Harmed By Religion

I grew up Episcopalian.  I always thought of that church as do what you want Catholics.  We were similar but with more freedom to choose.

My mom conceived me out of wedlock and she once admitted to me that she believed she had sinned and that baptizing me in the Episcopal Church (which was against the wishes of my dad’s Church of Christ adoptive parents because they baptize much later in life) was a way of securing my bastardized soul.

It is known generally that the Catholic Church has done a lot of bad things in its existence.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame is about torturing a young woman.  Then there is the burning of Joan of Arc and the Spanish Inquisition.  I grew up in El Paso Texas, a heavily Catholic region of the United States and so, I have some familiarity with that religion.  As a school girl we always had fish on the menu at school on Fridays because of the church.

An early adoption story is the tale of Moses.  His mother Jochebed put him in a basket to spare him from being killed along with all the other Israelite baby boys.  The Pharaoh’s daughter finds Moses and adopts him as her own, sparing him the fate suffered by other Hebrew boys.

For old-time Catholics, the laws of the Church took precedence over the laws of any secular government.  Catholic teaching dictated that the manner in which I was conceived made me illegitimate, a bona fide bastard.  Fortunately, my parents married before I was born.

Some children, like my dad, became legitimized when they were adopted by a married couple.  At that time, in the 1930s and 40s, his birth certificate (and later his baptismal certificate) was altered to make him appear “as though” he had been born to his adoptive parents.  The Salvation Army played a role in his becoming an adoptee.

I believe that my mom’s maternal grandfather and her paternal grandmother both played some role in her becoming an adoptee by not being willing to be supportive of my mom after her birth nor my grandparents’ marriage.  I can’t know that for certain.  I just feel it in my soul.

Throughout it’s history, the church has refused divorce, my dad’s adoptive parents could not be elders in the Church of Christ because of their divorces from spouses before they found one another.  And I do believe churches in general continue to look down upon women who do what comes natural and have sex outside of marriage.

Validating a strong and moral family life has always been at the heart of most church teachings.  I won’t argue that such a family is not a blessing.  My two sons have grown up within such circumstances and thrive.  I also have friends with children my children’s age who chose to be single parents.  Their children thrive as well.

What seems to matter the most is that the child was truly wanted.  When a child is born “accidentally”, meaning unintended, it is a hurdle to overcome but not impossible to.  Love matters more than any other factor.

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