This morning I woke up when I heard my son, Buddy, playing the the living room. I left my room to greet him, and as I was helping him get dressed and ready with breakfast, my daughter, Sissy, came into the room. Once she was dressed and eating, and I heard my husband getting dressed in the bedroom, I asked them, “Do you want to go to the UU, a park, or church?”
Someone asked a good question about how my parents introduced the concept of religion to me and if I ever experimented with religion. When I was five I think my parents realized it was time to explain the concept. I was starting to socialize more for one thing. I remember going to a friend’s house before I knew anything about religion and a friend showing me a coin with Jesus on it and talking about how important the coin was and how mad her mother would be if she gave it away. And then, for logical reasons that only make sense to a five year old, she said she wanted to give it to me. Ever the goody-two shoes, I demurred. She insisted. I pointed out that my dress had no pockets and that won the argument.
By now, it’s well known that Texas is leading the pack in making a frivolous lawsuit against Obama’s directive that transgender students be allowed to use the bathroom that conforms to their identify. Of course, this is from the governor who is willing to screw our school system over to forgo millions in federal funds to defy the directive.
People other than me have written good posts about how there are no documented cases of men posing as transgendered women to assault women in the bathroom. Or how people who are transgendered are put into an impossible situation with regards to using the bathroom by these laws, or that people who are transgendered rightly fear going to the bathroom because they are at risk of being assaulted. Or about the stories of people who look gender ambiguous who have been assaulted for using the “right” bathroom. Or about how these laws are problematic for parents and caretakers of people with disabilities.
When I saw this article about non-religious parents pulling their children out of school due to bullying from Christians, I linked to it on Facebook, along with a description of the bullying I experienced in the third grade when I stupidly told my classmates I didn’t believe in God. I didn’t think it was something I would be harassed, bullied, and assaulted for, but itwas. It was so bad that over the summer my parents moved to a neighboring school district to get me away from the school.
As I was walking Buddy to his new school, my husband emailed me that our city was having a big homeschooling convention. A few minutes later he emailed me, “nevermind.” I smiled, knowing exactly why he lost enthusiasm for the convention.
I found out I was right when he got home. He explained that when he investigated the convention, he found they were staunchly conservative Protestant. And while it’s a given that as an atheist I wouldn’t be down with the agenda, as a Catholic, he’s not too fond of it either. And he went on for awhile in exasperation with how out of sync their educational goals were to our own (me being familiar with the homeschooling culture in our area was not surprised).
I don’t think I could have made an interfaith marriage work with a conservative Protestant. But a minimally practicing Catholic? Yeah. It works. And I think a big reason is because it doesn’t affect us much on a day to day basis.
Here are the reasons Andy is not fond of religious based homeschooling, or religious based schooling, period. He believes that it should be left to the church to teach religion. Andy wouldn’t even consider sending our children to a Catholic private school. In his mind, schools should teach academics, and religious instruction should happen solely within the church. This is a mindset I really wish more conservative Protestants would adopt!
The other reason is because Andy, like me, loves science. We read Discover and Scientific American magazines. We love Neil DeGrasse Tyson and watch his shows together. Andy doesn’t see any conflict between evolution, cosmology, and his religious beliefs. And he values science literacy and wants our children to have a firm grasp of how science and the world works.
And while he’s not a history buff like I am, he is concerned about the revisionist history that goes on in those circles. He wants our children to have a firm understanding on how the separation of church and state is fundamental to our government. He also understands that it’s important to acknowledge when our country was wrong, such as the issue of slavery. He does not want to whitewash something as horrible as the Civil War by reducing it to a mere matter of “states rights.”
Andy is able to compartmentalize his beliefs from his day to day life. In some ways I think this is easier for Catholics, because their faith focuses on acts (going to Mass, partaking in the sacraments, etc) than many Protestant sects which focus on belief. But whatever the reason, it works for us, because the educational goals we have for our children end up being the same. We want them to be scientifically literate, have a good understanding of history and how our government works, and believe that religious instruction is best left to the church.
I’m one of those people that doesn’t have a preference for “Star Trek” or “Star Wars.” While I’ve seen people get into epic fights over which is better, I’ve always been comfortable with seeing that they are both good for different reasons.
Andy is more of a “Star Trek” fan. Interestingly, as we were leaving “The Force Awakens,” he was talking about why. He said he didn’t like all of the mysticism on Star Wars, and that he had the same issue with Narnia. He liked “Star Trek” with it’s basis in science and humanity solving it’s own problems. He said he had enough mysticism in his life from Catholicism and didn’t need any in his fiction.
I found this interesting for a number of reasons, one because I kind of think of religion as fandom that people believe in and take way too seriously. But I also found it interesting because it speaks to what people look for in entertainment. Andy looks at world building, and prefers shows like Star Trek, Red Dwarf and Babylon 5 that doesn’t deal heavily with mystical themes.
I’m not so interested in world building, I care about the characters. Are the characters interesting, real and relatable? This, too me, is why it’s hard to say whether or not one world is better than the other. Now I could rank characters according to favorites, but not worlds so much. Other than to say there are worlds I definitely would not want to live in (like Panam).
And while I did get into Star Wars fandom in a way I never did with Star Trek fandom, the reason was because throughout high school a Star Trek series was airing on tv. I was five when Next Gen came out, and when that ended there was Deep Space Nine and I managed to hang in through Voyager (I got pissed off four episodes into Enterprise and threw in the towel, that was when I was in college and had moved on to anime. Both Star Trek and Star Wars disappointment me with their portrayal of female characters). While I was in high school, aside from the novels, Star Wars was not on tv or in the theaters. And I tend to become attracted to fandoms when I want to see the characters I love get into new adventures.
Star Trek vs Star Wars just seems so pointless to me. They both contain characters that I love. They have also both bitterly disappointed me and let me down and then worked hard to get me excited about them again despite myself. I look forward to sharing both of them with my children. Because, regardless of whether one is better than the other, it looks as if both are here to stay for awhile.
Sometimes when life throws a curveball, it’s pleasant.
Since Buddy was born Andy has taken him to Mass, while I have a bit of time to myself. As Buddy has gotten older and as Sissy has come along, Andy has become more and more dissatisfied with the arrangement. His church does not have a nursery or Sunday school. Raised in a heavily Protestant area I was surprised to learn these are not common in Catholic Churches. It’s all about Mass and children and infants are expected to sit through it.