Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dear Diary: Losing My Pure Heart

Context: When I was thirteen I fell really hard for the only boy I'd ever spent any time with. He was a friend of the family. We held hands twice before the adults caught on and shut it all down. I wrote this is my diary shortly after that incident.

Dear Diary,                                            August 18
Oh I feel so horrible! How could I do this? I've preached to my friends but I'm just a hypocrite. I'm so confused and ashamed. If I can't say "he's my first love" on my wedding day, why does it even matter how many there have been. I'm a used napkin now. I know God used this to teach me, but why did he have to steal the gift of a pure heart? Why did I let this happen? It's not fair. My life is a mess. I wish I had a different life. I wish God put me somewhere else. I wish i could stop wishing! I don't want to be a worldy girl. I hate them. I hate how they gossip. I hate thier flirty clothes. I hate thier cakey makeup and nail polish. I hate how they always seem so happy... I hate that I want to be one of them, and I hate how it shows.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dear Diary: Fundamentalism Through the Eyes of a Child

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel guilty for leaving fundamentalism  It's not logical obviously, but somewhere deep down I still have this built in self-doubt. "It wasn't that bad," I tell myself, "you're exaggerating " I think about the things I've written on my blog and wonder if maybe I've somehow made them all up. Maybe my memories are flawed, maybe I'm victimizing myself.

In one of these moments of self-doubt, I turned to my childhood journal for affirmation. What I found startled me even more than my memories. Every page is swimming with self-hatred. Half the journal entries read like a suicide note. It's horrifying.

Fundamentalism teaches children that they are sinners. It teaches them to deny themselves, despise their needs, sterilize their personality, and strangle their sexuality. It teaches girls that they are stupid, insignificant, and purposeless without a man. The things you believe about yourself during your formative years shape the way you think, feel, and behave for the rest of your life. Nothing can be more crippling than self-hatred.

To illustrate how deeply fundamentalism destroys a child's self-worth, I am considering publishing some of the entries from my childhood/teenage journals. This will not be a commentary on my family or the things that happened in my home. It will be a glimpse into the mind and heart of a little girl who believed she did not deserve to live. My hope would be that people will see the dangers of fundamentalist Christianity and think twice about the things they teach (or allow to be thought) to their children.

Would anyone find this helpful or interesting? Would you be interested in sharing bits from your childhood journal to add to the illustration?

UPDATE: Many people experienced similar self-hatred stemming from psychological abuse that was not necessarily religious in nature. I welcome journal entries from those children as well as they offer a clear example of how religious fundamentalism is a form of psychological abuse.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anti-Birth Control or Anti-Women?

During my engagement, my fiancĂ© and I received a call from another young couple we knew. They had been married for about 5 years and already had 4 small children. I had mentioned in a previous conversation that I was considering some kind of IUD to prevent pregnancy for our first year of marriage, so I was not surprised when they revealed that they wanted to talk to us about birth control. “Any birth control besides a barrier method is basically an abortion” they told us. “We will come visit you tonight (it was a 15 hour drive) if you’re really serious about using BC, we feel that strongly about it.”

I took their passionate response as a sign from God: birth control is murder. They gave me the same argument I grew up hearing, but in more detail. If you haven’t heard the argument, it goes something like this: Birth control pills work by thinning the lining of the uterus. If your birth control fails to prevent ovulation (this happens in 2-10% of cases) and an egg becomes fertilized, the uterus will reject the egg, thus causing the “baby” to die and be expelled from the body. The argument continues by saying that millions of babies are murdered by birth control every year.

Some of you may have seen this video circulating on the Internet. It’s the one that claims birth control is responsible for adultery, homosexuality, divorce, murder, and a slew of other “evils.” I won’t even begin to address the dozens of lies and misleading statistics in the video. I just want to address the issue at the core of the anti-birth control. Namely, that birth control is murder.
Now, this whole position is ridiculous if you don’t believe that a zygote is a baby. Most people hear the anti-birth control argument and shrug it off. There are some, however, that believe life begins at conception. For those people, hormonal birth control seems to be completely out of the question. However, the anti-birth control crowd leaves out one very important fact: a woman’s body naturally rejects at least 18% of fertilized eggs. This means that if you have unprotected sex that leads to the fertilization of an egg (30% chance or successful fertilization), the resulting zygote has an 18% chance of being rejected by the uterus. The human body naturally performs “abortions” almost 20% of the time. So does taking birth control actually increase the chances of zygote abortion, or does birth control actually reduce the chances of this occurring? Let’s do the math.

Without Birth Control:
Out of 100 fertile women on birth control, 100 of them will ovulate in any given month.
Out of those 100 released eggs, 33 will become fertilized.
Out of those 33, 18% will be rejected by the uterus.
In a group of 100 women not on birth control: 6 zygotes will “die”

With Birth Control:
Out of 100 fertile women on birth control, around 6 of them will ovulate in any given month.
Out of those 6 released eggs, only 2 will become fertilized.
Out of those 2, 100% will be rejected by the uterus.
In a group of 100 women on birth control: 2 zygotes will “die”

So let’s get this straight, taking birth control makes a woman’s body LESS likely to dispel fertilized eggs. If you believe that life begins at conception, shouldn’t it be your moral duty to reduce the number of zygote “abortions?” If you believe that a zygote is a human, you actually kill more babies by refusing to take birth control.

How has such a massive flaw gone unnoticed all this time? Did anti-birth control advocates really just “miss” these obvious facts, or could it be that they like the result of this misconception? Denying women rights to their own reproduction is the oldest weapon in the war on women. Even if you believe that a zygote deserves the same rights as a full grown human, there is still no reason to oppose birth control other than to control women.

 I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of the “personhood” smokescreen. Let’s call the anti-birth control message by its real name: anti-woman.