Ouch! I just got hit with drive-by religion!

April 12, 2007 | By | 17 Replies More

There I was, minding my own business, when WHAM! I was damned to hell. Thankfully, my salvation is being actively prayed for, so maybe, just maybe, I still have a chance.

OK, well, perhaps “minding my own business” is a bit of truth-stretch. I was actually stirring a pot, just a little. Not sure why; I guess I found myself momentarily bored with all this academic writing I’m doing in the throes of the end of the semester and thought I’d wander around trolling for an argument. Er, discussion, I mean.

Background: As my profile states, my primary function in life is to be the mother of two daughters, both of whom happen to have been born in China. They are perfect, by the way, just in case anyone wondered. But the oldest is fast approaching her teen years (ACK!) and most of our time is spent butting heads in that proverbial, old-as-time mother-daughter way.

ANYWAY, I have remained a member of our adoption agency’s Yahoo group for years, often serving as a reference for the agency or a “buddy family” for someone traversing the adoption process. I enjoy it, and since we’ve been a family for 11+ years now, I can sometimes offer adoptive parenting advice. That’s the other thing about my oldest – she examines every emotion and every aspect of her life with a microscope and a fine-toothed comb. We’ve had every conceivable adoption/missing birthfamily/looking different conversation known to humankind. So I share. Usually, my thoughts are met with appreciation, or people ignore me. Not so this time.

The agency we used is openly based on Christian principles. This was never discussed during our adoption process other than being noted in the initial information packet. No one ever preached to us. We were extremely satisfied with all aspects of the process. The first time this religion thing became an issue for me personally was just a couple of years ago, long after both of our adoptions were final. A fellow adoptive parent and friend went to work for the agency, and confided in me at one point that she was uncomfortable with all the praying going on at work. They prayed during staff meetings. She was a Christian, but Catholic, which apparently many *other* Christians don’t actually consider Christian. I had no idea.

Regardless, it bothered her and I empathized that it would bother me as well. She went on to tell me that when she had been hired for the job, she was asked to sign a statement of faith. Because she does consider herself a Christian, she signed it, but wasn’t terribly comfortable with it. She left the job soon after, and we both went about our lives.

Over the last couple of days, in some thread of discussion on the group’s message board, this topic of the agency being “faith-based” was mentioned. A former employee and fellow adoptive parent confirmed that it is true, and in her response mentioned the aforementioned statement of faith. Many weighed in – it’s a big deal, it’s not a big deal. It bothers one, doesn’t bother another.

I weighed in on the bothered side, not that they were a faith-based agency but that they would limit their potential employee pool this way. I gave the example of a friend of mine, a social worker, who had expressed interest in applying there for a job awhile back. I told her that she would be phenomenal, but I also warned her of what I’d heard, telling her not to be too disappointed if she was not hired; she is Jewish.

A couple of others were also bothered by this whole employment issue. We all understood that it was certainly the agency’s right to do this, we merely expressed our disappointment that they’d made such a choice. Back and forth we went, around and around again. But the entire discussion, even though there were obviously two diametrically opposed sides, was respectful and unfettered by ugliness. The board moderator posted that currently no one is being asked to sign such a statement, and there are non-Christians working for the agency at this time. Cool.

But a bit of the ugliness crept in when one poster insisted that those of us who felt excluded had no right to feel that way – unless we’d applied for a job there and been turned down.

I responded by saying that telling anyone how to feel was presumptious if not outright rude, and that all I was saying was “it hurts my heart to know that wonderful people would not be allowed to work there because they will not sign a statement of faith in Jesus. As if non-Christians are not capable of doing the job in an ethical, caring manner. That, to me, is very disappointing.”

Another poster added, “it saddens me to think that there are probably some extremely qualified, equally wonderful people who would be assets to *** and its families who won’t get that chance. And the families won’t get a chance to benefit from a truly diverse staff and their valuable perspectives.”

We both reiterated how appreciative we were of this agency that created our families, and how we still believe they are one of the best agencies in existence.

When suddenly, out of lurk-mode, a waiting parent sped by and shot this onto the board:

“it saddens me to think that there are probably some extremely qualified, equally wonderful people who would be assets to HEAVEN and the kingdom who won’t get that chance. And the kingdom family won’t get a chance to benefit from a truly diverse and valuable perspectives. There is only one way y’all. I pray for the salvation of every lost person.
In God’s love-
S*****
Christians-we can do more good praying then typing! Let’s commit to that, how about it?
Read Matt. 7:6 (ya know what i mean?)”

OUCH! That one stung. Several of us pointed out that comments like that are exactly what make non-Christians wary of anything that openly professes to be Christian. Nothing like being told your soul is lost. We also told her not to waste her prayers on heathens like us who don’t desire salvation.

I predict she will be another one whapping her son in the head one day for not believing in God. Oh, wait, it’s Jesus she’ll be ranting about. Sorry. Gotta keep the story straight. You have to excuse me, I’m still shaken from the impact.

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Category: Bigotry, Religion

About the Author ()

I am a writer and communication professional in St. Louis, Missouri, a crafter of jewelry, a disorganized optimist and most importantly, the adoptive mom of two China-born daughters.

Comments (17)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Mindy: Better not read Matthew 7:6, or you'll really be perturbed by that drive-by scripture shooter. Actually, here it is:

    Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    I did need to look up "rend" to be certain of its meaning: "to tear something apart."  I'm still trying to figure out the tone of that letter, because it seems to be all over the board. Here's how I read it:

    1. To hell with all the non-Christians who want jobs here (in a figurative sense).

    2. To hell with all the non-Christians who want jobs here (in a literal sense).

    3. I'm praying for people like Mindy.

    4. [re the reference to Matt 7:6] People like Mindy are like dogs.

    5. Don't waste your time sharing God's wisdom with people like Mindy–it's like throwing pearls to pigs.

    6. Let's coordinate a spiritual attack on people like Mindy, before she and her friends tear us apart when they attack us like wild dogs.

    7. Amen!

    8. PS (this is reading between the lines a bit). Let's go "save" some more of those Chinese orphans by bringing them here to America to Christianize them so that they can grow up to be like us!

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    What bothers me most about holier-than-thou Christians is when they presume to know who will go to heaven and who will not, and when they eagerly shove this presumption into other peoples' faces. If heaven exists and is full of these sanctimonious pontificators, then it would not be a place where I would want to spend eternity.

  3. Mindy Carney says:

    Erich, you nailed it. I'm damned, they will pray for me to follow them, but if I don't, well, they won't waste their time actually speaking to me in the meantime. Which is good, actually.

    And yes, Grumpy – who wants to hang out with that ilk for eternity anyway?? Ugh.

    I will add that most of the self-identified Christian folk in that group are not ugly and confrontational, but man, when one jumps in . . . .

    The moderator has called a 24-hour cooling off period for the group – we're NOT supposed to get cranky!! I may have to just move on . . .

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    One of the most telling signs of an inferiority complex is the obsessive need to convince others of ones superiority. If fundamentalists really were secure in their faith, they wouldn't have such a driving need to convince others of their inherent superiority (heaven-boundedness). Christians like that could learn a thing or two about humility by studying Confucius or Buddha.

  5. Vicki Baker says:

    The scandal is that agencies that discriminate like this can be eligible for federal aid thanks to Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives.

  6. Ben says:

    “it hurts my heart to know that wonderful people would not be allowed to work there because they will not sign a statement of faith in Jesus. As if non-Christians are not capable of doing the job in an ethical, caring manner. That, to me, is very disappointing.”

    Them's fightin' words! Only true Christians are capable of true love. (snicker)

  7. Tim Hogan says:

    Perhaps in religion, as in life, we just have to take the difficult in stride.

    Some are of this world, not just in this world. I'll pray and love them for who they are and for who they are not.

    Mindy, you seem to be a kind and gentle soul, peace be to you and yours always.

  8. Ben says:

    Sorry if that really shook you Mindy, but I think you got what you were looking for… A peek at the dark side. If it's any consolation, I have offically donated you my soul. Do with it as you please, although it is kind of damaged and wearing thin around the edges from the recent years of rabid atheism. (No returns, AS IS, manufacturers warranty void.)

    Here is part of a recent interview with the now prominent "friendly atheist", who found his truth using his strong curiousity…

    "I didn't tell anyone. Late at night, I'd go online and try to look up what stuff meant. And basically everything kind of led to atheism—if you don't believe in the supernatural and you don't believe in God, then you're an atheist. I didn't know much about atheism, just that "it was bad." The more I kept reading though, the more sense it made—that morals come not from a book, but from your learning and your daily interaction with people."

    "Clearly, most churches have aligned themselves against non-religious people. By adopting this stance, Christians have turned off the people I would think they want to connect with. The combative stance I've observed is an approach that causes people to become apathetic—and even antagonistic—toward religion as a whole. Many evangelical pastors seem to perceive just about everything to be a threat against Christianity. Evolution is a threat. Gay marriage is a threat. A swear word uttered accidentally on television is a threat. Democrats are a threat. I don't see how any of these things pose a threat against Christianity. If someone disagrees with you about politics or social issues or the matter of origins, isn't that just democracy and free speech in action? Why do Christians feel so threatened?"

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/article

    See how much fun it is to be completely free of His bonds, or at least to pretend that we are? (sorry oh Lord for I have sinned, if you are listening, hehe)

    I just now stumbled upon the baconeatingatheistjew… my kindred spirit?
    http://baconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com/2006/09

  9. Ben says:

    Holy cow, I hadn't put 2+2 together on what "faith based initiatives" meant. Seems like all one needs these days is a good acronym or a catchy name like "no child left behind" or "surge" or a silkscreen like "pope" to slip some ridiculous idea under the (my) radar.

    http://baconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com/2007/04

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/04/the_po

  10. projektleiterin says:

    Ha, I grew up in in a very Catholic area, but my parents are not from here and only my dad is Catholic, my mom is Buddhist. Religion is a compulsory subject, which you do not have to attend if you are not Christian, but somehow due to my dad I ended up having it in my class-schedule and getting to know our parish priest. He tried a couple of times to convince me mom to let me convert and even had the guts to call me a little heathen – yeah, go and kiss my whatever. 😀 I think my mom told him in more polite words that she was not interested.

    I sincerely believe if there is a Christian God out there, he will forgive me for being skeptical of his existence and just judge by my overall lifestyle. I absolutely do not understand what is so important about faith that not having it makes you such a bad person.

  11. Skblllzzzz says:

    "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

    As I read it the rending would be done by the swine, which they are known to be able to.

    "I sincerely believe if there is a Christian God out there, he will forgive me for being skeptical of his existence and just judge by my overall lifestyle."

    I wonder where the need for all this judging originates. Maybe our own tendency to judge others all the time calls for an über-judge to make our own judging look not too bad (and gain some power over others in the process)?

    I think there is no relation between the supposed existence of gods and a possible continuation of life after material death. If fields containing our being would continue to be maintained, that would be physics, no gods needed for that.

  12. Erika Price says:

    I really wonder about this crusading-poster's mindset. The choice to stop posting, and instead pray for a person's wellbeing sounds like a cop-out- you don't have to make any intellectual investment or really any effort at all if you just tell yourself to leave someone alone and pray for them.

    At the same time, this poster's comment doesn't totally smack of hostility. They say, at least, that they want people like you in heaven. He/she could very well have just regurgitated typically holier-than-thou trash by wishing you well. At the same time, they also might sincerely believe those supposed christian ideals of tolerance and love, and in his/her warped worldview, had just done you a great favor.

  13. Mary Jo says:

    Oh, Min, this is exactly why I stopped posting to these groups. I may go as far to say that I even stopped "lurking" because my sense of outrage would make me put pen to paper, or uh, keystroke to screen. Whatever. There are people in that group, dare I say in this world, who would never "agree to disagree", that's just too distasteful for them. Always get a leg up on the other guy, yep, that's what they want to do. And, knowingly, I mean knowingly go for the cheap shot just to put you down there where you belong. Religion, faith, beliefs, etc. are very personal things. To even slightly intimate to someone that you'll go to hell if you don't believe what I believe is truly crappy. I go to church regularly, sing in my choir, teach CCD (still can't tell you what those letters stand for), and help out at church when I can. And still, I can come home after having praised the Lord, get aggravated and spill a few choice words around. Sort of defeating the purpose but hey, that's Mary Jo with all her human flaws. I'm not going to church to get to Heaven, maybe Hell has more comfortable seats and I do like my fanny to be comfortable. I go because I get a sense of peace, even if for one hour. I go because I like to sing. I go because I LIKE it. Tim, you are right, Mindy is a kind and gentle soul. She speaks up for what she believes in and more importanly, respects and believes in the right for others to speak their minds as well. I've known that for more than 11 years since we first met in person in an airplane bound for China. I knew that when we planned our second adoptions together. See ya this summer, Min, and continue to give 'em hell.

  14. Ben says:

    "…to stop posting, and instead pray for a person’s well being…"

    I see it as a sneaky way of sounding politically correct while advocating throwing somebody in a heap with the rest of the heathens.

  15. "I wonder where the need for all this judging originates. Maybe our own tendency to judge others all the time calls for an über-judge to make our own judging look not too bad (and gain some power over others in the process)?"

    If there is a judge, there is justice. If there is no justice, life would really really suck. All the good things you have done, but really hated doing, would have been done in vain. All the bad things that have happened to you would have no consequences and go unpunished. Having a final judge means having some meaning despite everything in a seemingly chaotic universe ruled by randomness.

  16. mindy carney says:

    But, but, but . . . why, projekt, can't the "judge" simply be internal? Why can't the good things we do in life be enjoyed (even if we hated the doing) for the result, for the happiness, or lack of unhappiness, it gave to someone else? Or simply the satisfaction that we did something useful?

    I would like to live in a very simplified version of the world today, thankyouverymuch. Maybe tomorrow I'll be back to relishing the complicated nature of life.

  17. gatomjp says:

    The need for judging comes from the same place as the need to create different religions in the first place.

    People need to feel like they are a part of something…a tribe. But this tribe wouldn't be worth anything if it wasn't somewhat exclusive, so everyone not in the tribe are dogs and swine. Taking it one step further, if you're not one of us you're not allowed in our heavenly clubhouse either! Bleah! (sound of a tongue being stuck out)

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