Monday, November 17, 2008

How Sarah Palin Turned Me off Religion

Being a Christian is not synonymous with being a good person, just like being a Muslim is not synonymous with being a terrorist.

The Jesus freaks blew it. For a while there, they were making progress. I thought, this is nice, sitting there in the Baptist church down the road where Pastor Lonnie spoke right to me and Mrs. Pastor Lonnie dabbed at her eyes with the corner of a hand-embroidered hanky. But God never said anything. Not in so many words. Oh, I was open about it. I looked for signs and coincidences that could be construed as messages under just about every rock one could turn over. Electric bill went down? That must be God because I’m reading the bible now. Tire got a flat? Must be God testing me, seeing if I was going to kick that old tire and take God’s name in vain. Could have been worse. Could have been a blow-out and I could have careened across the road and down the kudzu-entangled embankment stopped short only by an old oak tree many feet in diameter. That’s God watching me because I go to church now.

I was open-minded all right. I wanted it to be real. And like always, I was passionate. I gave it my all reading the bible even though, to be honest, it was boring, and some of it was, quite frankly, ridiculous. Nonetheless, I underlined words and turned over corners. I called the church ladies to ask questions. I went to bible study. I even considered checking out what was meant by getting saved. Does something actually have to happen? Do I need some sort of a lightening bolt to hit me in order to be saved? Or can I just declare my salvation? Announce, “I am saved,” and that’s that, like someone says, “I am lactose intolerant,” or “I am Irish?”

Oh, there were some things that bothered me. Like I heard there’s something in the bible against gay people. How could this be? These are good people, the bible readers! I thought, God, they know not what they do. (See! They were making progress!)

Okay, I thought. Let me think this through. How could I work with this? How could I make this align with my values and ethics when I know it’s not right? Because I’m not going along with human beings hurting other human beings. Even indirectly.

I decided if someone started talking hate to me about gay people, and hate to me is as seemingly benign and simple as praying for someone to change, implying something is wrong with them, I would hope, by then, they’d know me and like me and respect me enough not to shut me out. Because I’d speak up. I’d talk of my love for Cousin Eric, the classic gay hairdresser, and how I haven’t had a good haircut since the day he died. And how Cousin Jeannie and her partner raised a wonderful young man who is married now to a lovely young woman and who is a valuable member of society, in law enforcement, nice to everyone, the kind of child every parent strives to raise. Nothing bad has happened. No traditional marriages have been hurt in the making of this movie. Only good has gone on. Perhaps, maybe if I couldn’t actually change their minds, maybe I could chip away at it a little. Maybe, just maybe, God wants me to be an influence and that’s why I’m here at the church counting all the squiggly lines in the acoustic tiles up above Pastor Lonnie’s head when I could be out riding my horse.

But it never even got to that. McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. And if that is not the most contradictory thing to be, a McCain/Palin supporter who loves Jesus, I don’t know what is.

Maybe I should say, “How the Republicans Turned Me off Religion,” because they’re the ones who picked her to represent them. Christian extremists hijacked the Republican Party and the GOP let them in order to get votes. That’s one of the reasons that Karl Rove made McCain pick Palin. (The other being the insulting and miscalculated belief that any pair of breasts would get the Hillary votes.) The funny thing is, the Republican Party was always known to be one for smaller government. But with the religious extremists at the helm, and their choice of Palin to represent American citizens in the second highest office, I think it is safe to say that we would have had more government intrusion and not less. If it was up to Palin, she would ban abortion, some forms of birth control, sex education and books she doesn’t think I should read. She is not tolerant of religions that are different than hers and believes that Jews, as well as the picked-on gays in the bible, should be converted. She took a citizen’s land by eminent domain (legal stealing) to build a hockey ring and fires people left and right if they don’t adhere to the will of the lipsticked pit bull. Her whole mode of operandi is “my way or the highway.” Her husband even belonged to the Secessionist Party and there was talk of Alaska breaking away from the United States and going on its own. Basically she’s a bully. But that’s okay as long as you believe in Jesus.

Just because someone is against abortion and refuses to believe the science of evolution, doesn’t necessarily make him a good Christian. What happened to the Ten Commandments? What about just plain old being good?

There are a lot of things a good Christian does. But I’ve not been seeing much of that lately. I’ll tell you what a good Christian doesn’t do. He doesn’t incite violence against a United States senator by spreading rumors and smiling smugly when supporters scream, “Kill the terrorist!” A good Christian doesn’t lie, sling gossip or call someone names whether it’s over the picket fence, by forwarding hateful e-mails under the guise of warnings that no one checked for truthfulness or by publishing TV commercials that are blatant lies in order to instill fear and hatred for the other candidate. There are bible stories about this. I think it’s called bearing false witness.

A good Christian doesn’t complain about giving the poor “a handout” because a good Christian knows that being poor is not synonymous with being lazy. Here’s what’s ironic—Palin doesn’t believe in sex education, most birth control or aborting the resulting accidental pregnancy but she doesn’t want to give the 17-year-old mother, who perhaps doesn’t come from a financially secure and supportive family like her daughter does, “a handout.” What happens to all these babies? They certainly aren’t going to be adopted because according to the most recent numbers I could find online there are already 115,407 children in public foster care in the United States right now who are waiting to be adopted. And no one is doing it. Oh, I get it. That’s the older ones no one wants. The 17-year-old girls should give up their cute, cooing babies before they reach the terrible twos. Hey, that works out! Don’t let them have education, birth control or the choice to abort and then take their babies!

Maybe, this whole thing would be a moot discussion if ignorant people like Palin would stop butting in and let people get educated and protect themselves in the first place.

But this story isn’t about abortion. It’s about how the Republicans are giving Christianity a bad name. What happened to “Thou shall not kill?” A good Christian is not a warmonger, uninterested in stopping the killing of human beings, as soon as possible, because he has a chip on his shoulder and paybacks are a mother. As McCain is. Wait. Now that I’m thinking about it, how come it’s not okay to abort fetuses, even microscopic embryos that aren’t viable, specks smaller than a pimple, perhaps even products of rape or incest, but it’s a-okay to kill someone from another country because we think we have a good reason? More hypocrisy. I’m tired of it.

The crazy thing is, Obama has been accused of not being a Christian at all, when he is the one who is the good one out of all of this. A true, good Christian. He reminds me of how Jesus kept his cool and behaved like a gentleman when things got really bad. He did not attack anyone’s character or make up lies like McCain did because all he cared about was winning an election. That one, as McCain disrespectfully called Obama, practiced what he preached.

No wonder people are turning away from religion if McCain and Palin are the role models the conservative Christians are touting. And no wonder the Republicans lost.


qhgirl said...

I can't comment on Mrs Palin's belief structure, but did want to comment on something I heard on the news this morning (radio station ap.. not no "bias").

Obama said he is going to put Osama Bin Laden in the "crosshairs." Ok.. we know that means in the sight of a gun and isn't that basically the SAME THING that Bush has been saying and trying to do? Are we supposed to believe this is the "change we all can believe in?" This is not change.. this is more of the same.

Also, it really isn't fair to tar all christian's with the same brush or all republicans either. My 79 yo father is a staunch republican and actually said he wouldn't have a problem with allowing gays to enter into civil unions that would allow them to take advantage of benefits usually reserved for married people.

Sloan said...

I couldn't agree more!! It makes me sick how hypocritical some religious people are!

Anonymous said...

Very honest! You are right and I feel the same but I can't say it out loud or else I will be slandered all over town. I just smile and let them think I agree. The people that I know that go to church do a lot of talking but they don't walk the walk. YOu should hear the nonsense and the gossip that comes out of their mouths. Biggest hypocrits in the world!

CountryDew said...

Gosh. This is am amazing post.

Sharkbetty said...

qhgirl, I think you are confused. The opening premise and thesis of this article is the following:
"Being a Christian is not synonymous with being a good person, just like being a Muslim is not synonymous with being a terrorist." In my own words, the thesis is; "Just because you are a Christian, it does not inherently mean you are a good person."

And FYI - The Bush administration has all but intentionally NOT put Osama Bin Laden in the crosshairs. He went to war in Iraq instead. But, really, back to the point...

I think Debi is making the argument of the majority - the sentiment is shared by many, if not most, Americans today. Having myself been raised in an intensely bigoted "Christian" (ok, Catholic) family, I've come to the conclusion that this style of religion coincides directly with an unquestioning, follow-the-leader attitude. These misguided (at the very least) people simply do not think for themselves in any obvious critical manner. Religious bigots (and I mean from ALL religions) require that others
inform them of how they should behave and in what and whom they should believe. It's the Jim Jones mentality - yet completely accepted in our country, and argued as being the majority paradigm. My hope for this great country of ours is to see the critical mass participate in critial thinking such that equality abounds and discrimination ceases. Hell, I wish it for the planet while I'm at it.

Jamie Ferraioli said...

There is always going to be someone that says "well that's not me, that's not the people I know, don't lump us together" when you talk about a group negatively. But I think that person has to ask themselves why are they part of a group where there is so much negativity. Why should you even have to defend your group in the first place? Why are you not trying to change that? qhgirl said it's not fair to tar all christians and republicans with the same brush, but let's be're not saying these things because this is the first time ever that anyone has pointed out the views of an extremist Christian or an ignorant Republican.

While I may not be religious, in the sense of going to church and praying, I do think I'm a good person and I think that that is what matters the most. I think we should all respect each other and be good people on this Earth now as we're all living and breathing. If there is a god, does he really want us hating and killing each other and destroying the earth?
I feel like people (*not all people, of course) only cherry pick from their religion. What is convenient for them at the time, while condemning anyone not in agreement with them. How is this acceptable?

Religion and politics will always be heated discussions because they're based on opinions and no one wants to be challenged on their beliefs.

I respect a person's right to their opinion, but only to the point where they are not imposing their views on me. And this is why I could never support Palin. How dare her to think she has the right to tell me what I can do with my body. By trying to do so, she's clearly saying that her religion is right and everyone else who does not believe what she believes to be truth is wrong. Perhaps we could go door to door to the devout Christians and see how many have adopted an unwanted child or teenager?

Beth said...

Debi, first of all, I appreciate your comment on my blog. I've enjoyed visiting yours. You are an excellent writer.

You make some very good points in this post, but I'm curious. You mentioned that you are impressed by Obama's Christianity (as am I). So why are you rejecting Christianity, if Obama so impressed you? Why are you allowing Sarah Palin (who you feel does NOT represent Christ) to cause you to reject Christ? To take the statement at the top of your post (in italics) a bit further: Why would you judge Jesus by the likes of Sarah Palin any more than you would judge Allah by the senseless acts of terrorists?

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Hi Beth. Don't worry. I'm not rejecting GOD. I'm rejecting most organized religion--at least the kinds I've been seeing.

Thank you for your comment. I can tell YOU are also a good Christian like Obama and I've enjoyed your blog as well.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Qhgirl, no, I don't think going after Osama Bin Laden is what Bush did. He attacked Iraq and tricked us into believing they had weapons of mass destruction because we were so mad about 9-11, we just wanted to kick somebody's butt. We should have gone after him seriously in the first place and then maybe we wouldn't be in such a mess with so many dead, so much money spent and him still running around laughing at us and threatening us.

Ah, I know all Christians and Republicans aren't like Palin. I was just trying to make a point for a story. I've voted Republican myself. The Republican party certainly needs more people like your father. That would help.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Jamie Ferraioli is my daughter and I just want to say what a fine young woman I raised! What an intelligent comment Jam! That is an excellent point--why belong to a group that you always have to defend? Because I'm not the first one to complain. I am PROUD.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Sharkbetty, good stuff! Thanks!

Jeff said...

Wow! An interesting post and some interesting comments. I'm somewhat surprised that there aren't more negative comments, unless those comments have not passed moderation. The theme of your post runs through many posts on my blog also. While I'm more circumspect than you, I do share many of your thoughts - Sarah Palin scared me very badly and drove me to investigate why she should be so adored by so many Americans. I have a number of resources about the authoritarian personality that SharkBetty might be interested in. I also have links to a number of Christian social justice resources. Like Beth, I do not think it is useful to cast aspersions on Jesus because of the ignorant rantings of a minority. Christianity has a long and rich history of supporting social justice movements. It is important, more than ever, for Christians of conscience to speak up and show those who feel uncomfortable with Christianity that the rantings of the religious right is not representative of the voice of all Christians. Just like all Republicans shouldn't be condemned because of the behavior of Bush and his followers.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Jeff, I know! I was surprised I haven't gotten negative comments. Other than one person who wasn't very happy with me. But so far, there's been a lot of head nodding. And I ALWAYS publish the comments, even the negative ones. You don't have to agree with me to comment on here. (The only thing I wouldn't publish would be if someone was cursing or something, but that's never happened yet--I've printed everything.) That's what makes it interesting--a difference of opinion. I love a good conversation about things that matter.

I did think about the consequences of posting this story, especially because of where I live, in southern Virginia. But I decided if I censor my writing, what's the point? The best writing is honest, even if it is scary, even if it hurts. And if there are people in my life who don't like me anymore because of what I've shared, then they really weren't my friends to begin with.

You know, I think that's another reason why I wrote this story. Because I wanted Christians of conscience, as you said, to put their foot down about the rantings of the religious right. Somebody's got to put Johnny in the corner.

I don't know how to get in touch wish Sharkbetty because I don't know who she is so hopefully she'll see what you said.

Anyway, thanks for your good thoughts.

Motley said...

Well said Debi! I'm not religous or very political, and I don't think the two mix very well. This last election has flooded my brain with thoughts about both. It can't be helped with all the crazy hijinks that's been going on. Religion should be out of politics. I'm voting for a President, not a Pope. I want the best person for the job regardless. I grew up one of those crazy Lutherns. I'm pretty sure my beliefs were that God created cave men and we evolved from them. Ya. Pretty sure I was also Agnostic, not really acknowledging one belief over the other. Of course I don't think that way now. But it doesn't matter what I think, and I don't care what anyone else believes, as long as it works for them.

You always write good stuff Deb!

Jamie Ferraioli and I are ridin' the same wave for sure!

Cowabunga! said...

Wow. All this time I thought it was the republicans who just thought we christians were all stupid idiots and if you insert the right words, "Jesus, God willing, pray, Bible" then we would all cease to think and be sure and go vote for whomever they pick for us. You see, McCain was seen as a moderate, had a track record of bipartisanship and certainly was unpopular with Bush and supporters. I think that Palin was chosen because someone thought that if the massive "body of believer" aka very large voting bloc, knew there was someone on the ticket who was promoted as a practicing christian, they would get out the vote for McCain.

I resent greatly that kind of patronizing manipulation. There are many folks out there with simple, sweet faith. Their faith is greatly shaped by their culture, the region in which they live, their history and tradition. They might even be afraid of things they with which they are not familiar. These folks, just like any other people group out there, can be most influenced by fearful warnings and hate talk. There certainly are a bunch of fearful warners and hate talkers out there.

It bothers me to see how so many folks fall for that garbage. Both Republican and Democrat folks. I, too, got all the crazy emails. Probably from friends and family who know me just well enough to not know where I would cast my vote. I narcissistically (is that a word?)thought that they must be trying to convince me of the error of my ways. More likely, these were just mass emailings. I deleted them. I found that reading them just riled me way too much.

What I longed for was a good discussion. With people of differing opinions. Who would be open enough to at least listen and appreciate why each other chose to vote the way he or she did. I know many christians are not willing to listen to the thought processes of those with differing opinions. That makes me mad. On a rather regular basis I share many of your thoughts with others, trying to help find a middle ground. I point the finger at my brothers, criticize them, call them ugly. Guess I felt rather sad and attacked when I read your post because instead of me calling my brother ugly, it was someone unrelated.

BTW, most people who disagree with your post are probably too afraid to say anything, or don't even feel the need to share their opinion. I am known for having a big mouth and plenty of opinions. Sometimes I wish I had less of them! : ) But one thing I do like is a good dialog...

Jenise said...

I think values are learned, either by the example set in the family or by education. Religion has nothing to do w/ it. As you pointed out, there are people who believe in Jesus, study the bible and go to church that don't live righteously. They judge others, gossip and express hate toward people who are different from them.
I'm not against religion, I know people whose faith provides amazing comfort during hard times, gives them a sense of community, guides them and inspires them. And they're truly good people. But there certainly is a lot of bigotry. People who call themselves good and righteous but spread hate and do a lot of harm.
I didn't feel McCain/Palin represented my ethics and values. I think a lot of people who voted for them just voted within their usual party or their religion and didn't really take a good look at the values represented during the campaign.

Marion said...

I hope you won't give up on 'organized religion' Debi. People are different, religions are different, churches are different. Hubby & I, both moderate republicans, chose to vote for Obama as we learned more about him, his family, his ethics, his beliefs.
Some in our church sent e-mails full of wierd stories about him; we simply asked them kindly not to send us those e-mails, since they were patently untrue.
We see these same folks at church, and hug them, and do NOT discuss politics with them! Our United Methodist church family spends our time serving at the soup kitchen, flying to Louisiana and Mississippi at our own expense to rebuild after Katrina's damage, responding to those in our congregation who need assistance with their everyday living.
Sarah Palin? Let's not even go there! As a country, we need to gather behind our newly elected president, a man who asked Bush to take him upstairs so he could check out his young daughters' bedrooms at the White House. We need a calm, caring, intelligent man at our helm, and I believe we have one now.

Amy Hanek said...

Wow - drive up that chatter, girl. What controversy. I'm impressed!!

Amy Hanek said...

Very nice Marion. I agree or concur. Yeah, what she said.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Thanks for your comments everyone!

Marion, I know you and your church do wonderful things. You're another example of a true Christian. I'm sure not every church is hypocritical. But I don't know of any, except the Unitarian church, that aren't bigoted against gays and I'm done putting up with that. Some day we're going to look back on this and be horrified over our behavior and our willingness to believe the bible says gays are sinners. Like how we look back with shame on how we believed the bible said interracial marriages were evil. Ironically, I'm the way I am because of what I learned in Catholic school--to be good. So Christian friends, I guess I'm not a lost cause...

June said...

I enjoyed reading this post and the accompanying comments...encouraging! Thanks for stopping by Spatter...and your kind words about my photos.

sweetflutterbys3 said...

Becoming a Christian is a personal decision to believe Jesus died for your sins then trying your best to follow Him through the Bible. No Christian is perfect, and that is what Jesus did for us- died on the cross so we could be forgiven when we mess up. As a Christian, you are never to be against anyone. The Bible teaches that everyone is a child of God, no matter who they are. But, you can love the person and not support their beliefs or behaviors. There are lots of people in my life that are not Christians and do things I would never do that are against God. But I love them anyway. I just don't participate in the behavior. If your a friend goes out and drinks and hurts someone, you don't stop being their friend. But you don't support their behavior either. Would I be friends with someone who is gay? Absolutely! Would I support gay marriage. No. It's not what God wants for people. But my friend has a right to choose for themselves. Do I believe in and support everything that my friends do? No, that is just not possible. You need to have some guide to say what is right and wrong. God and the Bible are those guides, as well as your relationship with God. If not, what do you base your choice on? Personal belief has to come from somewhere. That is why judging anyone on your own is a dangerous thing. God gave us free will and also gave us the option of believing in Him. How you face God with the decisions you made in your life when your life is over is up to you. Judging others, when it's only God's right to, leads to nothing good.

Love My Dog said...

First Debi - great post! And your daughter is an incredible thinker and writer - kudos to both of you. I was really enjoying the comments on blog until this last one.

Yes-becoming a Christian is just that - A PERSONAL decision. However - telling ANYONE except perhaps your fellow believers that gay marriage, abortion, insert x behavior here is 'not what god wants for us' is kind of disturbing. It is what YOU BELIEVE GOD WANTS FOR YOU. And your God is just that -your God. Once you believe he should be mine you have overstepped your bounds and once you try to make a law out of what your god believes - you are heading into a theocracy instead of democracy.

Debi - a Catholic Church out here (ok in the Central Valley which does not count as here, happily) has asked/told its parishoners they must confess if they voted for Obama. Obama, being pro-choice, is a sinner, therefore voting for him is a sin. I am curious at what point the various religions will fess up to the fact that they are PAC's...

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Love My Dog, you are exactly right--once someone tries to make a law out of what he says God wants, he is overstepping his bounds. This is America. What about all the people who don't believe in God? Or THAT God? Now I understand about the separation of church and state and why we need that.

Not very long ago, here in Virginia, the church people made a law that blacks and whites couldn't marry because they said THAT was a sin and it was in the bible. Now we are ashamed that we could ever believe such a thing. There are many examples of terrible ways people behaved and defended themselves by citing the bible or God--women not being allowed to vote, slavery, the Holocaust... the picked-on group of choice nowadays is the gays. And no offense to Sweetflutterbys3 because she seems like a really nice person, but if I was gay, I wouldn't want to have a friend who would stop me from having the same rights as she does. What kind of friend is that?

Going Crunchy said...

Ooh....similar feelings here.

I had to bust out and write about being a Crunchy Christian, and really shuddering for most all that Palin put forth.

She drove me crazy.....whoo...whooo. (Tune of "She Drives me Crazy."

Anonymous said...

I've read most of your blog and have some good advice for you and your family. YOU WILL NOT BE WELCOME HERE. CALIFORNIA OR NEW YORK WOULD SUIT YALL BETTER.

Sloan said...

Spoken like a typical Christian!! Mean!! I guess you touched a nerve Debi!

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I was thinking "Spoken like a typical coward" Sloan. He is too scared to sign his name. Maybe embarrassed at his sophomoric and trashy behavior. I'm honest. I say who I am and stand up for what I believe in. My name is on this blog. Maybe that's why, contrary to what the rude commenter says, I'm very loved here. In fact, my neighbors told me they're PRAYING for me to stay! And I can't tell you how many Christmas gifts and invitations we received from our new friends in the community. So hubby and I were chuckling when we read what he said, lol.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Oh, here's something funny. I found out who the anonymous commenter is and SHE'S from California!

And get this--she's the secretary of a local horse club that we were planning to join and now that she's pissed off about my views on Palin, she sent me a nasty e-mail and said if my family was still planning to attend, we should come late because they pray. THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT.

Jamie Ferraioli said...

That "anonymous" poster just further demonstrated the problem with religion. You pray, but where is the love for all people? Should we not be accepting of everyone? Maybe learn about what others think and give your two cents in a mature manner. I didn't know that believing in God meant you condemned all that don't believe what you believe. Why would ANYONE want to be part of such a hating group?
I feel sorry for that anonymous poster. So much hate in their heart.

Cynda said...

I'm so sorry Debbi. There are bad apples in every bunch. We are praying for you to stay too and you are welcome at our club and church any time and if you don't want to go, we still love you! We are glad you are here! Don't listen to that person. She is not even from here!

erin and sharon said...

i was not aware of the fact that "YALL" could be found in the english dictionary. have you thought about aquiring your GED, or does illiteracy coincide with being a good christian?

Giulia said...

Debi, If you can look up at the stars and not believe there is a God, if you can watch a spider weave a web and not believe there is a God, if you can think of the human body and it's brilliancy and not believe there is a God - then....I am speechless. For everything in you proclaims there is a God: your talent and your love, of not only nature but human beings. Except - those human beings you deem unworthy of your love. Those who do not subscribe to your point of view. Think about that just a little bit if you would.

And when you get your political information from only one well, CNN, The New York Times and the like (which from the way you write I'm assuming you do), you are being fed propaganda and don't know it.

I was like you. I changed. You don't like prejudice. But you don't recognize your own when it comes to points of view that do not agree with yours. I could be totally wrong here. But, as a (somewhat) conservative Republican (who was an avid liberal Dem) I respect your point of view. And I do so with love. Do you mine?

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Oh you are wrong Giulia. I don't know if I ever watched CNN in my life or read that newspaper. Seriously.

And I just had a wonderful conversation with my farrier, who is a very conservative Christian Republican who loves McCain and Palin. He told me what he thought and I told him what I thought and we were both kind and respectful to each other and you know what? some of what he said to me made sense and I told him that and I plan to look into it. Also, I just ordered a book called "Spirit and Flesh: Life in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church." I'm very open-minded Guilia.

Also, for the record, even though I love President Obama, I am not a Democrat. I don't belong to any party. I voted for Bush the first time. I have voted Libertarian. And I have probably been in more churches than most people.

What I was trying to get across with that story was that the bad behavior of the conservative Republicans, Sarah Palin in particular, is hypocritical, and yes, it's a turn-off. It's not the way to get people to join their club. Or to vote for them.

Yes, I question religion. But was I questioning God?

I appreciate your concern--I hope you understand where I was coming from now.