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About the director of the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast

 

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"It is true, of course, that the phrase 'separation of church and state' does not appear in the Constitution. But it was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so clearly and widely held by the American people.... [T]he right to a fair trial is generally accepted to be a constitutional principle; yet the term "fair trial" is not found in the Constitution. To bring the point even closer home, who would deny that "religious liberty" is a constitutional principle? Yet that phrase too is not in the Constitution. The universal acceptance which all these terms, including "separation of church and state," have received in America would seem to confirm rather than disparage their reality as basic American democratic principles."..............Leo Pfeffer.

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About the director of the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast

This is a notice placed on our web page by our part time web mistress and director of the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast, a non-denominational group in support of Religious Freedom.  She was a conservative Christian and now she is a Pagan.....Lady Boudicca
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My name is Rebecca.  But my friends call me Becky.  Many people have written, asking why I got involved in The Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast and the First Amendment Coalition and helped sponsor a web site which exposes the Religious Right and shows most Christian Fundamentalists as mean and spiteful.

To some, I'm the devil's handmaiden.  To some, I'm a cursed liberal.  To some, I'm a true believer searching for real answers.  To some, I am a seeker looking for the truth. and to some, I'm just a Pagan.

I used to think of myself as a true believer.  For many years I considered myself a Born Again Christian, having accepted Christ as my savior when I was thirteen.  I believed in the Trinity, that Christ was God incarnate, that he was born of a virgin and died on a cross for our sins.   I believed God raised him on the third day and that he would return one day.   I believed the Holy Spirit was given to us so that God may dwell within us.  I also believed that when I got married, I should submit to my husband's will, in spite of the mental abuse I suffered.

In fact, when this Web site was first created, I still believed most of the above.  Then we began to investigate the Christian Right and ultimately expanded it to include "Compassionate Conservatives" and all other Right Wing fundamentalists.  I soon began to discover an ugly and disturbing truth.

Jesus Christ, whoever he really was in the end, is said to have told the world we would know true people of God by their unconditional love. And, "By their works may they be known." If there is any truth to those words, then the nearly 7,000 "true believers" who have e-mailed to threaten and condemn my life to hell for speaking my mind, have proven beyond a doubt that they are not people of God after all although they surely believe they are. 

I used to believe I was.  I went to Church each Sunday, watching fellow "Christians" pat each other on the back for being such good people and heard them tell each other how much they've grown spiritually each week. I watched them hurry out after church so they could sin again, usually against those with whom they disagreed.

During the past two years, as I read the responses from "Christians" all over the world (this site has received almost 7,000 email responses and has seen over 400 thousand visitors), I began to seriously doubt my former beliefs.  Even those who greatly oppose me cannot agree on what it means to be a Christian, or Moslem or Jew (or Pagan for that matter). And as I challenged and challenged and challenged people to show me why their faith or religion was the correct one, it all boiled down to one argument: people believe what they believe because it gives them some kind of personal experience and satisfaction. The whole thing boils down to an extremely subjective basis for determining truth - that is, that if I feel something extraordinary has happened to me because of my belief, then it must be the one true faith.

I found that those who claimed to have the "true" faith are unable to prove their contention once their beliefs are challenged. Then they become mean, petty, and extremely abusive - all things I would consider the antithesis of unconditional love.

The problem is that people of all religions claim that they have experienced a wonderful religious experience, which supports their mutually exclusive dogmas. I've had Catholics tell me I was wrong because their experience showed them the Pope was the true authority and, therefore, abortion was wrong. I've had Conservative Christian Fundamentalists tell me the exact same thing, except they substitute the Bible for the Catholic's Papal Authority. I've had Mormons tell me the exact same thing, except they substitute their emotional testimony about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon for the Protestant's Bible. I have had Moslems and Jews give me similar arguments.

Needless to say, this huge exposure to what people of "faith" truly believe has been a real eye opener for me. But that was not the biggest cause for losing my former belief.

I have been condemned to hell. I have been called a handmaiden from Hell and a follower of Satan. I have had multiple death threats against myself, and my family, for defending positions counter to the "true" Christian position. But even sadder than all of that is the thousands upon thousands of people who have written to say they would pray for me. Of course you would think that sounds like a pretty good thing, but in fact most of those messages say roughly, "You are so wrong about God; I'm going to pray that God will open your eyes." This is nothing less than a declaration by these thousands of people that they've somehow got a better corner on the market of God's truth than I have. It is purely selfish and self-righteous on their part. Out of all those thousands only three wrote to say they would pray for both themselves and me in an effort to ask God to guide us all. Those people made me think that there may be hope yet. Perhaps we will someday learn to look beyond our own ego, which wants us to be right about everything.

My spiritual journey has been a long one. I have worked in nondenominational fundamentalist churches, in Baptist churches, as well as in Presbyterian and Methodist churches. All those experiences taught me a great deal. All of those churches loosely agreed on basic truths of the Christian faith. But they all differed in many important ways. At that time the only real problems I had with any of them was when they took their less important ideologies and held them on equal status with the fundamentals of the faith. This is when conflicts would arise. Each group ultimately generated its own cult of Christianity rather than try to discover the universal truths of the faith that could bind all believers. Rather than spend our time searching for the heart of God, we often spent considerable resources defending our little corner of the Christian world.

With this as our reality, our church faced an almost schizophrenic dilemma when we sought to put forth the idea that we were all "united in Christ." Rather than agree on the essentials and agree to share our differing understandings of the rest, we simply adopted the unspoken rule not to openly criticize other Christians while we still continued to teach our particular brand of Christianity behind our own doors. This is dishonest at best, and it led observers from outside the faith to brand us as phonies. And they were right.

While still a believer, the single greatest argument I received for why I should not speak against the Christian or Religious Right was that by doing so I would make non-believers think Christians were not united or did not believe the same way. The truth is, all Christians are not united and do not believe the same. Some are ultra right fanatics and would kill all non-believers. Some are ultra left fanatics and would have all churches be the same.

But rather than confess our differences, which would have been honest, we glossed over them, which is why many non-believers continue to see Christians as espousing a fake unity. They don't see a highly diverse group of people united as the Body of Christ. They see a highly diverse group of people divided into clans who live in an uneasy peace in order to disguise the fact that they think their brand of Christianity is better than anyone else's.

Today I continue to believe in a loving Great Spirit, but I have found that the Bible is not his Word, nor can I claim myself to be a follower of the Christ most Christians follow. I have become one of the most liberal people I know. In reality, it was my search as a Christian that has led me to be more liberal in my thinking. In other words, I started out quite conservative theologically and politically, but through seeking to understand God and seeing how Grace is needed to heal the troubles of the world; I have been driven to adopt more liberal attitudes toward how we should treat others.

I do not believe abortion is wrong. I do not believe a person begins at conception.  I do not believe God thinks that a single-cell zygote is equal with a full-term human baby, and I have not found any Scripture that makes me believe otherwise.  I've asked all my detractors to find a verse in the Bible that states that an abortion is the same as a murder.  So far none have found one.  All we have are verses from which we must infer (which is to interpret) what we should believe.  And as soon as we interpret we are injecting our own thinking into our search for truth, making it suspect at best.

I also find no problem with homosexuality.  It is a naturally occurring part of life.  When a Christian uses the Bible to condemn, harass and belittle homosexuals, they are doing Satan's work and are just plain evil.  On a humorous note, it's funny how many people have assumed I must be gay in order to have taken the positions I have.

I'm not. If anything, I like men too much. In fact I have been called a nut for being a Michael Bolton fan.

Finally, I have a very hard time with the choices made by those who espouse "compassionate conservative" Christianity.  It's not so much that they want to be part of the legislative process -- it's what they choose to legislate.  Why do they want to legislate against abortion and homosexuality, both issues they interpret God is against, but they do not want to legislate in support of giving money to the poor, which most believe God is for?   Why won't they legislate against the use of Tobacco, which is one of the greatest health problems in our nation?  But they will legislate for the continued unrestricted use of fossil fuels to pollute our environment.

Why do they feel it is okay to legally force everyone in the country to live according to their beliefs in regards to reproduction and sexual orientation, but it ISN'T okay to force everyone to help feed the poor, house the homeless, and take care of widows and orphans?  Why should one be law while the other is voluntary?  This discrepancy leads many to believe Christians are merely using God's name to gain support for their personal political agendas.  And when they do that they lose the ability to speak to those they want to legislate against.

What do I personally believe?   I'm against forcing a particular morality on unwilling participants through government legislation.  It is simply not up to me to legally force anyone else to live or believe as I do.  I'm also against censorship.

I suppose, in closing, I should tell you a little about myself.  I am 35 years old, of Celtic heritage, and a mother of two wonderful children.  I am wife to a man who has changed from an abusive self-righteous fundamentalist Christian dictator to a loving husband and father that puts family before church (yes he became a pagan).  I live in Georgia and work as a computer consultant.   Before going into the computer business I worked as a youth counselor in several churches for nearly 12 years.  I graduated from College with a degree in Journalism, and I speak German fluently. I also write poetry and music.  I am the co-director of the Religious Freedom Coalition of the Southeast ( http://www.dynionmwyn.net/NationalPolitics/enemies.html )  I have found my spiritual home with The Celtic Church of Dynion Mwyn.  And I want to thank my co-director, Rhuddlwm Gawr, my teacher and mentor for letting me vent here.


 

Thank you for reading this far. Whether or not we agree, we at the RFCSE, appreciate all of your comments. You can email us at: rfcse@hotmail.com

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