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It’s Time to Separate Church and Hate

Separation of church and state would be nice; tossing out the hate would be even better.

Recently I joined a Unitarian Universalist group of homeschoolers on the web. Am I one of these people? I could see myself being a member, attending services, doing projects with my daughter. I’d love for her to have that kind of a close, loving group of people to hang around and learn from growing up—especially since the only things I gained from my own childhood church experiences were drug and pedophile dodging skills. No joke; the churches we went to had at least one of these things.

I used to condemn all churches, but I am starting to get a bit of their appeal. For one thing, there’s the architecture, which I fully appreciate—though much of it, I maintain, was built in blood and we need to recall that, too. But another is that I’ve been meeting more people who support women, who support gays, and who condemn these attacks that the Republicans are making on both. I actually saw a sign outside one church recently—I wish I’d taken a picture!—that advocated gay marriage and taking out the hate from churches everywhere. I can’t remember the actual sentiment verbatim, but my husband and I both did double-takes, gaping at the sign. Could it be real?

The problem is that I still know more hate-mongering church-goers than not. I know people who make jokes about hanging gays (or anyone with non-white skin), who insist that marriage is between one man and one woman (yet I don’t see them picketing Mormons—or Showtime, for that matter), who think that not only is abortion murder, but now that birth control is as well, since the Republicans have made the issue such a loud one. I sometimes wonder if someone is going to find my pack of Sprintec and demand my sentence for involuntary manslaughter; it doesn’t seem far at the rate we are currently going.

What churchgoers need to recall, however, is that their supposed Lord and Savior (whom I maintain as perhaps the first hippie, as well as a total romantic with his lover, Mary Magdalene—who, by the way, was not a prostitute) wasn’t this foul, hate-filled being, but a man who loved his enemies, who died passively rather than acting like a loud, obnoxious Rush Limbaugh; he was kind to everyone, a friend to the poor and the lepers, and abhorred the rich. Does this sound familiar?