I sifted through Salon articles tonight as I listened to news about missing dogs and weekend weather. I found a gem of an article by a writer that I had not heard of to date. Sue Saunders’ Our Awkward Talks about God.
I connected with her story immediately; I struggle with how to talk to Maria and Mario about religion. We have many family members who are catholic, and who have a strong faith. We have family members who do not practice any religion but believe in living a moral and just life. Jon and I were both raised catholic but do not practice. We got married in a church and had Maria and Mario baptized but have struggled with where to go from there. I firmly believe in treating all with respect and compassion. I firmly believe in empathy and “stepping into the shoes of another.” A lot of these beliefs were promoted during my years in catholic schools but as Sue Saunders also witnessed, there was a lot of hypocrisy witnessed during those years and long thereafter, too. I can’t fathom people of faith who espouse how they love others – but shun homosexuals. Or people of faith who judge others for certain actions but then turn around and engage in the same acts or worse. Judgmental behavior gets under my skin like no other.
Like the author, I have tried to be honest with Maria and Mario when they ask me about God or ask me where the deceased go after they die. I also allow family members to talk to Maria and Mario about their faiths and beliefs. I don’t want to mold their minds for them one way or the other. They should have the ultimate choice what they want to believe and what they want to practice. But I do, no matter what, want them to embrace certain virtues – compassion, empathy, care, respect. I think that is everyone’s moral duty – religion or not.