sent in by Bob
I would like to share some of my personal experiences from the "Christian right". I was born in the late fifties. My mother converted to a pretty extreme sect within the Baptist religion when I was two years old. At the tender age of five, I was afforded the opportunity of salvation so that, when I die, I could go to heaven and play with the snakes, lions and tigers in eternal bliss. The alternative would be, of course, an eternity of damnation in the scorching hot fires and brimstone of HELL. I chose playing with the snakes, lions and tigers.
This form of the Baptist religion had very stringent interpretations of the bible and the pastor(s) loved to share them with the congregation. One moment (shall I say one side of his mouth), the pastor would talk about the eternal patience and (what seemed to be) unconditional love for every living creature on earth by our creator and in the very next moment, would pound his fist on the podium and declare the vengefulness of our creator and his determination to crush, destroy and cast into the eternal lake-of-fire anyone who did not do exactly as that pastor had dictated in his interpretations of the bible - which, of course, would be going against the direct will of God. In those days, rock-and-roll music (especially the Beatles) was sinful and dancing was a creation of Satan to distract the faithful onto a path straight to hell. I was taught to hate hippies, bikers, gays (especially), fornicators - basically anyone who did not walk and talk like the members of this form of Baptists. Oh, you might like this, my sister and I would cry in church because my Father, who was a Catholic and who would happen to agree to attend this Baptist church that day, did not did not drop to his knees, confess his wickedness and beg for forgiveness for being a Catholic. You see, all Catholics were going to hell because of their non-baptist beliefs.
One of the Baptist's quotes was "spare the rod and spoil the child". My mother had an extremely short fuse and made sure she did not "spoil " her children. The belt was the usual weapon of choice, followed up by a broomstick when I was older. I cannot explain the horrors inflicted on my sister. My "handle" on this website is "Son of Carries' Mother". "Carrie" was a Stephen King novel, turned movie. Anyone who has seen that movie knows about Carries' Mom. While not a direct mirror image, my mom was pretty close to her in her conviction, methods and opinions on society in general. I was the laughing stock of my high school. I had short hair in the seventies, was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and I wore a flight jacket - my goal was to become a bomber pilot (except I wore glasses). It wasn't until my mom died in my senior year of high school did I start to grow my hair and go to parties - for the six months I had left.
I graduated high school in 1977. I immediately joined the Army and served for six years. My first enlistment was as a Military Police dog handler. I reenlisted to be a crew chief on a UH-1H helicopter, which I did for a year in South Korea. Upon return to the U.S., I was reassigned as an MP. In one practice drill at my last post (Fort Ord, 1982), we rehearsed advancing our dogs onto a bunch of "hippie, pinko, peace protesters" who were scheduled to visit Fort Ord in that year - fortunately for them (and my own mental state) they never came on post and I never had to feed them to my dog. I think that our commanders called it "riot control". If my social skills did not develop very well in high school, they were completely destroyed by the time I left the Army.
Luckily, through the help of my father and the GI bill, I was able to attend college. A community college at first, then San Francisco State University (a site of many Vietnam War protest). I became friends with gays, hippies, bikers and people from other races. All of them much more "real" than the people I experienced in the first half of my life. I studied Buddhism and "liberal studies", such as Political Science. I have spent the last twenty-two years trying to put my life together, with some luck. Just trying to make sex a "normal" part of life without a bundle of issues, is a challenge sometimes. Some people have commented that, with my past, it was a good thing that I did not end up like one of those guys with a rifle in a tower somewhere.
One of my favorite "crazy notions" from the Christian right is their disdain for "Educated Idiots". Another one that always impeded my life was: if you did something good, "God let it happen"; if you did something bad, then the "Devil Made You Do it". You were not allowed to succeed and you really couldn't fail - you were not allowed to have ANY confidence or to be human. Jerry Falwell, Jim Baker (who can forget Tammy Faye and the air-conditioned doghouses. That's right, I helped pay for one) and Jimmy Swaggert are not the exception - they are the rule! The lunatic ravings, contradictions and apparent sociopathic leanings (let's pray for the death of liberal judges) of Pat Robertson is exactly who they are! They continue to destroy people's lives. They talk about the impending Apocalypse - they are not waiting for it - they are creating it! Karl Rove and King George II with their corporate demons are destroying the planet and pushing us toward all out nuclear confrontation. I was stationed in South Korea - the North Koreans "don't play"!!! Go ahead, keep getting us deeper in with the Chinese - they don't play, either. The Apocalypse may very well be upon us and we will have the Christian right to thank for it - hey, you already ruined my life, why not ruin it some more!
My sister has told me that when she dies, she has no desire to go to any "heaven" where our mother may reside - any alternative is good for my sister. I have to agree. If there is any justice in this universe all of the so-called "Christians" of the "Christian right (AKA wrong)", especially the politicians (you know who you are) will not have your seat at the right hand of God for all of the misery and suffering that you have created in this world - especially that which is yet to come!
Why do I think that Christianity may be a hoax played on the poor and middle class? If George W. Bush and all of his evil cronies really believed in the existence of Jesus and God in the way that it is explained by their fundamentalist friends (more cronies), there is no way that they will get a pass from burning in hell for eternity for all of the misery they have caused in this world. Why do they think it is okay to kill innocent Iraqis, especially after lying out their ass about why we needed to go to war in the first place? Why is it okay to use racism and class-ism to decide who gets to live and die, may I remind you of Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, Iraqis (again), and the terrible conditions in Africa. Do they really think that God is really happy in the way that they are raping the earth and destroying the environment in the name of corporate greed? How about that Jack Abramoff guy? Wow, Ralph Reed really put a stop to that evil Indian gambling, didn't he? Oh, right, he (allegedly) did it for money... Do they really think that God hates gays in the same way that they do, even though it was God that made them that way? No, it is not a lifestyle choice - I am not gay, but I have actually had conversations with gay (dare I call them) friends and I have come to understand things from their perspective. If you aren't already angry, go to: www.godhatesfags.com - they don't even like the beautiful, neutral, passive people of Sweden.
How old were you when you became a Christian? 5
How old were you when you ceased being a Christian? Hard to Say
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Jesus Freak Bible Baptist Fundamentalist
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Long Hair Hippie Liberal from California
Why did you become a Christian? Scared to death at the age of 5
Why did you de-convert? It ruined my life - I still have scars. Christianity is a form of child abuse.