Tuesday, February 5, 2008

haven't i been here before?

I went back to Cali this weekend for my sister's 40th birthday bash. The bash was Saturday and I stayed on Sunday before flying back to DC on Monday morning. I had hoped to have a nice, quiet Sunday with my family. But then again, it was Sunday which is the Lord's Day (and the day lots of devoted Catholics--including my mom and sis--go to church). I should've known that would cause some trouble.
My loyal blog peeps already know why I don't willingly go to church any more (in case you've missed it, I'm pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-condom usage, and anti-pedophiliac priests). So when it was time for my mom and sis to go to Church on Sunday afternoon, I told them that I wouldn't be going. Why? Because I'm sick of being a hypocrite.

Naturally, my mom wasn't happy about this. She tried to convince me to go to church, even went so far as to blame my generalized anxiety disorder on how I'm no longer close to the Lord. All I had to do was spend one hour a week with Him, that's all He asks. "The Lord welcomes the sinner into His home," she said, clearly implying that it's ok for me to go even if my relationship with the Church has become estranged. How nice.

The truth is that I still believe in God. I still believe that Jesus is His son. I still believe in basic Christian ideals (be good, give to the poor, etc). But I don't believe in all of the other things that the Church says I should believe in if I am to be a devout Catholic. I'm not a bad person, but apparently it's a sin for me to give out condoms while doing HIV testing (according to recent doctrine announced by Pope Benedict). I believe that all people should be treated equally and fairly, yet my gay friends cannot get married or express themselves physically.

So I explained the following to my mom: "The Church says that all of these things that I strongly believe in are wrong. That promoting condoms is a sin. That homosexuality is a sin. Well, I don't believe that. In order to be forgiven for my sins, I need to be sorry for them. Well, I'm not sorry for believing that gays should be allowed to marry. I'm not sorry for handing out condom packets when I do outreach."

My sister pitched in and offered her theory that I view this issue from a political lens--as if my refusal to go to Church is a protest of some sort. Yes, that's true. If I go to Mass and sit there in silence, I feel that I am supporting this. By not going, I won't be supporting the Church and it's teachings. I explained to my sister that the Church's teachings are out of date with the times. Unless the Church evolves and catches up with the rest of the world, then I won't support it.

"Ok then. You're an adult. It's your decision. You know how mom and I feel," my sister said. My mom continued to plead her case and convince me to go with them. I sat there and listened out of courtesy. But my mom already knows how stubborn I can be.

Yes, I am an adult. And it is my decision. And I'll continue to develop my own relationship with God

I just wish my family would truly respect that.


Aileen said...

Kudos to you! I can relate to how difficult it is to stand up to family when it comes to religion. I recently admitted to my very Catholic parents that I'm not a Christian.
I think ultimately God simply wants us to be good to each other, and good to ourselves (which also means being true to ourselves!)

lizzie said...

aileen--thanks for the praise, but i can't take much credit. this rebellion has been a LONG time coming.

i completely agree with you. sometimes i think that organized religion is just a method to encourage people to be good and do good things. congrats to you to sticking up to your parents!