I felt angry at the religious system that pulled me in when I was a child and robbed me of a more rational process of selecting my vocation. I felt angry at myself for leading others down the same path. I felt angry at the seductive shallowness of what I believed — simple answers that faith taught me to never question, answers that didn’t address life’s complexity.
Tim Sledge, former evangelical pastor
I have to admit I have increasingly complex feelings about our Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.
Suppose you overheard an adult telling his or her child, “You’re no damn good, and you’ll never be any damn good.” You’d be outraged, and rightly so; you might even call a social worker and report abuse. Why, then, should that same parent be applauded for taking the same child to church — nominally, at least, a wholesome thing to do — where a proxy tells the child the exact same thing: You’re no damn good, you’ll never be any damn good, and the only way to avoid the eternity of punishment you deserve is to join our club? Why is the first circumstance likely to be considered abusive, but the second good parenting?
Decades of research have shown that sexuality arises out of a complex of operating-system switches that are set before birth; gays really are born gay. Accordingly, numerous states have outlawed so-called “conversion therapy” for minors; if adults wish to submit to conversion therapy, they are welcome to do so.
Should teaching Original Sin, and the need for ‘salvation,’ also be tabu for minors? I increasingly incline toward thinking so. There is certainly no shortage of adults who have written eloquently, and with great difficulty, about the pain those preposterous and odious teachings have caused them.