why I don't attend church

I have been asked by my family and some concerned friends why I gave up on being a part of the Christian church. While I appreciate the concern that prompts these queries, I gotta tell ya, I ain't going back.

By way of explanation, I have compiled the following list of quotes from certain upstanding Christians that will give you a general idea of why I avoid darkening the doors of a church these days.

Note that these are my personal viewpoints. These quotes are meant to highlight in dramatic detail why I personally don't feel the need to go to church. I am not trying to argue anything else, including the existence of God or anything related to it.

Also: if you're going to e-mail me and tell me, "Not all Christians are like that!", save it. I know not all Christians are like that. I'm not an idiot. I'm good friends with Christians who aren't like that. This isn't about every single individual in the church; this is about the church as a whole, the institution of the church, and my experiences with it. Anyway, that statement is a cop-out. Of course not all Christians are one way or the other, any more than any other group. But, you know, there are enough Christians "like that" to comprise a big group, and they are the ones I'm talking about. If that viewpoint makes you uncomfortable, I recommend you examine yourself and figure out why. Not all Muslims are terrorists, either, but the ones that are need to answer for it. It's the same with Christians. If someone's wearing your label and makes an ass out of themselves, well, you have to deal with that. You can't just dismiss them as the "lunatic fringe". You need to at least pause and say, "Damn. Am I part of the problem? How can I stop these people from tarnishing something I hold dear?"

I still judge people individually, but I am damn well entitled to form an opinion about an organization made up of individuals.

Anyway! The quotes:

"I'm trying to find the correct name for it ... this utter absolute, asinine, idiotic stupidity of men marrying men. ... I've never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry. And I'm gonna be blunt and plain; if one ever looks at me like that, I'm gonna kill him and tell God he died."

-- Reverend Jimmy Swaggart regarding gay marriage
Canadian television station Omni 1, 20 September 2004

(References: canada.com and gay.com)

"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."

-- The text of the Federal Marriage Amendment, officially endorsed by President Bush and Christian groups far and wide, including Focus on the Family, the American Family Association, the Southern Baptist Convention, and my own original church home, the Presbyterian Church in America

(References: THOMAS: Legislative Information on the Internet (Library of Congress), PCA Statement on Marriage and Sexuality)

"The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit [homosexual] conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle."

-- Roy Moore, removed Alabama Supreme Court Justice in a 2002 concurrence in a custody case involving a lesbian mother

"The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen'."

-- Reverend Jerry Falwell regarding the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01
"The 700 Club", 14 September 2001

(References: gay.com)

"I'm sorry -- hear it one more time, perfectly clearly: If you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex -- it is a biological error."

-- "Doctor" Laura Schlessinger
"The Dr. Laura Show", 8 December 1998

References: snopes.com and cnn.com

"Brute beasts ... part of a vile and satanic system [that] will be utterly annihilated, and there will be a celebration in heaven."

-- Jerry Falwell on homosexuals
"The Bible Tells Me So", 1996

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."

--Randall Terry
The News Sentinel, (Ft. Wayne, IN.), 16 August 1993

You see, the simple fact is this: the Christian church, the one I grew up in and called home for 25 years, does not want me or anyone like me. I never intended to leave the church, but you know, the church left me a long time ago. I'm not one to stick around some place where I'm not wanted. That's why the church has forever lost me, my talents, and all the unique gifts I bring to the table.

Congratulations, Christian men and women. You have accomplished what nothing else could: you have banished me from my home, and I will never rejoin your ranks. That's probably what Jesus would have done... what do you think?