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25 October 2006 @ 12:28 pm
A Lesbian's Letter to God  
Sometime last year, Amber-darling (minttown1) wrote a wonderfully funny letter to God in which deconstructed the false logic behind the Christian-based mythology that all women are being punished for Eve's actions when they suffer through their periods. It was awesome. Her lj is friends-locked, so I can't offer the link, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

Last night, I was sitting in my backwards, homophobic Women in the Bible class and-- rather than listen to the professor use the classroom as a pulpit-- I decided to write a letter and share some of my own grievances with God. Unfortunately, I think it may be too bitter and angry to be as funny Amber's letter. Regardless of whether or not this is too vitriolic to be entertaining, I've decided to go ahead and post it. I barely participated in Coming Out Day this year, because my new job is centered so staunchly in WASP-y suburbia. I have no desire to be the victim of a witch hunt. But even if I'm not actively hiding who I am, I'm beginning to feel the strain. The discomfort of saying, 'Oh, I doubt it' when my boss and coworkers say there must be a nice guy out there for me somewhere. (Yeah, and I'll be waiting... with a chain-saw. ^_~) The odd feeling of being one of only three single women in the building, and the only one over traditional marrying age. Having to keep my mouth shut when one of the teachers tells a particular third grade boy he can't check out Cinderella, because "it's a girl's book".

Anger turned inwards is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye. Anger turned outwards... that's this letter. Hopefully, it's at least a little entertaining. A lot of it owes to Amber's genius. *hugs tightly*

Please note that I am not out to offend any Christian readers-- regardless of your personal beliefs, I think it is fair to say that the church does spend a lot of its time characterizing God in a light more in line with "Vengeance is mine, sayth the Lord" than "Love thy neighbor". I'm talking to the Established Official Line, not to you. ^_^

That said, I leave you with:

Dear God,

So, yeah. I know I stopped talking to You a long, long time ago, except for those odd instances where I forget myself and ask You to protect a certain someone, 'cause I get so desperate. And anyway, according to most of Your earthly representatives, You don't answer the prayers of abominations like me, so I guess it's a moot point. Still, I have some questions; hence this letter. I guess some of these inquiries are kind of impertinent. Constantine said there's a special level of hell for people who ask impertinent questions, and apparently Constantine was totally part of Your crew, what with the crosses on the battlefield and all. However, since President Bush insists that You are are one hundred percent behind America no matter what stupidity we get ourselves into, I'm sort of hoping You're into democracy and all it entails. (Even though, You know, Bush seems to have forgotten what it is.) Democratically speaking, I have a right to petition for redress of grievances, so I hope You'll hold off smiting or damning me until I'm finished. Thanks.

My big beef is this book You've got floating around. Or, specifically, parts of said book. Most of the stories and poems are nice and all, but You've got some pretty inflexible rules about stuff people can't really control. Of course, I am assured by Your representatives that the Bible is definitely Your unbroken word and not-- as all evidence suggests-- a collection of texts compiled, edited, and reedited over the centuries by persons with differing political agendas. And, YOU know, Your representatives would NEVER lie, or have agendas of their own.

I guess these days there must be a lot of Bibles with really worn passages in Leviticus. It's that ever-popular "do not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abhorrence." (Lev 18:22) Now, there could be tons of reasons why this passage is in there. It could be because, historically speaking, the Israelites are trying to establish an identity separate from the polytheists around them, and it was perfectly acceptable in these polytheistic societies for men to have sex with other men. It could be as arbitrary as the rule stating that the Tabernacle should be X cubits wide, or that a woman must sacrifice two pigeons to 'cleanse' her from her period. (Which is a lot of pigeons, btw.) It could also have something to do with that whole 'as a woman' qualifier-- it might be perfectly acceptable for a man to lie with another man _as a man_. But, of course, none of these perfectly logical explanations are acceptable to Your earthly representatives, or President Bush (who is constantly assuring us that You converse with him frequently). No, it _must_ be because homosexual people are evil and going to hell totally omg.

Now-- leaving aside all the suicides this little verse has inspired, and all the murders and hate crimes and Matthew Shepherds in the world-- I really don't know where You get off having something like this in Your book. What's up with punishing people for being the way You made them? All evidence indicates to me that being gay is not a choice--it's something one is born with. Like having blonde hair or blue eyes. Lots of people try to blame other things, like mental illness, or not having a strong father figure, or being molested as a child. But none of these explanations fit across the board the way genetics does. Also, cracked-out "ex-gay" ministries aside, most gays and lesbians would tell You that they tried very hard to repress their own nature, and were miserable because of it. (Hell, many of them probably prayed to You to 'fix' them.) Why are You punishing them for something they can't control? Do You want them to be miserable? It's like the whole Garden of Eden thing-- I mean, if You're omnipotent, then You would know that even before You started collecting dust to make the first conscious being that We were going to completely screw things up. My Women in the Bible professor keeps insisting that we humans are Your great experiment, but it's not a very good experiment if the conclusion is forgone. I know that if I slap someone, it will hurt them-- that does not justify my slapping someone to prove they will experience pain.

I mean, I get that You are all about the smiting, and the hellfire, and the brimstone, and the scaring people into following Your rules. Even Your son got his butt kicked for being a long-haired hippie socialist. (We all know You're totally a Conservative Republican, with all the patriarchy and repression and stuff.) What I don't get is what You expect us-- the gay and lesbian population-- to do. Should we just lie down and slit our wrists, since we were doomed before we even left the womb? (Opps-- suicide is a sin, too.) Are we supposed to deny our very selves and pretend to be straight? Lie back and-- pardon the pun-- take it like a man? (Because, OMG, we all know women aren't supposed to enjoy sex anyway!) Should we make babies and repress a whole new generation-- keep on being fruitful even though we're running out of space and resources and there are all these crazy people running around with nukes?

Right. So, I'd really appreciate it if You'd address these issues for me. In Rabbinical tradition, Elijah is supposed to answer all the questions that can't be answered on earth. Since-- as I am often reminded by Your followers-- I am going to hell for being a lesbian (and not believing implicitly in Your word, and not being a nice quiet baby-making machine as You decreed), I was wondering if You'd mind sending Elijah down to illuminate this stuff for me. All the cool people (Stein, Wilde, Hall, Woolfe, Whitman, ect) are going to hell anyway. Okay, thanx, bye.

Meredith Bronwen Mallory

Emotional Temperature: awakeawake
The Band Plays:: "Meant to Live"-- by Switchfoot
Insufferable Know-It-All: shitladyaeryn on October 25th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
**hugs** I'm sorry you have to go through this, Mer.

It's stuff like this that is the reason my Dad and I aren't as close as we used to be before he got sucked into an Assembly of God church and married the most narrow-minded woman I've ever met. I suppose my brain works too 'logically' to accept the inconsistencies of the Bible as a cohesive whole either. I'm fine with it as a general how-to, there is some genuinely good stuff in there - but an infallible step-by-step manual? It's not. It was written down by Man (you know, that not perfect being?), over thousands of years, and gone through countless translations - how can anyone say with a straight face it can be taken word-for-word? And then turn around and apply that to enforce only what they want to enforce - the Bible's unfailingly right when it says homosexuality is immoral, but, say, the bits about marrying a divorced woman being considered adultery - also a horrible sin? (Which my Dad apparently committed by marrying this woman, twice-divorced. :P) Or wearing clothes made of more than one material, or working on the Sabbath? Eh, you can fudge those.

I wonder how people like Dad can reconcile the incredibly wrathful God of the Old Testament to the more benevolent NT one. There's no way you can tell me that the change in God's demeanor there, or that many of the thou-shalt/thou-shalt-nots in the Bible aren't at least in part a result of the time its books were written in. If the Old Testament were written today, you think they could get away with publishing as fact all this stuff about women being lower/more filthy than men? Fuck no.

My stepmom once told me she feared nothing except the Lord. (Which, if her reaction to the Parseltongue scene in the Chamber of Secrets movie is any indicator, is utter bullshit, but anyway.) So, even if you're as devout and faithful as she claims to be, she's still afraid she's going to be smote down or something? Sounds like a great God to spend eternity with. I don't disbelieve in God - but I sure as heck don't care for my dad/stepmom's interpretation of him.

Hmm. And about painful periods being a punishment for Eve's sins (another sign of a nice God, punishing countless innocent generations of women for one girl's mistake)... am I thwarting His will, then, by taking the Pill specifically to avoid that monthly nastiness?

Sorry, got into my own rant there. But I do agree with you. I'm not gay, but it infuriates me to think that if I were, I probably wouldn't be very welcome in my Dad's house (certainly not when his wife is around), or at the very least he'd feel it should be something he needed to pray to God to fix.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: lilyevansgarnettrees on October 28th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
*hugs Aeryn* You have my sympathies too, my dear. I know what it's like to have a family member's religion get in the way of relationships. I'd be much closer with my cousin if my aunt didn't think I'm the spawn of Satan for being Jewish (she doesn't even know I'm gay. *rolls eyes*)

(Incidentally, my aunt also thinks Harry Potter is a satanic conspiracy, so it sounds like she and your stepmom would get along famously. ^_~)

It's nice to know gay-friendly straight people-- you show me that humans can be kind and enlightened. I can't tell you how much the sympathy and support means.

Amber: the class | kyle and aaronminttown1 on October 25th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
There is nothing I don't love about this letter.

The saddest thing I ever witnessed was a Christian woman who actually did try to kill herself over, among other things, having romantic feelings for another woman.
If there is a god, that cannot be what He intended for his children. And yet there's nothing anyone can say to convince the more conservative contingent that they must be wrong about all this.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: kaylee_inaragarnettrees on October 28th, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
There is nothing I don't love about this letter.
Well, there's nothing I didn't love about yours, so we're even. ^_^

I don't think there's a member of the LGBT community who hasn't thought about suicide, even just a little. It's hard when some of the most entrenched establishments in your society are telling you that you're basically a mistake. I honestly don't know where the fight for gay civil rights is going to go-- on the one hand, the social change seems to be slowly coming along but, on the other hand, the conservative religious groups are doing all they can to hault and reverse the progress.
Douglas Spencer: Faithdougs on October 25th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC)
> I'm talking to the Established Official Line, not to you.

Bless you for recognising the distinction. There's an awful lot that my Religion has done, in the form of that "Established, Official Line", which is at sharp variance with my Faith. The Christian faith is simple -- God loves you, unconditionally -- and the "Christian" religion is unnecessarily complex, and full of awful, horrible, destructive nonsense. I weep for it.

Religion is nonsense. The "Established, Official Line" is nonsense. Praise God that there are Churches that recognise that nonsense for what it is, that actually live out the fact that God loves you. Six weeks ago, in another context, I wrote the following:
    God loves us, He loves us completely and wholeheartedly, [...] He longs to see us give that love to others and to receive it in return. The love of one person for another is the best gift someone can give to God; the most complete, most apt, most faithful reflection there can be of God's love for us.
Don't forget it. Love whom you will, according to the nature He gave you, and your relationship with God is sound. If someone hates you for it, it's their relationship with God which is broken.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: marinegirlgarnettrees on October 28th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Bless you for recognising the distinction. There's an awful lot that my Religion has done, in the form of that "Established, Official Line", which is at sharp variance with my Faith.
It's people like you, Dougs, that remind me that there are intelligent Believers out there who do not swallow the main-line rhetoric whole-sale, and who are dedicated to the simple, revolutionary pillars of the religion.

You always write so beautifully, and bring a smile to my face. Thank you, for following your heart, and really living the Golden Rule.
Nebula: crusading for himauthoressnebula on October 25th, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
I did find humor in it, so no worries; it did have funny bits.

The God of hellfire and vengeance isn't the God of the New Testament. That was the God of the Old Testament. Let me try to explain.

In my Mythology class, while the Israelites were wandering around and trying out the various Babylonian gods such as Baal, I think many people tried to harken God as a God who would smite and destroy them if they didn't pay attention to Him, and it worked; the people continuously kept turning back. Plus, when you go to war, it's a lot easier to say that you've got a God of wrath behind you, as opposed to a God of peace and prosperity. Makes you sound more fierce, and it gives you a little peace of mind knowing that if He's a destroying God, then He surely wouldn't mind you destroying your opposing forces. He'd probably condone it.

In the New Testament, they do speak out about girls with girls and guys with guys, but it's actually Paul who says something about it. Jesus says nothing on the matter, and it must've been a big matter. Jesus was God's Son and spokesperson, and for God to make His Son a human with the ailments and scratches and death we endure, He had to care a little bit for everyone. In fact, He had to care a LOT. Because seriously, I wouldn't do it. I don't think I'd give my child or myself to save the world. I'd like to think I would, but I know I wouldn't.

I don't think God wants women to be child-bearing machines; that was something I'm pretty sure a man put in there to lead and rule the women. Eve had an equal place next to Adam in the garden. God doesn't say anything about women being lesser or inferior; that's something man put in there. It's been put into several mythologies, where a woman screws up. Take Pandora for example, or Izanami in the Japanese myths. She speaks before her partner does, and they create a demon-spawn because of it. She lets him speak first, and suddenly, everything's right in the world.


I wouldn't believe too much of the Old Testament, personally. There were too many politics and different factions dealing with supposedly one text. The New Testament is a little different story. Because these people existed, Christ existed. There's a God of peace and understanding, and if Christ can love a prostitute who may have slept with men AND women, then He can love the rest of us. All He wants is for us to believe in Him so He can take us home one day. He's pretty empathic, I think. I'd want people to be my friend if it meant I could do something wonderful for them, like my Project: Christmas. They need to be friended to me, first. I can friend them, but they won't be on my f-list until they friend me back. I think that's how God works.

Sorry if my ramblings made your head hurt sweetie. *hugs*

Meredith Bronwen Mallory: magicgarnettrees on October 28th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
I did find humor in it, so no worries; it did have funny bits.
I'm glad. I didn't want to offend you, lambykins. ^_^

The God of hellfire and vengeance isn't the God of the New Testament.
I understand that. Part of the purpose of the letter was to point out the illogic of not looking at the Bible in its historical context, and no accepting the fact it was written by humans. There are still so many people who insist it is the unbroken word of God, and I think that's where you really get into trouble.

The New Testament God is not the same as the Old Testament, no-- however, Christianity, which rests on the New Testament, has invented some of the most vitrolic statements about women. You pointed out Paul, so I'll point out Martin Luther, who said women don't have souls. I realize none of these statements are God's words, but the damage is there. My purpose in the letter was to talk to the almost comical image the religious right has created of God, not God himself.

The legend of Izanami always cracks me up. That is in no way subtle, guys. *pokes ancient Japanese misogynists*

I'm though with organized religion. I respect and am happy for those who can still go and find something positive but, for me, it's too tainted. The Deity and I can have a realtionship outside the church.

*hugs* I do hope you're not mad at me, sweetie.
Sara: G'eh?ra_sar on October 25th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
It's not an answer to your letter but New Jersey's Supreme Court just ruled that gays and lesbians are entitled to equal legal unions. No word on whether it'll be marriage or civil unions, but it's certainly better than a constitutional ban on marriage!

Maybe your letter put some good queer vibes into the atmosphere. :-)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: dcgirlsgarnettrees on October 28th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
but it's certainly better than a constitutional ban on marriage!
You can say that again! *grins* Thanks for the news-- that makes my heart a little lighter.

We could all use some more queer vibes in our lives, eh? ^_~
Miyekomiyeko on October 26th, 2006 08:56 am (UTC)
Well said. Organized religions tend to be wacky, to say the least.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: frozengarnettrees on October 28th, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
*grins* You said it, honey. ^_^ Glad it gave you a giggle.
studmuffinspeedgriffon on February 17th, 2010 06:46 am (UTC)
Hmm.. I could do a long reply but I'll make it short for you xP
This letter has some of my thoughts in it, but it also made me sad at how most people in the world view the Christian 'religion'.

Hm. First, God is not a Republican. Hell, he probably doesn't even back America. I definitely don't agree with the whole patriotism/Christianity hand-in-hand thing. That, to me, is pretty gag-inducing.

Also, dougs *really* hits the nail on the head. I grew up in the church (all 16 years of my long life xP), and I can confidently say I am Christian.

The Old Testament was written under a different covenant, before Jesus came and laid down the Golden Rule. Sadly, too many Christians focus on the rules and the 'doing', rather than love and 'living'. I know a few gay Christians, and I would not doubt for one second how 'Christian' they are. It's utter bull to be making such a huge deal out of it; we should not be wasting our energy on something so trivial and irrelevant. There are much larger issues out there, and we need to be out there helping and spreading love. I have a lot of debates with my mom over this >.< So, I am a firm believer in l-o-v-e. And in the world we're in today, I'm pretty sure we could use all the love we can get :)

And yeah, again, I know this is old, and I'm really really really (really!) not stalking your posts, but this caught my eye >.< I was really looking for your first Torchwood fics LOL xP
studmuffinspeedgriffon on February 17th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
eep! Sorry, that really was supposed to be 'short'. You don't have to read it if you don't want to, :P
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: intentiongarnettrees on February 18th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
I hope I didn't offend you, my dear! I was raised in the church, as well-- or, rather, since my Mother is Jewish and my Father Catholic, the synagogue and the church. In retrospect, that can probably explain a majority of my religious issues. ^_~ At the time I wrote this, I was feeling very frustrated with some of the 'Established Line' BS that was coming from conservatives in my area (and Ohio is extremely conservative, in places). Bush's 'crusade' comments weren't helping, either, hence the gab at 'God being a republician'.

It's utter bull to be making such a huge deal out of it; we should not be wasting our energy on something so trivial and irrelevant.
Bless you! This is exactly the sort of sentiment one wants to hear in the 21st Century. It seems to me that the tide is slowly turning. I try to remember this when I'm confronted with very staunch, disapproving 'Christians' who are older than I. My workplace is very socially liberal, but I've still had more than one person stop talking to me when they 'discovered' my orientation. I'm not generally a very 'out' person (in my opinion, it's really no one's goddamn business), but I'm not in the closet, either. I'm just Meredith, and Meredith happens to be gay. She also happens to be Jewish, and a Feminist, and a dozen other labels. And I really shouldn't talk about myself in the third person. ^_~

And in the world we're in today, I'm pretty sure we could use all the love we can get :)
I know I can get behind that. Here, here!

Don't worry about 'stalking'-- I appreciate the comment and, like I said, I hope I didn't offend you with my snark. I also hope you enjoy the TW fics! ^_~
studmuffinspeedgriffon on February 18th, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC)
No, no, don't worry, I'm not offended at all :)

*whew* Good, I was a bit worried you might think me a creeper xP And yes, I absolutely love your fics! Off to read your latest chapter right now :D