I come to this fantastic community today to share, not my own story, but my older sister Cara's.
Cara and I were born, two years apart, to a devout Protestant family. I clearly remember waking early each and every Sunday morning so that our mother could curl our hair and choose frilly outfits for us to wear to church. Our malleable young heads were drilled with images of Dante's version of Hell and a horrific, horned Satan with red skin and a trident.
Church camp was a requirement every summer. While our public school friends frolicked in the playgrounds and pools, Cara and I were waking up at 6:00 a.m. to memorize Bible verses and gospel songs in a shared bunk for four weeks. We girls took camp classes in the arts of cooking, cleaning, and tending to plastic baby dolls, while the boys were allowed to play soccer, climb ropes, and play tetherball.
As Cara got older, her taste for Barbie dolls and dresses withered. I was her only friend. She felt different than the other girls her age...she always told me so. When she turned 15, she confessed to me that she had never had an interest in the opposite sex. With tears in her eyes and a shaking voice, she confided to me that she was gay.
I didn't tell anyone. I knew our parents would would be ashamed if they knew. To hide her "flaw", she started going out with boys her age, but ended all of her high school relationships within weeks, so as not to lead them on. She certainly fooled our mother and father. They never suspected a thing.
This same year, Cara and I stopped going to church completely. My mother thought it was just teenage laziness, but truthfully, I had embarked upon the first stages of atheism.
Cara and I had always refused to go to private schools because of the uniforms, and honestly, our parents could not afford to send us there anyway, so we had always attended public school.
During my freshman year of high school, I had a very intelligent science and biology teacher who sparked my interest in non-belief. The evolution theory actually sounded like an enlightening argument! The Big Bang theory seemed pretty valid as well. The entire Bible was beginning to look a lot more dismal and a lot less accurate. I started to think how silly and ridiculous I was for having accepted such a stupendous notion.
By the age of 16, I was a full-blown atheist. And Cara joined in my skepticism.
When Cara was 22 years old, we were sitting around the table a week before Christmas, and it came out. "I'm gay," she announced, "and I have a girlfriend. Her name is Sarah. I want to bring her over to meet everyone."
I was so unsurprised that the only thing I said was, "Cara and Sarah! It rhymes! That's funny!" I remember this pretty vividly. Of course, our parents took this news a little differently than I did.
My mother burst into tears. She ran into the nearest bathroom melodramatically and put on a show, bawling hysterically and vomiting. My father didn't say a word, but immediately left his half-eaten dinner plate to go upstairs to his bedroom.
It's been three years since that day, and they haven't spoken to Cara since. Neither one of them. I am so appalled at them that our relationship has not been the same. I am sickened by the fact that they could discard their own blood daughter because of something so slight.
Cara read me the letter that our mother sent her after her proclamation. For this testimonial, and because she is such a supporter of the atheist cause, she's emailed it to me to share with you. In all of its glory and spelling errors, I present my mother's letter.
"My daughter Cara Louise,
"In all the years of my life, yesterday was the worst day. Not only have you turned your back on me and Dad, but you've turned your back on God. Clearly He is testing you and you have Failed this test.
"I don't know what I did wrong to raise a lesbien daughter. Maybe God is puneshing me. All I know is I couldn't sleep last night and when I did for only five minutes, all I could think of was your perverted life style.
"I am sorry but your Dad and I cannot except you back into our house as long as you are following the deeds of the Devil. We will still love you but we cannot except you as our daughter as long as you are living your life in sin.
"I've asked Scarlet and she tells me that she knew this entire time. She has told me that she does not believe in God and I know that she can be saved. I hope that you can be saved my dear daughter but until that time I can not say that we are family. I will miss you and my heart is broken
I was so heartbroken when I read this. I can not imagine how Cara must have felt.
If Christianity causes parents turning their backs on their own children, you can definitely count me out of supporting it. I ache for the past, but I don't believe that our family will ever mend itself. Thank you, God and Jesus, for your vicious hatred towards your children who are "different".
A myth has broken up my family.