Sunday, March 22, 2009

Religious affiliation: None

Leonard Pitts, Jr., writes for the Miami Herald, a daily paper known for a tell-it-like-it-is columnists. I first noticed him during the election, when his syndicated columns appeared in our local paper. He targets fools and hypocrites of all stripes, with his most scathing columns targeting conservative foolishness.

His column in today’s Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, "Religion is Losing Us," addresses the recent American Religious Identity Survey which "found a sharp erosion in the number of people claiming religious affiliation." He reels off some of the survey’s finding. He then sums up why many Americans have distanced themselves from religious wackos:

People of faith usually respond to that ugliness -- by which I mean a seemingly endless cycle of scandal, controversy, hypocrisy, violence and TV preachers saying idiot things -- in one of two ways. Either they defend it (making them part of the problem), or they regard it as a series of isolated, albeit unfortunate, episodes. But irreligious people do neither.

And people of faith should ask themselves: What is the cumulative effect upon outside observers of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker living like lords on the largess of the poor, multiplied by Jimmy Swaggart's pornography addiction, plus Eric Rudolph bombing Olympians and gays in the name of God, plus Muslims hijacking airplanes in the name of God, multiplied by the church that kicked out some members because they voted Democrat, divided by people caterwauling on courthouse steps as a rock bearing the Ten Commandments was removed, multiplied by the square root of Catholic priests preying on little boys while the church looked on and did nothing, multiplied by Muslims rioting over cartoons, plus the ongoing demonization of gay men and lesbians, divided by all those ''traditional values'' coalitions and ''family values'' councils that try to bully public schools into becoming worship houses, with morning prayers and science lessons from the book of Genesis? Then subtract selflessness, service, sacrifice, holiness and hope.

The church I attend sporadically (First United Methodist Church) isn’t like this. But the list of transgressions outlined by Pitt are just some of reasons I no longer go to the local Catholic Church.

Churches don’t need me. I used to think I needed a church to bring meaning to my life. But that’s not true. Only I can do that. I still describe myself as a Christian. But when I'm filling out paperwork and I come to the "religion" section, I write in "none."

1 comment:

mpage225 said...

Mike, Leonard Pitts has been around for quite some time and has always been one of the better columnists.

By the way, the Kansas Gov and soon to be Obama appointee, governor Sebelius is really getting worked over by the local Arch Diocese of the Catholic Church for her pro choice stands and her stem cell stand. Catholic church as usual being very selective as to what they will take a public stand on.