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A couple of things bother me today.
Yesterday, had a lovely lunch with my daughter, my best friend, and my sister. Alcohol and other things were involved and as usual it ends with my sister yelling at the top of her voice at me because she disagrees with me politically. My friend sits there bemused and the exchanges sends my daughter outside to smoke. Meanwhile everyone in the neighborhood can hear the exchange which is embarrassing. Should I have stopped it? Yes. Did I? No, because old habits die hard. You see, my sister is a Christian fundie racist who listens to Glenn Beck and believes all the apocalyptic things the quasi-Christian/Republican right says on the radio/fox news/etc. I used to be just like her. I believed all the doom and gloom stories that I was fed, was a racist, and wanted everyone to just leave me alone so I could do with my money as I saw fit.
Then I met someone on the other side of the world with a loving, compassion about them who challenged me. I also deconverted from a Christianity like my sister’s that blames people for the circumstances they are in without ever thinking “there but for the grace of God…” I no longer mix my politics and my religion. My personal ethic is based on “been there, done that” to the extent that my sister’s never will. I believe politics has to hit home somehow before the reality of what you are espousing sinks in. She says she’s not a bigot, yet rails on about blacks who come to the ER to get their drug fixes. I challenge her on it, but she says she’s right because she sees it. I said that doesn’t mean the whole world is that way and we had a few white people in our small town blowing themselves up in meth labs. We went round and round. Still, when I left that particular brand of Christianity and began listening to something more hopeful, more helpful, and less rugged “screw everybody else” individualism, I became a better person.
This ideological transformation didn’t happen overnight and I still harbor some of the same awful beliefs from that time, but I fight it and anyone who challenges me on it from a racist, fundie standpoint. They can keep their bigoted religious viewpoint if they want, but trying to get them to see without those tinted eyeglasses on seems a lost cause to me. What set this off? My suggestion to my sister that we’d all be better off if we had a system of health care that helped everyone not just the extortionist insurance industry. My sister is a nurse, and boy did that hit a nerve. Why? I don’t know. But she’s been “Beck-ified.” I wish I could say that her ideas aren’t typical, but sadly they are typical in the type of churches we hale from. These types of christians have not been converted to Jesus, but to a type of christo-facist nationalism that equates personal wealth and individualism with salvation, none of which Jesus personally preached.
She later apologized for yelling but “not for her viewpoints.” Of course not. That would mean changing one’s views, which requires a great deal of introspection and humility and an ability to admit when we are wrong. Pretty much in short supply in America these days.
And the other thing that bothered me today? …. er…I forgot.