More Tales of the Christ Weary:
The Rude Pundit asked for you to send in your stories of harassment, victimization, and general annoyance at the hands of Christian fundamentalists, and, apparently, far, far too many of you have been fucked with by the righteous. From schools to homes to night clubs, from sea to shining sea, the mad rantings of the evangelicals have pushed us to this: we're tired of it, motherfuckers, oh, so weary. Ah, the evangelical will say, though, his/her eyes spinnin' like roulette wheels, when you're weary, that's when you can let Christ in and be born again. Here's just a sampling of tales of those who remain once-born (again, with minor editing and no vouching for the truth of the stories):

From TJ, one of the most stunning stories: My mom was "born-again" when I was about 5 or 6. From then until I managed to escape, my life was a living hell. I've been dragged to every wacko denomination out there in her quest for the meaning of it all. The worst was by far the Southern Baptist phase, which coincidentally hit at puberty for me. I guess the best memory is of her locking me out of the house and screaming "Jezebel!" at me over and over in hysterical fashion until one of the neighbors took pity and brought me over to sleep on their couch. Reason? I was late getting home from work. Of course, it wouldn't surprise you to know that I got pregnant at 18, and had two kids by the time I was 20. Because contraception and abortion are evil, ya know? When I got pregnant the first time, she locked me in the house for days until I agreed not to give up the kid for adoption or have an abortion. She promised that she would take care of my child and I would never have to worry about it. What a dumbass I was--after he was born, she made it clear that this was God's punishment for having sex, and I would have to drop out of school and work. I went into a tailspin after that, and it wasn't easy to pull myself out of it. The damage she did to my life is immeasurable.

From Beth: I was raised Baptist, and there are three moments that stand out in my mind as marking the religion for the psycho bullshit that it is:

1) Our Sunday school teacher held up a china teacup and asked us all to admire its beauty. After we all agreed with her that it was quite lovely, she turned it to show the inside, which had been covered with dirt or something. "This is what your soul looks like if you haven't accepted Jesus," she intoned. "Although you may be lovely on the outside, inside you are filthy and unclean."

2) At Vacation Bible School we were told a missionary story about a young boy who made some error according to his heathen religion, and the heathen priest punished him by hammering nails into the soles of his shoes and making him walk a long ways to the heathen temple. The story went on in exquisite detail about how the nails dug into his flesh, shredding his feet and causing him agonizing pain. As he trailed blood and tears he was taken in by kindly missionaries who bound his feet gently and explained that THEIR God would NEVER be so mean. It was the most graphic and traumatizing story-- just sick. Who thinks that is an okay story to tell young kids?

3) When my teacher explained that only the saved go to heaven, I asked what would happen to people who had never heard of Jesus, like isolated Amazon Indians or Africans or something like that. "EVERYONE has had a chance to hear of Jesus," she said, and even is that is true now, which I doubt, it certainly doesn't seem likely to have been true years and years ago, so were there generations of people all over the globe, billions and billions, going to hell just because they hadn't heard these cheery Baptist stories? Even when I was just out of kindergarten that sounded pretty unreasonable of any sort of decent God.

From Phil in Kentucky: My incipient crisis of faith was initiated at the age of 5 when my playmates and I were caught red-handed staring upward at 6 year-old bad-girl Vernita (she was a cusser), standing on a tree-limb and pissing for our astonishment. One of us, Clarkie, was run over the next day by his father's Dr. Pepper truck. This was interpreted as God's revenge for his transgression. The surviving six 5 year-olds were forced, as punishment, to serve as his pallbearers. Having no feelings at that age, other than what I was told to feel, it took me many years to resolve my guilt and my sincere efforts to find redemption for my evil nature.

From Rafael in Puerto Rico: Someone wrote this message in one of the walls of my Humanities department: "Jesus says: Evangelize!!"

Kids at my college were not short in imagination so somebody wrote this underneath it: "Jesus says: Vandalize??"

From Melissa: I grew up in a rural town in central Georgia and was taken to a Baptist church most likely the first Sunday after I was born. I was in that church for 19 years of my life. During that time, two ministers of music hit on me. Both were married. The first one happened when I was 16. I was very shy and had very low self-esteem, so I was flattered when he began showing me attention and kissing me. Of course, now I realize I was being molested to a degree. The second time, I was 19. This minister of music was also chairman of the deacons. He never touched me, but the things he said to me had extreme sexual undertones. I even went to the pastor about it, not intending for him to tell this man. I just wanted to talk with somebody. Of course, he tells the deacon, and I'm threatened with a slander suit. Sexual scandal isn't just reserved for the Catholic church. It's everywhere.

From Erin: I grew up in southwest Michigan, in a small town of about 3,500 God-fearing white Christians. My parents were leftover hippies who wanted their kids to have some land to run around and play on, and although they did their best to show us that there was a world outside our sick and sordid little town, I still haven't forgiven them for making me spend my childhood there. It was painful and damaging in a way that will stick with me forever.

In my hometown:
-- the school board yanked our comprehensive sex-ed curriculum and replaced it with "values"-based, Jesus-babble, non-information
-- my first classmate to bear a child did so in 8th grade (and was the hit of the cafeteria when she brought the kid into school during lunch hour)
-- by the time I graduated high school, 20% of the girls in my class had at least one child or were pregnant
-- in 10th grade, I politely and repeatedly asked my Econ teacher to please stop a) preaching about God, and b) telling gay jokes in class, as I thought both were inappropriate. (Needless to say, I was labeled a hell-bound dyke for the rest of my high-school career)
-- and this one is recent: my 18-year-old brother, who took a job at a video store to help earn college money, was making banal small-talk with a frequent customer, who happened to be male. Later, the store manager gave him a hellfire-and-brimstone lecture about the sinfulness of homosexuality, and threatened that his "homo-curious" behavior would not be welcome in the store. My brother -- showing remarkable chutzpah for a kid his age, I think -- told this asshole to take his shitty video shack and shove it, and walked out the door. My brother tells me that the store, "Family Video," has just a spectacular selection of porn, and is, in fact, the only video store in town that offers such selections.

I hated growing up with such hypocritical, hateful, stupid, spiritually bankrupt people. My ideas of spirituality involve a thoughtfulness, a degree of introspection, a value on the greater good, a premium on logic and kindness, and a generosity of spirit that was completely absent in that town. I think about all the potentially good kids who fester in environments like these, who lack the resources to develop critical-thinking skills and to ultimately get the hell out, and I am
at once furious and completely bereft. What do we do?

Continue to send your stories to rudepundit@yahoo.com.