I used to belong to a conservative Christian church.
I wasn’t raised in it, or in any church. In fact I was always thankful my parents never forced religion on me. That opened me to visiting different, diverse denominations with my friends over the years. I long felt that meant I could determine what I believed on my own. That I wasn’t just adopting what my family handed down, or being force fed something I didn’t choose.
When I met the guy who would become my husband and was introduced to his church, I accepted the smoke and mirrors as absolute value.
Kind, loving people led by doing what’s right for the greater collective, bound by a simple set of rules meant to protect and bless those who minded them.
Soon enough I was attending on a regular basis, and eventually became a baptized member. I thought I was choosing well, making a good life decision…
Here we’ll fast-forward as I tell you I left that church — and all organized religion forevermore — at the same time I left my husband and the marriage to him.
Because their greater good is only a small selective bunch which must conform.
Because their construct is sexist and misogynistic, and their rules quite deluded, complicated, and narrow-minded.
Because they are judgmental, not loving. The “love” is a farce, because it is conditional, and they don’t actually accept just anyone.
Because they choose which sins can be forgiven and which cannot. And then they self-righteously preach (dictate) about them.
Because they enabled my ex in his abuse of me.
Because they never looked deeper than his surface, or held him accountable—for abuse, for fraud, for legal mishap, for taking advantage of people, for lying, for never repaying significant debt, and much more.
Because when I asked for help, when I really and truly needed it, and assumed the “church family” I’d been part of for years would come through, they told me no.
Because I was blamed for my “failed marriage” and subsequently shunned.
Because they disrespect and show hatred and dismissal to my LGBTQ child, who is forced to attend every other weekend by his dad, the guy who abused me.
Because they want to save people and protect life, but only the people and lives they deem worthy, which are those who fall in line, can’t talk back, don’t ask questions or challenge them.
There’s more, I’m sure. It’s just not coming to mind right now.
But you might guess why any of this is on my heart today.
As a DV survivor, my “job” isn’t just healing myself and turning that into helping other women heal. It’s taking on the bigger cause of fighting for our rights, and reproductive rights + healthcare, and fighting against misogyny, and against the conservativism that tries to shut us up, hold us down, and tell us who we’re going to be and how we’re going to operate, to live.
I left my husband because I wasn’t going to allow another’s control any longer.
I left that church because I wasn’t going to allow others’ control any longer.
I left because I finally sought and saw liberation for myself.
And if we can’t see that this week’s current events, these so-called political actions, work against our liberation, that they are tied up in the kind of conservative religion that controls women, abuses women and enables their abusers while favoring the sexist, self-concerned misogynists, and the patriarchy, then what are we even healing and starting over and fighting for? What is our purpose? What is our charge?
Why are we here?