Monday, March 15, 2010

A Weird Turn

I went to a private Catholic high school where the only atheists I knew were me and two of the girls I dated. It was not all Catholics, but it was predominantly Christian, with many denominations represented. There’s no way us three were the only atheists, but I only knew they were atheists because we were close enough to talk about it. This shows part of the problem.

Atheism was shunned at my school. No one was beat up over it, but there were altercations and times when things were thrown at me (nothing harmful), solely because I was an atheist or spoke up when I “shouldn’t uv.” Of course, there wasn’t much else about me worth mocking, and it certainly wasn’t a horrible daily routine. I didn’t feel persecuted or oppressed, but it was irritating how intrusive all the religious rituals, prayers, and other garbage could be for those of us who just wanted an education.

And God forbid you question anything. It wasn’t always teachers enforcing this stuff; it was usually students. There was strange Puritanical peer pressure. Let’s put it this way: my school was so conservative, I actually got made fun of once for PDA. Apparently hugging your girlfriend in the hall is inappropriate for 17 year olds. I was stuck living in the fucking 1950’s.

My school required we take a religion class every year. The first year was a comprehensive look at world religions, and the next three years were variously themed kumbayah sessions where we talked about our “spirituality.” This was basically an opportunity for the Christian majority to alienate anyone who didn’t agree with them in discussion. People of other religions spoke up without criticism, which is a good thing, but I was the only atheist out of over twenty kids in every one of the three years I faced this curriculum.

This was where I honed my chops. This is where I learned to stand up to a group of people and tell them point-blank to their face: you’re wrong. It’s really effortless online. I don’t even have to mask my contempt for you people (yeah I fucking said “you people,” you dirty, unwashed masses; go back to your fucking couches and reality shows if you have a fucking problem with it).

And it wasn’t easy. For one thing, I was newly skeptical. I wasn’t agnostic, but I was not completely sure of my atheism. All I knew was that I wasn’t Catholic, I felt nothing for any sort of personal God that my evangelical friends told me about, and Buddhism was for fags. Of course, those are my words then, not my words now… now I would say Buddhism is for “spiritual, but not religious” people (though one of my two Buddhist friends was gay).

What is the proper response when a teacher writes in your required diary entries which they “grade”: “Those who stand for nothing will surely fall for anything.” Nowadays, I would have told that bitch I won’t stand for that shit and that she can go sit and spin. Maybe if she didn’t drink, her son wouldn’t have been the weird kid who mutters to himself in the corner while banging his head against the wall. [True story.]

If you wonder why I’m not civil and polite and patient and kind when speaking on matters of faith, it may have something to do with the fact that I was “Heil Hitler” saluted by another student in an “Ethics” themed class discussion. The topic? Abortion. Apparently supporting a woman’s right to control her own body is tantamount to a fetal Holocaust. Never mind their laughable support of the racially biased genocide they euphemize as “capital punishment,” or the actual defense of the Vietnam War that I heard stuttered through countless ums and likes.

I’ve not only peaked inside the Christian world, I leered at it day after day from across the table. I didn’t have my thumb on the pulse of Conservative America, I had my needle in its vein. I got a real good sample, and I am torn between terror and violent outrage at the extremist douchebags that the conservative right not only harbors, but encourages. The Right makes things personal, and turns out… it worked.

Fuck political correctness. Fuck the Democrats who want to negotiate. The Right is claiming the Democrats are shoving healthcare down our throats. Great! If I were the Dems, I’d not only shove it down their throat, I’d grease them up, stick it in their asses, and I certainly wouldn’t forget to pull their hair.

For fuck’s sake, why do we bother to elect Democrats if they don’t do a damn thing? When these pussies got picked on, they’re the ones who cowered in a corner and told themselves the bullies were just compensating for something. These guys are such bleeding-heart push-overs, they have sympathy for their tormenters. That is way too Jesus-y for me. What you’re supposed to do is kick the bully in the balls, sleep with his girlfriend, and pour sugar in his car’s gas tank. If you don’t want to cook, get the fuck out of the kitchen. You gotta break a few eggs to make a fucking omelet, and maybe some of those eggs were just for fun.

This whole post seems like the situation of my generation. Everything seemed fairly focused, but it really takes a weird turn and now I have no idea what to do. I feel like this might be generation “I’m angry and I don’t know what to do.”


  1. It's funny how the tone of this blog got progressively more angry as you went.

    Maybe you got riled up as you wrote it? Nothing wrong with that, just noticed it is all. I liked hearing about your good old days at Catholic school. I went to a Catholic Bible camp once and a bell rang and all the kids playing outside all ran up to the chapel.

    I had no clue what mass was at that age, I was only six or seven mind you, and I was a Protestant. I shrugged, went down to the lake, and saw one of the camp counselors sitting on the end of the dock dangling her feet in the water and reading something. I approached her and she saw me and asked her to sit by her. She was reading Calvin & Hobbes. She never asked why I didn't go to mass. She probably didn't even care. She talked to me, I remember her putting her arm around me, my face pressing up against her bosom, her blond hair brushing up against my face as I leaned against her, and then we just read comics until noon. She smelled good too.

    And that's all I remember of Bible camp. That and my bunk mate pissed his pants one night.

    The next day my Catholic buddies were all like, where were you yesterday? And I said I was hanging out with the cute camp counselor. They were all jealous for the next three days. It was awesome.

    I guess not all my "religious" experiences were bad. But sitting there with a hot young blond girl on a warm summer day was hell of a lot more religious experience for a young boy than going to any chapel. That much I know, for sure.

  2. Geenks
    Nothing is better than a Catholic H.S. education or experience. I still get shivers down my spine when I see a girl in a plaid skirt. Plus we beat the shit out of all the public schools in football year after year. Also we were getting out of school or at least class to go to Mass any time a Catholic Holy day rolled around.
    Working Church festivals or BINGO with your friends while meeting in the parking lot to drink warm beer. Ahh, them were the good ole days. I don't think we had any atheists, we did have a Jewish kid named Will. And he was tormented for "killing Christ" etc. But actually was a very popular kid.

    T-Vick, "My face pressing up against her bosom" Damn playa, and you didn't become Catholic?

    Late, feeno

  3. I like your attitude towards religion. Keep it up!

  4. Tristan, good thing that camp counselor wasn't a guy, huh?


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