This was originally posted on my abuse issues blog. You’re welcome to read it, but it can get a bit intense. I won’t post more than one a day as I catch up. These stories take place between around 1970 – 1984. This post was originally put up here.
Give me three steps to the doorGive me three steps, give me three steps Misterand you won’t see me no more.
There are people who will tell you that the Christian Church(es) never change. If I’m in a good mood I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and try to figure out if they’re naive, moronic, or lying. I lived through the 180-degree transformation of one of America’s largest and oldest Protestant denominations from their days in the early 1970s as the second most liberal church in America into a leading player in the reactionary American Fundamentalist Movement in the 1980s. As a devout, Jesus-loving child, I sat on my pew and watched the faith tradition I loved utterly demolished from the inside, to be replaced by an evil twin who championed the opposite of everything I had taught while all around me people laughed, cheered, and patted themselves on the back for the “good” job that they had done.
To say it left me a bit sanguine is like saying a tidal wave is a bit wet.
Most people today are astonished to hear that the Southern Baptist Convention was ever liberal; the Fundamentalists have done a very good job of burying the body and getting rid of the evidence. But a few people have told their stories of the Takeover; this is mine. It’s about the church that used to be, the church that it became, and the three steps (not to mention a lot of pokes, shoves and outright trips) that led me to leave.
It’s also my attempt to detoxify myself from the whole poisonous experience. I have every right to be hurt, angry, and bitter over what happened to my generation. But I choose to lay my burden down here and not carry it any longer. To allow it to continue to hurt me would be to let the bad guys win, and I don’t believe in that.
While I know many of my peers became atheists as a result, I would ask commentators to refrain from wholesale theist-bashing in the comments. I’m all too aware of how hard it has become to find a church where one can have a positive religious experience in the wake of the Fundamentalist Movement, but I’m not yet ready to completely give up on the concept.
Shall we get started?