Another little dust up here in “God’s” country. Although, according to the latest poll released by Pew Research Center, Oregon is still the most unchurched state in the union. We also have the largest percentage of people describing themselves as evangelicals. There may be a correlation in there somewhere. We did have a lot of missionaries plying their trade back in the beginning. And it may be that we’re just a little more honest when we admit that we haven’t hung a label on ourselves. Unless the label is “darned if I know, but I’m working on it
Oregonian columnist, Margie Boulet, wrote three columns ( 1, 2, 3 )about an eighty year old gal from the Brookings area who tried to join the local Elks Lodge. She has friends who are members, she believes the Elks do some good things, and frankly there aren’t a whole lot of places for seniors to hang out in the south coast area. During the interview, she admitted that she is an Atheist. Actually, she is a believer of sorts, just not the kind that can be found on a check list. And I checked the Elk’s website. One of their goals is to foster a belief in God, but they don’t specify which one. Although this particular group is making it painfully obvious which one they have in mind.
The Elks not only turned her down, she was informed that she wouldn’t be admitted as a guest of friends who are members. If you’ve followed the links to Ms Boule’s columns, she was very careful to differentiate between a group denying membership to a person and never allowing that person to darken their doors under any circumstance. Last time a checked, non belief was not a communicable disease.
What doesn’t surprise me in the least was the reaction from the “believers” side of the building to the columns. You’d think the barbarians were sacking Rome; again. Give it a rest guys, you’ve won, at least for now. But without the power to coerce, at least in the US, I think you’re going to have to share the sandbox a little more than you’re used to.
I could say a lot more. It’s not worth it and I’m preaching to the choir here, anyway. It’s just the oddly aggressive defensiveness that many Christians and Muslims display when any questions are asked is, well, really weird when you come right down to it. It’s almost as if they’re afraid that someone else asking questions will bring their own faith into question.
I wouldn’t know, all I’ve ever had were questions. A lot of questions, and damn few answers. But, I can't help wondering what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot. If there were enough "non-monotheists" to have fun organizations that the current dominants wanted to join and they were denied entry due to their beliefs. I just wonder what the reaction would be.