Religion free association

Maybe it’s because it’s easier to grasp onto than the possible implications of Scalia II being added to an already tenuous Supreme Court, or maybe it’s because of the conversation and I had recently, but this story really grabbed me from the Google News headlines today.

Obviously, we live in a country where religious groups can do whatever they want, and the importance of church being separated from state is something that is constantly overrated today, and often overlooked by the religious right.

But what does it mean for people who identify as Methodist, for example, to have your religious leaders defrock an already practicing minister because of the gender of her partner? Does it affect your ability to be a part of that church, or to respect that church? suggested she would never want to be a part of a larger religious institution that didn’t hold the same values she does, like equal rights for queers. Then there are groups like Dignity, and people like Bishop Gene Robinson or Rabbi Steve Greenberg who are living the contradictions of being active in conservative religious groups and a “lifestyle” that is condemned within those religious groups.

I don’t know what I’m asking here – for people’s experiences with religious institutions. Is it better to break off and form your own group, or stay and try and change the group of which you’re a part?

I think I have been constantly searching for the religious group that fits me perfectly, politically and spiritually, and have been disappointed to not find it. But maybe it’s an unrealistic expectation.


~ by realsupergirl on November 1, 2005.

7 Responses to “Religion free association”

  1. My religious institution in general holds the same values as me. There might be some slight areas where we vary, but it generally preaches respect for everyone.

    Many often threaten to leave because they have more conservative views than the church as a whole. I respect their rights, but am proud that the top dogs don’t change their views to appease these folks.

    So, for me it’s not an unrealistic expectation. May not be as available for those of other persuasions as myself, though.

  2. But TRP chose to leave Catholicism, did he not? Was it due to the the disconnect between spiritual and political beliefs?

    Would it have mattered to you if he had continued to be a part of the Catholic church, and you the Episcopal? Would you have felt comfortable being a part of the Catholic church. given some of the dogma?

  3. TRP did leave Catholocism because of the church’s view on homosexuality. And, as luck would have it, he converted to the Episcopal church, where I practice. It was not because of me he chose Anglicanism. (He has said all of these things publicly many times before, so I don’t feel I’m putting words in his mouth, but if you want more details you’d need to ask him, because I do not speak for him)

    Prior to his decision I did attend mass with him on several occassions, and have since attended mass for our nephew’s first communion. While dating it was perfectly acceptable to me that we practiced our religion differently.

    Had we been practicing differently at the time of our engagement I’m not sure how things would have played out. I doubt I would have converted to Catholocism because I do not believe in transubstantiation. I also have difficulties with the organization of the Catholic church. That their beliefs in some areas radically differ from my own is almost trivial in relation to those things, so it’s something I never gave much thought to.

  4. Swankette has it right–I left Catholicism because I couldn’t live with its positions on homosexuality any longer. Many Catholics (and people of all religions, I imagine) learn to ignore the parts of their religious life that don’t gibe with their values. It’s human nature to ignore the negatives and emphasize the positives, and probably a good thing. But in another 50-60 years, I fervently believe we’ll be talking about the gay-rights victories of the early 21st century the same way we talk about the Civil Rights movement of the 50s. There were churches on the right side of the Civil Rights movement and churches on the wrong side. I want to be able to tell my grandkids I was on the right side of the gay rights battle, and it’s clear to me that the Catholic church ain’t it. I miss Catholicism sometimes–it was important to me for a long time–but I’ve found a new home that I love.

    I talk about this in more detail here:

    As for the impact our differing faiths may have had on my decision to marry Swankette, it really didn’t. I’d have married her under any circumstances. But I must admit that it’s a wonderful, fabulous, fantastic bonus that we share our faith. I think that consistency is better for kids, too.

  5. I think that it is hard to know how to ask this question (much less answer it) because I find unsatisyfing to think that there are two choices — either breaking off to form your own group or staying and trying to change the group of which you are a part.

    I, having been reared as a psuedo-Orthodox Jew, found that politically unsatisfactory (which also made it spiritually unsatisfactory, since I couldn’t reconcile the political beliefs with the spiritual ones). So, I dragged my family to a Reform synogogue for several years during college. I found that spiritually unsatisfactory, but I did not feel like a hypocrite.

    Then I moved to the West Coast and found an reconstructionist community that wasn’t a reconstructionist community when I found it. Unlike Goldilocks, I found something that was just right enough. So, I’m willing to work around the edges, trying to make it something better. In that way, it feels like many other human endeavors — like making art, for example. I am willing to accept that it will never be perfect. But I would not go further with it if I did not think it was good enough.

  6. and finding one’s way is harder than anything… but it’s the only thing that is ultimately worthwile.
    No religion puts the answers out there on the doorstep for any eve schmoe to find. but all of them have within a plave where the truth can be glimpsed, if but for a second.

    sorry, I’m drunk

  7. Drunk blogging, yay!

    I miss you. Hope to see you in SA for our wedding reception – it’ll be in late December, early January probably.

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