I’m calling all Christian Mamas out there who work outside the home. I’m telling you that  you don’t have to feel guilty. This world is based in money. That’s an unfortunate fact and no matter how much you try, at the end of the day, your working puts food on the table and a roof over your child’s head.

It doesn’t mean you love your child any less. It doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It doesn’t speak to your greed or your priorities as a mother or a woman, it simply speaks to the necessity to do what is right for your family.

The harsh reality of this world is that it doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. The bill collectors are still calling. The house payment is still due. The medical bills are still calling out to you from when little Johnny broke his arm last year. Those things are going away, it’s not by some miracle of God going to disappear.

I commend the writer of the original article. She has beautiful words for the working mother. All working mothers can relate to the feelings she describes. Her words are written more eloquently than mine are, because now, I’m more interested in giving you a real good shake.

Don’t let people guilt you. Don’t let people doubt you. Don’t let people tear you down.

And to those women who think they are helping by adding more stress and worry onto women who are only doing what’s necessary for their children and their family. Shame on you. You don’t walk in their shoes, don’t presume to know who they are. Just because you have been stirred with what you call the duty to spread God’s message, doesn’t mean you have to put it on the heart of a fellow woman already struggling.

At the end of the day, what does the Bible say Jesus preached? Love and compassion. Not guilt and judgement. Seek to find the same level of belief and standards you hold these women to. Seek to walk in the way that Jesus walked, or don’t say anything at all.

Working moms, of all beliefs and family dynamics. You are struggling. You are doubting. You are heartbroken. But remember this above all. You are important. You are loved. You are appreciated. Your struggles don’t go unnoticed. Your doubting has no foundation. Your heart will mend each time with the happy smile of your child when you walk through the door. Your heart can withstand, your child is learning valuable lessons from you. Teach your child the idea of standing on your own two feet, doing what is necessary, and caring for the lives you have brought into this world and keeping them safe, warm, and happy!

Let’s all give a little more compassion to our fellow mothers. Regardless of our beliefs. Regardless of our decisions. Regardless of how we raise our families. Regardless of how we got here, we are all mothers. Let’s stop this war against each other. Let’s stop the judgement and start appreciating one another. Let’s stop the guilt and start learning from one another. Let’s stop the advice and start listening to one another.

Let’s just be women. Caring for our children. Doing what is in our heart and our soul to do on pure instinct.

Love one another.

If You Are Against My Family, Are We Really Friends?

I’m so upset right now. I can’t decide what to do. I am posting this on Facebook, as I always do, so it’s possible that this person will see the post. I’m not really upset at the person who posted this, I’m more upset with the people she is associated with. I know her to be a decent and kind person. I know her to be a loving mother and a beautiful spirit. And yet, this blog post is something that she posts for the world to see.

The post itself makes valid points, and I don’t know the writer’s stand on Gay Marriage, it makes no difference to me. I think right now, I am more upset about one comment on my friend’s post. A comment that I would hope someone would stand up against. But, it won’t be me. Why? Because I don’t want to blast this friend’s Facebook wall with debates and hatred.

Untitled

But, the idea that this had to be said at all, hurts my heart. Make up extra rights?! Really? I’m so confused. I am literally appalled that my friend knows someone like this. She is kind and generous and loving – all the things that I was taught God wants us to be. And this person, whom I don’t know and have never met, shows me what the truth of the church is. What hatred is bred into the church.

I have to wonder, is my friend of the same mind about my family? I can’t bring myself to ask her directly. I can’t bring myself to post a reply to this comment. I want to think that she is associated with people of faith that loves everyone. That walks in the path of Jesus. The way Jesus walked.

How about, if you want to take ‘holy week’ to reflect on something, why don’t we remember that Jesus died for all our sins. How about we remember that Jesus loved the prostitute? How about we remember that God should be the only judge? Or we could remember that Jesus said to love thy neighbors? Love covers a multitude of sins? Or, if you like bible verses with actual locations in the bible, here’s one for you:

gay-08

I have never been one with strong opinions in the way the government ran things. I have never been one with strong opinions in religious politics. I’ll be the first to admit that when I went to vote for the first time, I didn’t even know the difference between being a Democrat or a Republican.

But, this hits home for me. I am taking a stand. I have, since done my research and this issue is not about religion, it’s not about politics. It’s about civil rights. It’s about humanity. It’s about fairness, equality, and justice.

I am standing here and challenging those who follow Jesus. I am challenging you that speak ‘the word of god’.

Live by the whole bible. Live by the whole word. I challenge you to re-evaluate your beliefs. I challenge you to look deep in your heart and decide where you lie. Do you lie on the side of fairness and love, as Jesus would have wanted? Or do you lie on the side of lies, hypocrisy and injustice?

So you say it’s not just religion. So you say it’s because children are better off with a mom and a dad. Let’s think for a moment about those children who have been left in a dumpster. Abandoned by their mom and dad. How about those children who were ‘accidents’ and unwanted. Are they better off with a mom and dad?

I think Punky is better off with the many Uncles, Cousins, and Grandpas she has. She is not lacking in male role models. (I hope they all don’t mind me putting them out for the public to see) I am proud that Punky has so many awesome men in her life!

george

eric david

dad

cody justin brandon

Do we take away the rights of Single mothers? What about the children who are being raised by their grandparents? Are they less cared for? Single mothers work their asses off. Single mothers are so full of love and life that I just can’t imagine why anyone would say those children need a dad.

Making up rights for my family?

CIMG4744

So, you don’t think it’s a right for me to be able to see my partner in the hospital as you can see your husband or wife? If I am lying on my death bed, my partner could be left with no solace in her grief because she couldn’t be next to me as I die. That’s a disservice to me and my partner. We have been together for 10 years. TEN YEARS.

But our love is not as committed as yours? Which one of yours? Your first marriage or your third? Our love isn’t the same as yours. For those who feel like this is simply a sexual thing. What goes on in my bedroom is really no one’s business, but we haven’t had sexual things as a focus of our relationship for years.

I love my partner the way anyone loves their spouse. She and I have been through more and weathered more hardships than most straight couples could weather in a year. We stand strong in the face of adversity. We don’t back down, we don’t break up.

kim

I like to think our relationship and our love is the true interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Stop and think a moment about what will happen to your children if you were to die suddenly tomorrow? Would your child be in the care of your spouse? Of course, no questions asked. Mine will not be. My child is likely to be plucked from the only home she knows. The only family she knows.

CIMG4837

If I were to die tomorrow, my partner has no legal rights to her daughter. She has no legal standing to keep our daughter safe. Tell me that is better for our child’s mind and spirit? Tell me that my daughter is better off taken from the only parent she knows. The one person she loves more than anything and the one parent who has taken care of her, loved her, kept her safe, tucked her in at night, fed her, and comforted her for the entire year she has been alive.

Tell me she is better off in a strangers care. She’s not.

CIMG4826

Now, tell me where the rights are being made up?

My heart hurts. I am sick to my stomach. I have never been more passionate about anything in my entire life. My family’s life is hanging in the balance. My family is being affected and now, my mother’s instinct is on full blast.

I’m no longer worried about making friends. I am no longer worried about losing friends. I am no longer worried about offending people. I am no longer worried about being an outcast. I am worried about my family being accepted.

If you can’t get on board with that, I don’t need you in my life.

Realistic Expectations

So, usually, I have a reason for my posts, something that I want to talk about. Then my partner, K brought up that I don’t talk about the bad times. The times when I am so freaking overwhelmed with my life as a woman, a lesbian, a mother, a partner, a working mom, as a daughter, as a human being with injustices. I am always filled with love and butterflies when I talk about my daughter and our life as a family.

peyton2

 

Realistically, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows.

Realistically, it’s a hard road we travel on sometimes.

Realistically, it’s not always the easiest thing to come home from work.

Realistically, it’s not the happiest moment to go to work.

Realistically, I want to get married and have a protection set for my family if something happens to me. The weight on my shoulders, as the biological mother to our daughter, leaves me with stress and worry about something happening to me on a regular basis.

The what – if’s and the rants and the thoughts and the questions will never be satisfied until they come to pass. Until the day I can say, “Finally, our family is the same as yours.”

This stems from a lot of things, the Supreme Court hearings and the lack of sleep due to a teething toddler.

Mostly, it started when I realized,  our medical insurance is moving to a high deductible plan. This plan will be administered by the rules of the government. Which means, because K is not my tax dependent, I can’t cover her like I would be able to if she was a male. This isn’t the fault of the entity providing my insurance, they allow me to add my same-sex domestic partner on their coverage. However, the government will not recognize this.

My partner has a multitude of illnesses that require her therapy and prescriptions that we could not afford if we didn’t have insurance. We are seriously looking at the fact that we won’t have insurance for her soon. That is a scary thing. She’s the stay at home mommy and I am sure that not having her therapy and prescriptions will negatively affect her and Punky.

peyton3

So, yes, I am stressed out. Yes, I am worried. Yes, I am trying my best to hold that together, because I just don’t understand why things are so unfair. Why can’t we just have the same thing as married straight couples? Because GOD said it’s not right?

Has anyone actually had a conversation with GOD? Has GOD made my family’s well-being His personal mission? It’s okay to pick and choose what we feel GOD thinks is right or wrong and only use the pieces we like? When is that acceptable in any circumstance? It’s not.

I have no problems with anyone who believes in GOD. I have no problems with people who want to worship as they wish. But, just because I don’t believe the same thing you do, doesn’t mean I am not entitled to the same rights as you.

I am still a human being. I was still created by your GOD. I was still made in HIS image and should be afforded the same rights to happiness and kindness and love. At least, that’s what people in the church say.

GOD loves everyone. GOD made everyone. GOD doesn’t make mistakes. GOD can be the only judge. GOD is love and kindness and mercy.

And then, the church spits on me. Instead of treating me with love. Instead of saying I’m made in the way that god made me and the way I was supposed to be, everything happens for a reason. Was my being gay, specifically for me to go to HELL? Really? God made certain people to just punish them ultimately in the end?

That doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me.

 

This is my main stress in my life right now. Add on top of this the fact that we have a toddler going through a lot of changes. She is teething hardcore. She’s also been taken off of formula and drinks at bed.

Peytoncry

She has been moved to regular milk during the day, but we are trying to get her out of the habit of drinking something at bed. That’s been kind of a pain in the ass right now. But, mostly because she’s teething and I know that’s part of the problem.

It will pass. I’m sure. We got her teething necklace in the mail today, so I will be anxious to see if this amber necklace works. I’m curious to hear from other mamas who have tried them. I have heard nothing but good things about them.

Maybe soon, we can get back to this face:

peyton1

Seeing Red For Gay Marriage

CAM00483I  have been sitting glued to my computer screen with live updates on ABC all day. I am in a constant state of nausea and nervousness and I hear the decisions won’t even be made until June. I’m sitting here wearing my red t-shirt, in near tears from the overwhelming sea of red that I find on my Facebook feed from supporters in my own family and friends.

Proposition 8 (commonly known as Prop 8) is before the United States Supreme Court today, and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has its day tomorrow. I am on pins and needles, because these things seriously effect my family and it affects my daughter’s future.

The future of my child’s life is in the hands of someone else and it scares me to death. I am still overwhelmed by the different possibilities that may happen as a result of this monumental event.

I can only hope that it will go our way and we can be treated equal, finally. I am dreaming of a wedding. I am hoping for a marriage. I’m hoping to be treated like my family members, like my friends, like my co-workers.

It’s not about religion, it’s not about a GOD. It’s about human rights. It’s about real people, about the rights of my daughter. It’s about the stability of our family. It’s about dignity and about equality. It’s about loving thy neighbor. It’s about being compassionate.

It doesn’t matter your religious views. It doesn’t matter what you belief or don’t believe in religiously. It’s about what is right or wrong. It’s wrong to discriminate. It’s wrong to call me less of an American because of who I love. It’s wrong to tell my daughter her parents are less than normal. It’s wrong to pass judgement on another human being.

We all deserve to be treated equal. We all deserve to be loved. We all deserve to love one another.

Because I am so overwhelmed with this, I just don’t have the words to convey how much this impacts me. Instead, I have decided to let other people say it for me.

10 Ways DOMA Affects Families Like Mine

A Picture is Worth More Than Words

Equality Thoughts from my Straight Friend

How DOMA Hurts Real Families

And the one who said it the best today, was my very dear friend. I found this post on my Facebook wall, and I hope that he doesn’t mind that I stole it. It really puts all my thoughts and feeling into words I can’t really find.

***

“This week, I PRAY for the US Supreme Court Justices. I PRAY that of those who are Christian, they look to their morality and Jesus’ teaching that LOVE knows no bounds and all should be treated with respect, dignity, and LOVE. 

For all of the Justices, I pray they will use their internal knowing of what is right and wrong; as well as the Constitution and the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS as a guide. I PRAY they will remember that their job is a legal one and should not be swayed simply because of a belief they hold religiously. They have a LEGAL job to do. It is only God’s decision who shall be judged upon their sins – NOT that of a government, court, or, dare I say, the people. 

My prayers are with the nine HUMANS who have to make a decision about what is LEGALLY and MORALLY right; NOT what is RELIGIOUSLY right. I hope ALL Americans can respect that even if a decision is handed down that doesn’t match your RELIGIOUS beliefs, it is NOT a cause for you to be upset. This isn’t a question of RELIGION. It’s a question of HUMANITY.” — G.A.

***

So, with that, I put out my own hopes and dreams and I land them on the shoulders of 9 people. 9 people who can hand me equality or take it away. 9 people who can tell my daughter that she will be okay with her two mothers. 9 people who can say to the world, it’s time to stand up and treat our fellow Americans as one.

I’m no less and no more than you. My family is no less and no more than  you. I just want to be able to stand up and tell my daughter it’s okay to love and it’s okay to be who you are.

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.

**

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.

**

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.