Many children have invisible friends. For the most part, the practice is seen as relatively harmless, and healthy for the budding imagination. Most of the time, invisible friends are just flights of fancy, and after a relatively short time, fade into the past and give way to big kid diversions. I tend to agree that invisible friends are mostly harmless for children, especially if the parent is very clear in explaining that games and imagination are fun, but that the invisible friend doesn’t have any real place in the universe.
As an example, most parents will not tolerate their child blaming the invisible friend for breaking the window or wetting the bed. When children begin to use the invisible friend as an excuse for their own moral failings, parents usually know enough to put a stop to the whole thing.
Perhaps we should start applying the same logic to adults. The recent case of two girls being expelled from a religious school for acting like lesbians got me to thinking about how Christians and other theists use their god (or gods) as scapegoats for their own moral failings. This becomes particularly obvious to me when I talk to Christians who are obviously bigoted against gays. “Well,” they opine, “I don’t hate gays, but the Bible clearly says that they are an abomination, and are sinners, perverting the natural use of sex.”
Slap me in the face and call me Betsy, but I can’t see any difference between that and saying that Jack the Invisible Eight Year Old was the one who threw the ball through the window.
Have you noticed that people go to churches that agree with their own ethics? That is, if you go to a Southern Baptist church, pretty much everybody there is going to have the same views on morals and biblical interpretation. Sure, you have some leeway, but you’re not going to see any gay women as ministers. Not for long, anyway. If you go to an Episcopalian church in Boston, you can be relatively certain that you’re going to be in the company of relatively liberal people who believe in a very loose interpretation of the Bible, particularly when it involves hating gays and outlawing abortion and other such public issues.
Isn’t it about time that we start calling things what they are? I’m tired of letting adults hide behind their invisible friends. People who go to churches that promote bigotry are bigots, and I’m done giving them a free pass. If they really felt so strongly that bigotry is wrong, guess what… they wouldn’t be in the church they’re in.
So get angry at me if you want, but I’m done being polite to bigots. I refuse to let them blame their personal opinions on God and get away with it. It’s just another way that religion gets a free pass. Want to be a bigot? Join a bigoted church. Then, you can say anything you want, and blame it on God.
Nope. I’m done with it. Bigots are bigots, and they don’t get away with it just by blaming their invisible friend. Their parents should have taught them better.