Thursday, February 2, 2012
It's tough being an atheist parent in the middle of the United States. That sentence kinda stands on it's own, but let me elaborate...
All of my coworkers believe in the Judea-Christian god. Before having a potluck/pitch in at work, my boss has us all hold hands as he prays.
We went down to the lake this past Summer and while enjoying the beach, we noticed someone baptizing people in the Reservoir.
My husband is a Freemason. They seem to be uber Christian here in the Midwest. Back in California, not so much. The Grand Architect of the Universe (Higher Power) could be anything you defined it to be. Out here it's god. And not just any god, the blonde Caucasian Jesus/god.
The state I live in just passed a bill that gives Science teachers permission to teach creationism in Science class. I hope that any Science teacher worth their mass in gold wouldn't dream of teaching a topic that should be taught in a World Religions class in their classroom, but having experienced the Midwest for over 3 years, I have a feeling that there are a few out there.
When I wrote to my Representative about not signing a bill that would change the state constitution to say that marriage will only be between one man and one woman, he responded by telling me that his god feels that marriage is that way, so that is how he is voting.
My coworker felt that it was okay to tell me that this country is going to hell because of 'all the brown people'. I wasn't allowed to do bank deposits under my last supervisor's reign because I am a woman.
I live in a state where it's illegal to buy alcohol or a car on a Sunday, but public school teachers can legally spank my child; and we aren't even in the Bible belt...
Flabbergasted? Sure. I have slowly been getting used to it, slowly starting to expect it.
All of this makes me uncomfortable. And in turn, causes me to feel awkward. It's difficult to feel outnumbered. It's difficult to teach your children reason and logic, when their classmates in preschool are telling them that if they don't believe in Jesus, he will eat them.
It's tough making friends in a new place. It's tough making friends as an adult. It's tough making friends when you have children. It's tough making friends in the Midwest as an Atheist.
When everyone seems to judge your character on how 'churchy' you are, it's awkward when they ask you what church you go to. My answer is always the UU church. (Which we do attend on occasion.) Or when you are asked what you believe in, while at work, by a coworker. My automatic response was "Nothing". I am so glad she didn't ask me to expound upon that, because I need my job.
I thought that as time passed, I would find a friend or two who would have children around the same age as mine and who would be agnostic, freethinking, secular humanist, anything... no such luck. But hey, I guess being friendless still beats going to church any day.