Honor Thy Mother and Father…. Then What?

Floating through Mother’s Day with 3 out of 4 (kids that is) being dutiful as far as Ma Bell would make available and Father’s Day where the funnier the card is the more appreciated, I started to ponder on the Honor your Mother and Father commandment. That would be, Moses’s Number 4 in the Judeo/Christian world and Number 5 for the R.C’s, for all you heathens out there. But I digress. Now to take this literally, I would have all the boys plus daughter fawning at my feet and washing them with their contrite salty tears but that is another Cecil B DeMille moment I try not to let my psychologist know about. But, to really look at that commandment is to dig deeper.

The word Honor according to Princeton’s Wordnet is as follows:

A tangible symbol signifying approval or distinction; “an award for honor and bravery” . That works for me. All Mother’s at some point or another should be awarded for bravery especially for those late night “Come pick me up from jail calls”. A woman’s virtue or chastity. May not work considering the whole honor the parent thing means this is pretty much null and void. The quality of being honorable and having a good name. Hmmm since I change my name a little bit more than most, this might have a hard time catching up with me. Respect: show respect towards; “honor your parents!” Ah BINGO! That is what it is; respect.

Respect thy Mother and Father. Pretty straightforward right? Well there are mitigating circumstances that respecting your Mother and Father may be a little hard to do such as in the case of Mom or Pop is a serial killer, crack addict that abandoned you at two, or you were beat every day of your life. But, to offer simple, decent, respect is fairly easy to a parent that loves you and would like to be a part of your grown-up life. That meaning that you have actually grown-up.

I wasn’t the easiest person to get along with in my terrible teens then my tumultuous twenties, where it could have been textbook to blame my parents for the fact that I couldn’t make a solid decision to save my life. But I don’t blame them; I maintained my rights to screw up. So if you had a difficult life then sort it out and forgive. Easy, right? No, but the benefits outweigh the pain of forgiving.

Simple, decent respect means to call your parents on a regular basis, to stop dwelling on the negative, increase the positives in your life by having a relationship with your parents that at the very least is cordial. And a real important point is if you ask for advice; don’t be pissed off when they give it. Advice from a parent is usually well tried and there is experienced knowledge behind it. And you are never too old to be pulled back out of your whirling dervish self. That is just the parental love shining through.

So to tie this up there is a great verse from Ephesians 6:1-3 that states 1 Honor (esteem and value as precious) your father and your mother 2 this is the first commandment with a promise. 3 That all may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.

Hey check that out! You can have a long wonderful life if you respect your parents! The alternative of course, is your choosing.

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Religious Bigotry

When I was a child, growing up Catholic in the pre and slightly post Vatican II world, I was strongly encouraged by the priests, nuns and lay teachers not to associate with non-Catholics. It is well known fact during this time that many Catholics viewed other faiths as wrong and would lead to the corruption of their young. The common term we used to identify non-Catholics was “publics” or the all encompassing term “Protestants”.Unknown to me at this time, other faiths were busy protecting their flock from the evil influence of Catholicism. I remember being 8 years old and getting my first taste of religious bigotry I was innocently practicing. I was walking to my Grandfather’s house in my green plaid uniform, when I passed a group of Wheaton College kids. “Here comes a little Papist” the smirking students loudly said. Having no clue what why they called me that, I asked my Grandfather what the word meant. On that day, I learned about the word bigot. And the most important lesson my Grandfather taught me was that religious bigotry was practiced in every faith and every doctrine. That it was wrong and hateful. He taught me that no church is better then the other. But it was how you conducted your life in a manner that was good, honest and caring and that was the true doctrine.Religious bigotry is prejudice or discrimination against one or all members of a particular religious group based on negative perceptions of their religious beliefs and practices or on negative group stereotypes. I want to focus on Christianity as a whole not split off into sects, churches or organizations. Not because I am picking on Christians but because this faith is what I know.

We as Christians are busy group. Catholics are still pissed at the Protestants because of that nasty Martin Luther issue, Protestants are still pissed at the Catholics because they did not follow their idea of the “true” faith, Muslims are all terrorists and everybody hates the Jews. Lordy Miss Gordy! Can’t we just get along?

Discussing religious bigotry is slippery slope indeed. I have in my life experienced and practiced religious bigotry myself. First as a Catholic schoolgirl, confused by the papist stereotype and then again as a born-again Christian. Religious bigotry is completely invisible to the person practicing it. In fact, I thought it was my mission to save the world and make everyone think like me. This type of bigotry always disguises itself as piety and righteousness. This holier than thou belief that only Christians can go to Heaven or that they are more superior because of their self-perceived connection straight to the big guy, is not only insidious but evil as well.

I remember telling my Grandfather, the same one that warned me about religious bigotry, that he was going to hell because he did not renounce his Catholic faith and become born-again. I was an avid reader of Chick Publications Tracts. You know the one where Catholics are portrayed as worshipping the God Baal? Boy did I feel superior! I was convinced that it was my job to bring him over from the dark side of Catholicism. Thank God he was patient with me. He smiled, patted my hand and told me that he had a relationship with Jesus a bit longer than I did. At that moment I knew what a bigot was – it was me.

How many times do we hear the rumors that Atheists are going take over the world or that all people who believe in the Islamic faiths are terrorists? That Wiccans are busy casting spells that would make the old woman from Hansel and Gretel look pious? Or that the Jews are to be blamed forever for Christ’s death? Our soldiers are dying because God punnishing us for having gays on TV? We are so busy trading statistical percentages of who killed more people – Christians or Atheists that we forget that we are spewing prejudism. With the Internet, religious yellow journalism and propaganda are rampant. A few well placed posts can ignite the ignorance and hate in Christians everywhere and within a few moments cause such an email fury that spreads religious bigotry with every key stroke.

Now with the presidential race upon us, what religion the candidate is practicing is more important than if a candidate is even competent to be our President. Remember Jimmy Carter’s campaign? It was highly spoken of that he was a “good” Christian. His largest voting base came from the religious right that through pulpit campaigning elected him on his choice of the Christian God, not the fact that he was good leader. So we got a President that tearfully apologized for having lust in his heart and at the same time couldn’t put a policy together to save his life.

Ministers/Priests/Theologians condemn all other kinds of bigotry. But they close their eyes to their own congregations bigotry. Most use religion to justify themselves. Christians say Jews killed Christ so they are dammed and deserve the discrimination they experience, Men are superior to Women because Eve gave Adam the apple of sin, Homophobics justify their hatred of gays by finding condemnation for homosexuals in the Bible. So bigotry and religious justification walk side by side. We are blind to our own bigoted ways. Who cares if someone is a caring, good, kind, loving person, if he ain’t with G.O.D he can’t be with me. Hogwash!

Look I don’t care where people go to church, what Gods they pray to, or what scriptures they draw inspiration from. But I do care when people use their religious beliefs to balls out condemn those that believe differently than they do.

Here is a few pointers on how not to be a religious bigot. Get religion out of politics, stop forwarding the emails that spew hatred towards another religious belief, and realize that this Country has many different religious or spiritual beliefs so get over yourselves. Stop tying to get me to join your club, got my own thank you and open your mind to something that may well educate you and stop justifying hateful bigotry by hiding behind your God.