Jesus loves you, unless you wear a short skirt

I went to a private school from kindergarten through eighth grade.  My mother had some weird idiosyncrasies about public school, and putting kids on a bus with a stranger, and this school was close to my grandfather’s house, who would watch me for a few hours after school.  The school was run by a Baptist church, which I think was the first problem. Both my parents were raised Catholic, but weren’t really practicing, so this presented some issues. My dad didn’t want to attend the church affiliated with the school, and in retrospect, I can’t say that I blame him.

I thought Christians were supposed to be kind and accepting, but kids (and parents) at this place were judgmental, I was made fun of because my dad didn’t go to the church, and word got out that he liked to drink beer, also frowned upon by the folks there. When I was in the second grade, I sat in a classroom and was showed a video about the rapture, a right-wing, religious video admonishing the lack of values in America, and showing a dramatization of the rapture occurring, leaving the “sinners” behind. I was already a sort of anxious kid, made worse by some problems at home, so as you can imagine, telling me it was possible I might be left behind for fiery abomination while everyone else got sucked up to heaven didn’t help. I was also handed a worksheet one day that listed “Democratic beliefs” on one side and “Republican beliefs” on the other, and an alignment chart to Repulican beliefs being more closely aligned with those of God. I’m assuming my education at this place for all those years is why I don’t know much about science.

There were some strange rules set in place, no skirts or shorts shorter than 2 inches above the knee for girls, no T-shirts, and there were many lengthy discussions and addendums created about the definition of “T-shirt.” I’m not sure what purpose this served, except to satisfy some needy and controlling adults who probably just needed to go to therapy instead. A friend and classmate’s younger sister, in the same grade as my younger brother, was once pulled into the principal’s office.  Her skirt was too short, and a ruler was taken out to confirm, the principal- a lunatic of a woman- told a seven year old girl that she “had the spirit of the devil” in her, because apparently there’s a correlation between showing your knees and worshipping the devil. I’ve never met Jesus, but I can’t imagine he’s the kind of guy who’d call a seven year old a whore.

At some point in high school, I stopped going to this church.  It seemed important to me to examine both sides of many issues, social, political, ethical and otherwise. I think oftentimes there’s more than one answer, and it was clear that wouldn’t be encouraged there. I don’t attend any church anymore, but have made a commitment to the religion of “not being an asshole” instead. It suits me better.

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