The title of this blog is entirely misleading. But I could not figure out what else to use so there it is. Read on...
I was born with something in my gut, something I'll call a "savior complex," for want of better words. I've never been a bawl-bag of compassion but somewhere deeper inside I've always cared. And I've been cursed with the ability to see people hurting. For some thirty years or so I thought the answer to fixing people's suffering was god. I was stupid, of course, but one has to be there to understand. I was a zealot because I gave a damn. And in a weird kind of way I still cannot explain it worked for me.
By the year 2000, however, I'd tried and failed at so many efforts to "save the world," or at least part of it, that I was pissed and cynical, but still a believer of sorts.
My wife and I could not ever have our own kids. My biology. (TMI?) As a last effort to have our own kids we entered the foster/adopt program. On a chilly winter day in 2003 caseworkers delivered four ragged kids to our door. They were emaciated specimens of abuse and neglect. Our adventure began.
Due to circumstances beyond my control I became the home parent for those four kids. Over the span of the next couple of years I cared for a total of ten different kids, up to six at once. I cared for a premie crack baby and teens. Eventually we adopted three, two of the original four and their older sister. The older sister turned out to be way too far gone and too terribly abused to control. She's long gone. The other two, however, now ages 12 and a couple weeks away from 11, are my very heart and soul.
Today is our family anniversary. Our sentimental lawyer picked February 14 as the court date for our adoption. February 14, 2005, I officially became a parent.
It's ironic that the local TV news posted this article this morning: Child Abuse Cases Cost Billions. The costs in human tragedy is far, far greater. And that's where it all started for me, when I entered the horrid, ugly world of CPS.
When I became fully aware not only of the horrible problem of child abuse but of the ineptitude of CPS and the complacency of the community towards it, and the fact that "only poor children are abused" (yeah, right!) my "savior complex" kicked in. I almost single-handedly put together a private agency that was going to save hundreds and thousands of kids. We were going to do it the right way.
The first shock I got was how totally lame the religious community was when it came to abused children. I spoke before a group of prominent pastors and NOBODY was interested in being a part of the agency. I recruited a board full of "good christian people," including a couple of relatives, and none of them would shuck out five bucks for the cause. I discovered that child abuse is an ugly little problem that everybody wants kept under the rug. It's great to point fingers at criminals and say they are abused but to give a damn BEFORE they become criminals? To DO SOMETHING for them? Hell no!
In the end the agency died an ugly death at the hands of cowards. Long story. But along with it my belief in god died as well. I'd been slipping down rather rapidly for a few years but there was always that little "Oh shit, there must be a god or.... iiiieeeeekkkkkk" thought. Then the day after the organization died it all ended for me. There is the first link between atheism and child abuse. The absolutely appalling way christianity in this town treats the subject of child abuse once and for all killed any belief I ever had.
But it doesn't end there. It occurred to me this morning that there are similarities between being abused and being an atheist. The foster kids we sent to school were treated like shit. I discovered that most people look down their fucking self-righteous noses at abused kids as if it were THEIR FAULT! It's always poor kids, kids of poor parents, in the system because parents with money lawyer up and keep on abusing their kids. So poor and foster = worthless trash. Foster kids are mistreated in the same way atheists are mistreated, or vice versa, by the people who claim to hold the keys to love and compassion and for no other reason than the worst kind of bigotry.
I used to be a big fan of Smooth Jazz. When our family life went to shit a few years ago and life really sucked (that oldest daughter, long story) I got into Metal mostly because I loved the lyrics. Slipknot's "People = Shit" sure seemed to fit my thinking. East Texas christianity is very "jewish," people judge something "unclean" and then trash it. And there is no separation between the religion and the culture. It IS the culture. People in this town live up to the "shit" rep quit well.
Personally, I don't think this fucked up bunch of people will ever get their head out of their sanctified ass. They're cowards, they're convinced, and they're idiots. They pissed me off all the time when I was "one of them" (sort'of). They piss me off more now. They sit on their pews and ignore everything they were supposed to do according to their own goddamn religion, they persecute rather than protect, and they hate rather than love.
Religious people in East Texas do nothing for abused children because they are the abusers. And they hate those who actually give a damn because they remind them of their hypocrisy. Totally fucked up!
Atheists and abused children are a lot alike. They're mistreated unfairly by the community in general. They're who they are by no fault of their own. And rather than being compassionate and open minded towards them the religious community refuses to try and understand them and shuns them like they have a disease. And most of all, christians are too fucking stupid to realize that they are responsible. Their own idiotic attitudes and hypocritical actions and self-righteous bullshit that leads to child abuse AND leads to people waking up and recognizing how fake and fucked up religion is altogether. Go figure.