For the Bible Tells Me So…..Part 2
“If a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in
the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission.”
― Flemming Rose
Let me start this entry by saying that I am in no way putting in “jabs” to any particular religious belief or sect. I’m simply stating how religion can be used in an abusive nature. I have my own personal experience with Southern Baptist and Southern Evangelicals. I don’t dislike either one. Abuse has also been publicized within the Catholic religion. But let’s face it, abuse of any kind knows no boundaries and/or limits.
In the many years that I longed for and searched for my birth mom I heard the same story over and over about how she was put in touch with a pastor in the Petal/Hattiesburg, MS area and then like a bad explosion I was born. When I got older I had to be able to understand what all this meant. So the only way I could fully comprehend this was to call it “The Underground Railroad for Unwed Mothers.” To tell a few more of the details surrounding her prenatal arrangements and my eventual birth, my birth mom was from Indiana at the time. She was 16 years old and had gotten mad at my biological father and fled to put me up for adoption as soon as possible. This information I received when we met face-to-face.
As I stated in the first part of this blog entry being an unwed mother was not exactly as socially acceptable as it is now. We are not talking about 50 years ago either. In the 1970s was when my birth mom had me. In the 1990s when I graduated high school teen moms were still regarded as “less than” no matter the circumstances. These “less than” opinions were not only from the standpoint of the church where I personally saw people treated differently depending on socioeconomic, gender, race, sexual orientation and just about any other category where someone might “stand out” as being not “normal.”
Nevertheless my birth mom was actually suppose to go to the Bethesda Home for Unwed Mothers when she was pregnant with me. However, she was too far along in her pregnancy to be accepted there. This was the best outcome for me as the baby for her to not be allowed there regardless of the reasoning. For her, though, she has made it clear many times over that I was “an inconvenience in her life then and now.” Tell me even reading that you didn’t feel that punch to the gut. Now imagine that you’re that baby that grew up wanting nothing more than to find part of your identity and you’ve been forced to wait to find this woman that you inherently have longed for your entire life because of state laws. All the while hoping that your opinion of what “adoption” means to you is different. Only to be rejected again but now you feel that very deadly blow. I could do absolutely nothing. I could say nothing. Me being left speechless seldom ever happens.
To this day, when I am still and think back to that moment I have to change the subject because it’s just too painful to remember. To make matters worse, when I returned from finding the answers I needed my husband at the time told me “she’s a filthy and disgusting woman and she gave YOU up for adoption.” I can’t describe what that did to me emotionally. Every feeling and thought that I had up to that point about my self-worth came down to that one comment. I have never recovered from things like that that were said to me daily.
When she was turned down at the girl’s home she stayed with another local pastor and his wife until she had me and like clockwork she left never to think about me again until the phone call from my biological brother telling her that I had been found about 30 years later. She has had an incredibly difficult life. She and my biological father passed along some strong addiction genes and well…..not much else. The “Nature vs. Nurture” debaters would love to study this one. I was going to mention something about good looks but roasting myself has become somewhat of an art.
The point in all of this is that religion can be incredibly shaming to those that aren’t stereotypical worshippers. This means going to church or whatever your place to worship and acting a certain way or being vocal. Now, personally, I don’t care how anyone worships or who they worship because I consider this a very private matter between you and your higher power whomever or whatever that might be. Here’s a quote from an author on this very thing…
“Evangelicalism has taken the Extrovert Ideal to its logical extreme, McHugh is telling us. If you don’t love Jesus out loud, then it must not be real love. It’s not enough to forge your own spiritual connection to the divine; it must be displayed publicly. Is it any wonder that introverts like Pastor McHugh start to question their own hearts?”
― Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Pastor Marvin Winans is a gospel singer a member of the Winans Family a famous gospel group. He also leads the choir called the Perfecting Church Choir. He also has produced several albums with this choir while also being a part of “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” Winans also delivered the eulogy at Whitney Houston’s funeral in 2012. The comment from an elder in the church about his policy regarding baby dedication for unwed mothers and their children was this…..
“Pastor Winans has a strict policy — he won’t bless the babies of unwed mothers in front of the congregation”, Fox 2 Detroit reported.
Grace said “she felt degraded by the pastor’s decision. She’s hoping he reconsiders, even if it means having her son dedicated during the week by a church elder.”
Until then, she told Fox 2 Detroit “she has no plans to return to Perfecting Church.”
“I absolutely would not set foot back in the church right now because I feel like they look down upon me and my kind, meaning single moms and unwed mothers,” Grace said.
Pope Francis recently said in May that the Catholic Church should bless children born out of wedlock, because their mothers chose life over abortion.
“’Look at this girl who had had the courage to carry her pregnancy to term. … “What does she find? A closed door,” he said, according to Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “This is not good pastoral zeal, it distances people from the Lord and does not open doors (http://archive.eurweb.com, 2013).”
What about those of us that can’t attend comfortably because of trauma either by clergy abuse, PTSD, social phobias, etc? Well, let’s just say that I’m open about many facets of my life regardless of ostracizing. Loud music which is usually the status quo in most churches sends chills all over my body. Not because of the words but because sensory overload and hyper startle reflex that will have me cringing and crying if I can’t get out of the situation. If I’m still unable to leave violence is my “go to when niceness doesn’t work. I’m openly gay and legally married with children, addictions, mental illness, phobias, PTSD, eating disorders and medical cannabis. Do I need to keep going?
I’m that baby that was refused dedication to the church because I was born to an unwed mother (figuratively of course). My point is this…..the church has lost sight of its mission if Christianity is your thing. I have my beliefs and questions just like most that keep that information in the dark. I don’t believe for a minute that the only relationship you can have with God or your chosen deity has to be within a church. Nor does it make you “less than” because you don’t chose to worship like others.
I’m currently surrounded by people who are loving Christians who understand mental illness and its roots. They don’t shame me into going to church with them it’s a choice that I make. And if I start having an issue I simply leave the service and it’s no big deal. Many churches have a room removed from the service area or provide ear plugs for this and many other reasons and conditions. God just knew that when the mold broke that I would be quirky but that I would SURVIVE and thus far that’s exactly what I’ve done.