Last night I went to dinner at a friend’s house and she asked if I would be offended if they said grace over the meal. I found this odd, as it was their house, not mine, but then I realized that when I tell people that I am a recovering Catholic, they often associate that with being against God and religion, which I am not.
It got me thinking about how much pressure we put on ourselves and others to be non-offensive. I am not a politically correct person, I admit this freely, but nor does this mean that I am raciest, sexist or bigot. I am who I was born to be based on, or perhaps in spite, of the environment and times in which I was raised. I have always thought for myself, even when I was advised not to (Thus the ‘recovering Catholic’ bit). I rejected the overwhelming limitations that religion tried to place on me in childhood, but that does not mean that I am against God, anymore than it means when I describe someone as white, black, brown or Asian makes me a racist. I am giving a description, not making a judgement.
I am a short mixed breed Canadian, few people nowadays are thoroughbreds, and I have no problem discussing my ancestors or referring to them. If someone calls me a midget, while it is not flattering or technically correct, it is their term of description for a short person. If someone calls me a half-breed, well, I am. I’m more of a mutt really, much more than just the sum of two races, and I am fine with that. It is what I am and I am not ashamed of it.
We have been given freedom of speech, yet we are all afraid to speak. We have been given freedom of religion, yet we are being told we cannot pray. And we have all worked hard over the centuries to keep certain traditions alive that relate to our heritage, most of which are quickly dying away because people worry they might offend those that do not partake in such traditions.
While I may seem against all religion, I am really just against the limitations it leaves us. I have no quarrel with someone who is religious, my quarrel is when you chose to push your religion on others, rather than just discuss and allow someone to make an informed decision that is right for them. I am not religious, but I am spiritual. I do not have beliefs, but I have faith. While I may not agree that Jesus, Mohammed, Abraham or Moses were vessels of God, I will concur they were spiritual leaders.
I do not need to go to church or a temple to pray, I simply say what is on my mind at that given time and have faith that I am being heard. I do not give my money to organized religious leaders in an attempt to reserve my place in a celestial and spiritual afterlife; I am busy concentrating on doing what I was sent to Earth to do. And most of all, I do not believe that that I am doomed for an eternal Hell because I do not read the bible or go to church. If Hell exists, and I am still open to the idea, I believe the Devil, whoever and whatever it may be, knows the ones that deserve such distinction and will make that judgement when it comes. It will not be made by a priest, a minister, or a rabbi, a Pope, or based on a book that was written thousands of years ago, translated from numerous different languages, and edited by a Power hungry king.
This does not mean I do not respect those that do believe in all the things mentioned above, nor is it meant to slight anyone’s beliefs, it is all simply a statement of how I feel, and I have a right to those feelings. People may take offense, people will take offense. People need to get over it and be content with themselves instead of worrying so much over what others think of them.
We are not here to judge one another. We are not here step over each other, or to cast someone aside because it may seem politically correct to champion them. It easier to slight than to fight for your neighbor. It is easier to rally a mob and cast blame, than it is to gather a team to right an injustice. And it is easier to sit back and enjoy your cell phones, your IPads, your fancy cars and your fossil fuels, than to be inconvenienced by trying to save the planet.
Humans like things easy, and perhaps that is our biggest fault. But, again, I am only one person. I am one who will continue to speak her mind and have faith in those things that lend her support. And, as always, I will continue to hope that one day our race will mature into the people we were meant to be, rather than just those who we want to be.