I was completely irked when I read my partner-in-crime’s post the night she put it up.
I happened to be catching up on WordPress & always make time to catch up on her blog since she was one of my first friends I made blogging.
She has become a great friend since.
But this post had me fuming for her.
I have on more than one inappropriate occasion had people try conversion tactics on me. In fact, once a few years ago I was out at a local mall & someone was in my blind spot in a fire lane & we ended up bumping doors. She handed me a piece of paper as I handed her one with my information.
When I got home, I realized it wasn’t her info — it was a flyer to the Baptist church.
Eventually she called to thank me & my insurance company for handling things so well & I stated to her I had gotten a lecture because I didn’t have her info. I took it on good faith (no pun intended) that the piece of paper was her info, not a conversion tactic.
That was not the time for that conversation, sorry. It didn’t matter to her that I had made that clear & politely yet firmly said “No, thanks.”
I don’t mind people praying for me (sometimes even strangers) if someone asks my permission first. I believe wholeheartedly in prayer myself because of things I’ve experienced in my life. But I also don’t believe in praying over people without their permission & would never do so.
I don’t care what religion that something like that would be ascribed to, it’s still an act of violence when it’s done without a person’s permission.
But we’ve been doing it for ages, even did it to the Native Americans when they were forced Christianized & we placed them on reservations.
We see how well that went over, yet somehow they still respect the faith of their oppressors even when theirs was shown the ultimate disrespect.
If someone says “No, Thanks!” it means “No Thanks!” – it’s not an invitation to force someone’s will on someone else.
Luckily, most of my friends, family, & other people in my life respect & understand this. I’ve also never been told (especially from someone working in a capacity of another public agency that should be completely secular & inclusive) that I haven’t prayed hard enough or that my faith is weak & this is why God has willed my situation on me.
Though I know people who have & it angers & disgusts me because it’s totally ridiculous & untrue.
Spiritual violence is not OK. It is an act of violence to insinuate because someone believes differently than you, they are at fault for their circumstances & need to somehow be “saved” just because their system of belief differs.
Forcing your will & religion upon them without their consent is violence & abusive behavior.
Spiritual (or religious) violence occurs when someone uses a person’s spiritual beliefs to manipulate, dominate, or control the person.
Spiritual violence includes, but is not limited to:
- Not allowing the person to follow her or his preferred spiritual or religious tradition;
- Forcing a spiritual or religious path or practice on another person;
- Belittling or making fun of a person’s spiritual or religious tradition, beliefs or practices; and,
- Using one’s spiritual or religious position, rituals or practices to manipulate, dominate or control a person
SOURCE: Government of Newfoundland & Labrador [but corroborated by other sources].)
This also applies to actions towards people who do not profess a system of belief. That is a belief.
It’s personal business that not everyone has to or wants to share, & that too is OK, especially when it’s not germane to the subject at hand, or the person refuses to discuss it.
Posts like Chelsea’s situation bother me too because it’s a form of power tripping. If you’re there as an agent of the state or local government, it’s wholly inappropriate (whether anonymously or publicly) to impose a belief system on someone, especially when they have talked at length about sensitive subjects like healthcare status & trying situations that came about as part of that. That’s not the time to interject “faith healing” into the conversation, before or after the fact.
I’m just glad Chelsea was honest & wrote up her experience because even though it was painful for her, it opened a doorway to talk about something that had bugged me because I’ve seen it happen time & again, unfortunately & it sickens me every time.
There’s a big difference between being religious & being spiritual.
I came across this article in Spirit Science & love the message. It’s really at the core, how I feel about the subject.
I just struggle to talk about it too because I don’t want to be misconstrued, misunderstood, or picked apart, same as anyone else. I value my friends of all faiths & those of none. They are all equal in my eyes, no one superior to another.
I was raised Lutheran but over time as I studied & found interest in more religions & belief systems I became more non-denominational. I had more questions regarding the Christian faith that couldn’t be answered & found I wasn’t so aligned with the faith I had been confirmed in anymore.
Every so often I feel like I need a community to sing a few hymns & be a part of, as well as get a positive message. Yet, I fully appreciate & understand those who feel differently.
When I joined a “church” eventually I felt most at home with the UU’s because there was no dogma & no one religion or belief system was touted as the absolute truth. You could be Jewish, Buddhist, Agnostic, Humanist, Muslim, Christian, or any other faith & be valued & accepted there if you just needed a community to be part of.
For a few years I was active. Now not so much, but it’s there & I can take it or leave it.
I want to be clear for those who still might not understand. I don’t have a problem with Christianity (or any religion). I have a problem with people using Christianity (or any other religion) as a weapon to wield over people for judgement or for saying it’s the only valid religion out there.
To each his own. That’s why there’s no National religion & also why there’s separation of church & state.
That separation needs to be honored & respected, especially when conducting state, local, or national government business.
(Photo credit: Chelsea’s profile picture from Patient Worthy where she is a contributor.)