Why She Left Her Church

A very good friend of mine just left her Catholic church in large part because of its support for the marriage amendment that will be on Minnesota’s ballot this November. The church put a “Vote Yes” sign in their front lawn, and that was the final straw for her.

Not sure I can stomach the Vote Yes sign outside of my church. I get where they are coming from (I mean, it’s a Catholic church!) and that we all have to make our choices inside of our religion, but that sign…it’s so…in my face. I think I need to make an enormous change. My faith is strong, but I need to find a place that aligns with the rest of me too, right?

I know she agonized over the decision, but she did end up resigning; she couldn’t continue to attend and raise her children in a church that is opposed to marriage equality and that holds GLBT people and families in disregard. She would describe herself as being a firm believer in God and so she’s now looking for a new place to worship. She has received a ton of support from her friends and family. In fact, her mom told her that  she stopped being a Catholic years ago!

Keep shooting yourselves in the foot, RCC. Keep telling women that they’re underlings, keep telling people that teh gay is nasty, keep telling your parishioners that they don’t have any control over their lives except what you and God give them. See how that works out for you in the long run.

I’m an atheist (no – really!), but that’s my personal decision about God(s). I know I’m right, just like my friend knows she’s right about God’s existence. I don’t love her any less for her belief. I’m not gloating that she has decided that her church doesn’t work for her. But I am proud of her for rising above this one particularly odious doctrine of her church.

Thank you, you beautiful, brave woman for sharing your story (her story is shared here with permission).

Why She Left Her Church

719 thoughts on “Why She Left Her Church

  1. 2

    Good for her. It had to be difficult for her. Having not been raised in a religion, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have to leave one’s church.

    @ericblair, churches are sending evidence of them practicing politics from the pulpit, daring them to do anything about it. By all means, report the church. I don’t think it will make any difference, unfortunately.

  2. 4

    ericblair @ # 1: … it violates their tax-exempt status to engaage in political promotion.

    IANAL, but I don’t think so.

    The tax regs are pretty clear: churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations are in the clear taking stands on public issues, but they have to keep away from electoral campaigns. A stand on the marriage equality issue is not an endorsement or attack on any candidate, and falls into the safe zone.

    As frogmistress notes in # 2, a televangelists’ legal/advocacy group (Alliance Defense Fund, apparently recently renamed Allies Defending Faith or somesuch silliness) is pushing hard to get preachers to defy federal law by endorsing (Republican) candidates from their pulpits. Americans United for Separation of Church and State follows their antics closely.

  3. 5

    If your friend would like to continue to practice her faith in a supportive place, I suggest she explore St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis (http://www.stjoan.com/) or Spirit of St. Stephens (http://www.spiritofststephens.org/). Both are welcoming places to GLBT folks and straight allies, and have quite a few queer-identified parishioners. I am a member of St. Joans and I feel very welcome there and love that there are other GLBT families. It’s a large, family friendly parish and if your friend would like to talk more feel free to give her my email.

  4. 6

    @ericblair – Corporate entities existing under section 501(c)(3) of the US Tax Code, such as churches, are prohibited from endorsing politicians or collecting resources on behalf of an election campaign. However, they have always been able to engage in “issue advocacy,” which is defined as coming out for or against ballot measures.

    In a similar vein, they cannot say “Vote for This Guy” but they can say “We do not support That Guy and we hope our members will not, either.” It is a very fine line, but one that is very well established.

  5. 7

    It’s a fine line indeed when the ballot initiative being supported actually makes law. How can that be seen as fundamentally different from supporting a candidate? If anything, it’s a more direct political action.

  6. 8

    “Keep telling women that they’re underlings”

    Hey if you’re going to be dishonest (ignorant? One of them) it’s best not to link to a Wikipedia page that is both more informative and more accurate than your post and directly contradicts you in several places.

    1. 8.1

      What!? Someone writes more informatively and more accurately than me on the internet? Quick! Summon me my huntsman and have him bring me their heart!

      Wow…and you’re not going to throw out a “You’re wrong about this” or “I disagree with this point”, but rather jump straight to saying that I’m being “dishonest”? That means you think my intent is to deceive. I’m not trying to convince anyone that the Catholic Church is not a good place for women; I think that’s rather obvious.

      Oh, or maybe, as you suggest, I’m just ignorant. Do tell, what part of “Keep telling women that they’re underlings” is inaccurate? Women aren’t allowed to be priests solely on basis of their gender. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious was recently harshly reprimanded by the men in charge over at the Vatican for daring to voice their honest opinions and viewpoints. Catholic women are to follow strict sexual and reproductive doctrines. Catholic women are considered subservient to their husbands (and all adult men). How many women authors have been published by the RCC? How often have women been consulted when church teachings were written? How long have women been involved in the Catholic liturgy?

      I link to that wiki page because if reads past the cheery “women are treasures!” tone, one can see the “sacred in a separate but equal kinda way at least until Pope Benedict can move us away from all this PC crap and return us to papal fundamentalism” reality. The article shoots itself in the foot simply by stating the church’s actual positions on women in the church.

  7. 9

    Keep telling women that they’re underlings, keep telling people that teh gay is nasty….

    Not to fault you, but you left out the catholic cult’s attempts to falsely equate the rampant child molestation with homosexuals. There are so many points to note that an omission is inevitable, or done to save space.

    Child molestation is overwhelmingly a crime of males who can’t handle functional adult relationships (e.g. priests who chose celibacy), not of gays who want to get married.



    1. 9.1

      This is a good point. I believe that there are so many reasons to not be associated with RCC. I highlighted these two because they are issues that directly affected my friend’s experience and decision to finally quit the church.

      1. An amendment to my own omission:

        Child molestation is overwhelmingly a crime of heterosexual males

        Studies like the UC Davis one (and others) show a disproportionately heterosexual leaning amongst paedophiles.

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