Growing up in a Catholic family is not easy. Even small children are expected to be perfect. We were told over and over again that Catholicism was the only true religion; established by Jesus Christ shortly before His crucifixion. Fear of going to hell convinced us that we must never commit a mortal sin. More than once I wet my pants in the confessional.
However, there were positive effects. I was raised by a single mother with the assistance of my maternal grandparents and one uncle. They stressed one virtue which became my guide for life, known as the ‘golden rule;’ “do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” For me this simply means “always do the right thing.”
My grandfather stressed one other suggestion; religion is personal and it should never be discussed in public. Always keep private matters private.
These simple rules are why I claim that the Christian Religious Right; primarily evangelicals; are not truly Christians. These white men and women act in a completely opposite manner to the teachings of Jesus Christ. They are judgmental, arrogant, and condescending. Refusing to allow others to live their lives as they believe is a sin; and Jesus would tell them so.
Then there is a group of evangelicals who are “bat shit crazy.” They call themselves “End of Time” evangelicals. They not only believe that the end of the world is near, they are excited about their belief. Wait; it gets better. They love Donald Trump because they believe that he will be the impetus for the “end of time.” I can’t make this shit up.
There have always been fake Christians who deny the ideas of “peace and love.” These individuals are more interested in one prophecy; the second coming of Jesus Christ. “They don’t necessarily want violence, but they’re eager for Christ to return and they think that this war with Iran and Israel has to happen for their larger hope to pass,” a religious historian told Mother Jones reporter Stephanie Mencimer.
I had the opportunity to study several religions when I was younger. Most have some rather controversial beliefs, but none as “wacky” as those of Christians.
The best-known books in the religious world are the Tora, the Quran, and the two Bibles; one known as the “King James Version.” Jews, Muslims, and Christians all have splinter groups who are extreme. Christians are the most interesting; splinter groups are numerous and each has interpreted the Bible according to the personal beliefs of their leaders.
The most interesting thing about ‘Christians’ is that they share one doctrine. The teachings of priests and ministers must be accepted as fact. When there is no foundation for many of these “facts,” church members are told that they are “matters of faith.” Even as a small child I never believed in fairytales.
Here’s my biggest problem with most Christians. No one can claim to be a ‘Christian’ if they do not believe in the New Testament; the teachings of Jesus Christ. The CRR is more concerned with money and power than spreading love and peace. Every Republican who cast a ballot influenced by a lobbyist from the CRR is violating the Constitution. The first amendment promises that our nation will never be controlled by a single religion.
I am, and have been for most of my adult life, a man who rejects organized religion. I have a strong sense of what is right and wrong. I reject all prejudices although sometimes I’ve had to work very hard not to have preconceived ideas about other men and women until I get to know them. I attempt to be a more spiritual person every day and do not need guidance from another man about how to achieve my goal.
The truth is; I am one of nearly 80 million Americans who do not consider themselves “religious.” I thank my grandfather for teaching me about the “golden rule;” it will always be my guide as I struggle through this life.
“The Truth Lives Here”
Op-ed by James Turnage
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