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  1. “Clog up my blog”? Oh, nosers, interesting commentary — can we do that?! :)

    Re Louisiana: wow. Glad you got out when you did! That sounds truly horrific. I’ll freely admit I do not believe people like that are religious or connected to the christian deity in any way. Frankly, I consider them totalitarian despots, and they’re the reason I eschew organized religion for individual spirituality.

    I suppose at heart I’m a believer in personal gnosis over clerically-organized and -managed enlightenment. I just don’t trust anyone fallibly human with my soul that way. Heck, I’m not sure I know what to do with it myself, you know?

  2. Not uncomfortable, just didn’t want to clog your blog. ;-) My first teaching gig out of grad school was at a small, Baptist college in Pineville, Louisiana. I had serious doubts about going there, but I thought maybe, if there were a ‘higher power’ that this might be some sort of sign. The first two years were OK. The school was less restrictive than I had feared, though we did choose our shows with caution. I had to run the lights and sound for the weekly chapel service, but they tended to be more singing and stuff, and less fire and brimstone. Plus I generally ignored what was going on and just made sure the equipment was operating properly. Then there was a power shift in the Louisiana Baptist Convention, which technically ran the school, and a fundamentalist coalition rose to power. At the same time the president of the school left, and a man who very few of the faculty wanted, but who was in the pocket of the LBC was pushed through by the Board of Directors. Whereas before I had seen lots of good ‘Christian’ discourse and attitudes, suddenly an atmosphere of ‘our way or the highway’ prevailed. More liberal teachers were being let go left and right, and the fundamentalist bullsh*t was piling up. And when I say liberal I mean people who make me seem positively satanic, but who don’t necessarily toe the Fundy propaganda line. Then it became known that all faculty and staff would have to sign an agreement to teach according to the LBC mission statement, which included creationist and young Earth dogma. That meant either stand on principal and get fired, or lie and pretend to be a good little drone. Fortunately a job opened up here in Tampa, and we high-tailed it out of there. I kept in touch with folks for a while, and it got real ugly fast. Lies, law suits, and some of the most horrific, non-Christ-like behavior was being rained down on anyone who refused to cow tow to the new overlords. If this was to be a sign for me, it was how screwed up religion is, and how little it has to do with any god. That was four years ago, and I still get steamed thinking about it.

  3. On further thought, I’m surprised re the easter story needing “defense.” Most reputable biblical scholars today understand it’s as much christian mythology as the virgin birth and the garden of eden. I’d have been sorely tempted to just get up and leave — I know I was planning to get up and leave the christmas thingie I was at, if they’d actually started ranting nonsense about abortion as evil.

    Now I’m curious: if you’re not too uncomfortable with my asking, what happened in Louisiana? :)

  4. Yuck. I’m sorry you got stuck in such an unpleasant situation too. I firmly believe most clergy just shouldn’t try to teach science… and most scientists definitely shouldn’t try to teach religion either. :)

    Regarding my experience… well, as I said, I did know I was walking into a church. We live in Silicon Valley, so it was a calculated risk — that I lost. I think my companion was quite relieved, though, when he asked me if we’d be returning, and I replied with a fervent, “Oh, hell no!” :)

  5. My wife is a Southern Baptist, and for the first few years of our marriage I went to church with her on Sundays. After a very bad experience with the Baptist college I worked for in Louisiana(long story) when we returned to Florida I made it clear, with no objections from her, that while I would not get in her way of going, I was done with it. Then, two years ago, she asked me to attend the Easter Sunday service with her. I agreed since she had not asked me to go any other time, and I figured I could endure one service. It was nice enough at first, but then the pastor began a bullet point ‘refutation’ of some imagined scientific attacks on the Easter story that amounted to little more than a creationist screed. She hasn’t asked me to go back, and I’m not volunteering. I’m sorry your nice time was tainted by such claptrap.

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