First item: notice I’ve changed the name of this feature. I think it reflects the spirit of what these little tidbits are meant to be better than the sexism thing. Because I’m not always going to talk to you about sexism.
Case in point:
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I really like The Rumpus. Okay, I’ve totally mentioned this before – my love for The Rumpus is deep and unadulterated. I would do nasty things to The Rumpus (were it corporeal, of course). I would whisper private things in The Rumpus’s ear as I let my fingers play over its skin. I would usher it firmly and lovingly into a sexual awakening, and then The Rumpus would weep from both pleasure and catharsis because it’s never experienced a love like mine before. That’s how much I love The Rumpus.
And because I love The Rumpus, I also love Dear Sugar: The Rumpus Advice Column. I have mentioned time and time again that this is the only advice column you ever need to read. It’s lyrically written with an acute understanding of victims and survivors, of self care, and of social justice.
And yesterday, Sugar got a question that made my head explode:
My dream is to take all the painful, gut-wrenching, soul lifting, breathtaking, fucked up and ordinary life experiences and turn them into stories that are beautiful and meaningful. I’m young and inexperienced and am desperate to learn and experiment with writing.
But there’s something that paralyzes me. I’m a Jesus-loving Christian.
The grad school I’m aiming for is a seminary because seeking understanding of my faith and reveling in its mystery is incredibly important for me. I don’t believe out of fear, but rather love. But I’m afraid that the beautifully open, tolerant writers and artists, like those I read circling in The Rumpus orbit, will not have room for someone like me because of what I love.
You read that right. This person is writing to Sugar because ze is afraid that, as a Christian, ze will be discriminated against in the art world.
I can’t even.
First off, let me say that I am an atheist. I was raised an atheist, I never felt like a believer, I never went through the whole “rejecting my faith” thing that a lot of atheists go through. As such, I’m not really one of those atheists who felt like they had to fight for acceptance from their families or friends, and I’m just not interested in faith or whether someone’s got it (as long as that someone isn’t trying to ply me with it). I will say, though, that when I was a kid – and to some extent, even now – I assumed that nobody really believed in God, because I didn’t. It all just seemed so implausible to me, so rather than think that everyone who went to church was an idiot, I decided that they believed in God in the same way that I believe in ghosts and Bigfoot – I can’t give you any real proof that they exist, and I’ll readily admit that there’s probably more evidence negating their existence than there is affirming it, but I’m just going to kind of put that aside because I like ghost stories and Bigfoot gives me the heebie-jeebies, and I like having the heebie-jeebies. And I’ll admit that then, as well as now, I sometimes catch myself thinking that the people who do genuinely believe (and those people, I think to myself, are very uncommon, because most people engage in the whole “suspension of disbelief” thing because believing in God feels better to them than not believing in God) – those people… well, they just don’t know any better.
I admit readily that it’s not terribly kind of me to think that way. I know that it’s wrong, but it’s a thought that developed over many years and went unchecked for a long time because religion was just not something we discussed at my house. We talked about how fat I am, and how much we loved Bill Clinton. It’s a hard habit to break.
So yes – I’ll admit that I’m not terribly interested in reading Christian fiction. I might even turn my nose up at it.
But don’t try to sell me the whole, “Christians are so persecuted!” line. Don’t even think about it. To me, it reeks of that bullshit where white men complain because minorities get college scholarships just because they’re minorities. Like, yeah, that might be true, but are you seriously going to tell me that you, white dude, are being disadvantaged because a person of color is getting a break? Fuck OFF! (For the record, it’s more complicated than, here’s a pie, and the more he gets means the less you’ll get. There are no pies in affirmative action – a la mode or otherwise.)
According to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Christians make up 78.4% of the adult population in the U.S. Atheists – 1.6%. An additional 2.4% identify as agnostic, and another 6.3% identify as “secular unaffiliated.”
So maybe us nonbelievers aren’t always super nice about our non-belief, and maybe some of us are even a bit snobbish about it (but trust me – we feel really fucking bad about it and continuously try to tamp it down), but there is no fucking way that a non-Christian is ever going to keep a Christian from doing something in the U.S. – not when Christians make up nearly 80% of the adult population. You can put your persecution complex away now, thanks.