Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coming out of the "broom closet"

For the past year or two, I've had a rather odd little ritual. Once every few weeks, I would go to my facebook profile page and stare at the Religion box for half an hour or so, trying to get up the courage to fill the thing out. Inevitably, I would chicken out and close the page. Monday night, I finally bit the bullet and filled the stupid thing out.

Why was this so hard to do? I guess that part of it is that I have several people, both friends and family, on my friends list that are rather devout Christians. A part of me may have been worried about offending them. Which is ridiculous. First of all... I write Romance novels. About vampires. Who have sex. Outside of marriage. And I SHOW THEM DOING SO. If I'm not worried about offending my more Christian friends and family with my genre, why should I worry about offending them with my religious beliefs? And second, I admit to sometimes being slightly offended by all the God-talk I sometimes get on my feed. So, if it's okay for them to basically preach their religion on facebook, why is it not okay for me to admit to mine?

Though, that brings me to another reason I was afraid to do it, before. I so don't want to be preached to about this. I'm sure that there are some who will try to tell me that I'm going to Hell, or even call me a Devil-worshipper. Umm... nope on both counts. I don't worship the Devil, and I'm not going to Hell. I don't even believe in either of those things. I'm also, unlike some Christians, never going to try to convert anyone. One of my biggest religious beliefs is that nobody has a right to tell anybody else what to believe. And I believe that that even goes for parents and children.

So, what do I believe? I'm still sorting some of that out. At least the actual religion, Gods and Goddesses, and rituals part. However, like most people, my religion does shape my moral code. The biggest thing is a little something called the Wiccan Rede. While there are aspects of Wicca that don't quite line up with what I believe, I LOVE the Rede: "An it harm none, do what thou wilt." It's like the golden rule on steroids, and I love it. "Why on steroids?" you ask? Because of the ways that "harm" and "none" can be interpreted.

Personally, I include myself and the planet in "none". I'm becoming a bit of an environmentalist. Both for the sake of my own health, and for the health of Mother Earth. I'm not much of an activist, yet, but I do my best with the things I can personally control. Some days I'm better than others, but I suppose that's true for everyone. I read a quote once, that pretty much sums up my feelings about protecting the planet: "We do not own the Earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children." We've spent the past several decades forgetting that little piece of wisdom and caring more about making our own daily lives a little bit easier than what kind of world we're leaving behind. Luckily the younger generation is starting to get it. If we can hold things together long enough for them to come into power, our children and grandchildren just might find a way to fix this mess we've made.

I am also totally against racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry of any kind. In a way it both amuses and sickens me when the religious zealots get all up in arms about things like gay marriage. Because I think that that issue shines a spotlight on the amount of hypocrisy there is in some of those religions. Maybe there are lines in the Bible renouncing homosexuality, I really don't know, I've never actually read the thing from cover to cover. But, I do know that there are also lines about not judging others. And let's not forget the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. So, for all the people out there trying to continue to outlaw gay marriage, maybe we should outlaw ALL marriage. After all, if you're supposed to be Christians, then that means that you're doing to them what you want done to you, right? So, if you want to make it illegal for them to get married, then that must mean that you want it to be illegal for YOU to get married, right? Isn't that what the ONE law your savior handed down to you is supposed to mean? I find it amusing that you'll pick out rules for everyone else to follow, while simultaneously ignoring the ONE thing that Jesus himself told you to do.

Okay, off my soapbox, now. Sorry, I just happen to get very passionate about that, which is kind of funny since it doesn't actually affect me at all. So, how does my religion affect my writing? I don't really know if it does. Catie is a Pagan, as is William, and maybe a few others. Eli is a very devout Christian, but he's non-denominational and actually practices the tolerance that Jesus preached. But his faith is a very big part of who he is.  The difference in religion is a total non-issue for them because they both understand and accept the other's beliefs and don't try to change each other. And maybe THAT is actually the religious stance I'm taking. That we can all co-exist quite happily if we would just learn to truly accept each other and not try to change each other. And maybe it's time we all tried.

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