I go to church as a practice of irony. I don't believe in much, certainly not a loving father deity. But I enjoy the commonness of it all. How run of the mill it seems. And there isn't much else to do on a Sunday day morning.
Whenever I find myself sinking into my vaguely religious malaise, however, the deacon or priest starts talking off the cuff, and I remember why I quit the church in the first place. I cannot stand justifying marginalization of people; equally I cannot stand hyperbole of one's own marginal status.
Here is the scale I go by:
If you can't get married, vote, or adopt a child because of someone else's religious belief--you've got a serious problem.
If you cannot get a job because of the color of your skin--you've got a serious problem.
If you're mad because more people don't think that your beliefs should dictate how my wife and I control our reproduction--you need to go to Gaza, and gain some perspective on what marginalization really is.
I had to fight rolling my eyes as the deacon spoke of how, "Taking up the religious life" can lead to being, "ostracized by the family." My question is this: In what family does this happen?
Maybe it's just mine, but getting decked out in Jesus never lost anyone friends or relatives. Being Gay will, and has twice. Being an Atheist and later an Agnostic certainly gave me no brownie points, and my dabbling in Buddhism has been met in mockery.
Maybe it never came up, but being religious in a country still reeking in Judea-Christian tradition isn't really grounds for this kind of treatment. Being a jerk about it is, just as it is for everything else, and I think the herein the difference lies.
Just as we should be able to respect our differences, we should be able to be friends or associates without constant Evangelization or Anti-Evangelization. Have you been saved? or announcing that I shouldn't buy my Quarter Pounder with Cheese on Good Friday isn't how you make friends. It is how you pull yourself away.
Separation of person and church is possible. Jesus can come to dinner. He doesn't have to be doing a tap dance on my burrito. The fact is this: friends and family should know where to stop. Everyday doesn't have to be conversion day, nor does it need to be mock religion day.
That's all from Elliott in the Pew and needing a Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale.