They See Me Rollin’, They Trollin’! (Fun With A Religous-flavored Troll)

So I got me a troll on an old post of mine: Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away. I was responding on the post itself, but then I thought: why waste my fun on a post lost in my archives, and deprive everyone else of some Sunday night amusement?

FYI: The troll engaged in some righteous proselytizing and condemnations, so if you’re not up for that, come back when you’re in the right headspace to deal with it.

Ready? Here we go!

You said : “Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?
Simple: Christians.”

Don’t generalize Christians and use others actions towards you to shun God.

Oh, honey. I can do whatever I want, and I shall. If the shoe fits, I will say so. Besides, if the behavior of Christians didn’t represent you, then you’d call them out on their bullshit, rather than concern troll the people Christians have hurt. Since you ARE pulling the “we’re not all like that!” card, something struck a nerve.

You may run into a few that are not of God. When you accept Jesus Christ you must understand your life is going to be difficult at times. It’s never easy for me being a Christian, I get flack from my gay friends and atheist think I’m stupid and one even made jokes at work openly but I deal with it because I understand serving Jesus and agreeing with his laws takes away alot out of my life and the world. Being a Christian in these times are NOT easy at least over here.

Jokes. Some coworker of yours makes jokes. Oh, and your gay friends call you out on your religion’s bigotry (and probably your own, too), and your atheist friends are critical of Christianity. All the tears, hon. All the tears. Matthew Shepard has nothing on you.

Where did I say you were weak? Rebellious and angry spirit against God you might have yes because things are not your way and jumping to tarot cards and other forms of spirituality looking for answers you know the answer to.

That whole “You left Christianity, but I would NEVER let anyone get between me and GAWD! thing. I’m a writer. I know how to analyze a text and pull meaning from it. Please to not be playing stupid with me.

And see, I was right. You didn’t read the post. Fail, my dear. Fail. Go back and read it again.

You need someone to tell you the truth and not sugarcoat this. I never comment but I wrote to you being in a similar situation. How can I come off so judgmental admitting to having the same feelings and experiences.

I wrote an entire series on the topic. You mentioned it in passing in your opening sentence as a lead-in to proselytizing and threats. Your comment was dripping with judgment–though I’m baffled as to why you’d think I’d care, Anonymous little Christian.

Don’t ya’ll just LOVE how this snowflake thinks she’s the first one ever to say anything like this to me? Everyone ever is just sugarcoating and lying to me. What a brave Crusader.

As for my comment on one day something bad is going to happen I am not trying to curse you if you don’t want to go to church fine, you don’t like religion practices fine nobody is forcing you you have a mind of your own. Anything God tells us is just for our own good and betterment it’s not to hurt us. We as Christians just care because we know the end result living that life and turning away.

I don’t believe in curses–at least the sort you’re referring to here. I’m a big fan of fuck. It’s a very versatile word, and it has such power. Makes everybody pay attention, don’t you think?

Wait. Are you claiming to speak for your god, here? Big step, little troll. Big step.

I do care about your soul and see myself in you a little bit and don’t want to see you fall into Satan’s grip. Again I am not trying to make a “come to Jesus” moment just rethink real hard about that decision because did you really love God or just wanted to use Him for your personal gain? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul? Remember the key is all this is temporary and one day everyone will have to answer Him. Also checkout Romans 1:28 on depraved minds, peace.

Yeah, that little girl-child was totes out to use god for her own gain. I mean, how else was she gonna get to stay up past her bedtime?

I am DEPRAVED, YA’LL. How depraved do you think I am?


How I Left Christianity Part Seven: Divorce

When I was thirteen, my parents separated. It had been coming for years-my parents argued a lot. The day that it all happened will be forever fixed in my mind. My parents were arguing in their room upstairs, and loudly. I was in the living room on the ground floor trying to watch television with my brother. Finally, I’d had enough.

“I can’t take this anymore. I’m out of here,” I announced to my brother as I swept out the front door. I started walking down the street. At the end of the block I turned left and headed down a side street. I had no idea where I was going; I just wanted out. I hadn’t gone far down the side street before my brother blew past me on his bike without a word.

“Well,” I thought, “I guess he couldn’t take it anymore, either.”

I circled around, ending up at the opposite end of our block. My brother was flying toward me on his bike, coming from our house. He swerved and skidded to a stop in front of me.

“Mom locked Dad upstairs,” he announced.


“Mom tried to get me to help her move the couch in front of the door. But I said no. She was trying to do it by herself when I left.”

We stood there on the sidewalk, and hatched a plan to rescue our father. We’d sneak into the backyard and fetch the ladder, and smuggle it to the side of the house. That side of the house had only the downstairs bathroom window and our parents’ bedroom window. We’d climb up to the bedroom window and rescue our father, without our mother noticing.

It was a very grim walk back to our house. It was like we were sneaking behind enemy lines. We came around the bushes and,


Mom was sitting on the front porch. Our puppy was on her leash, and Mom’s twelve-gauge shotgun was sitting in her lap.

“Take Sadie and go for a walk.”

Outgunned, we obeyed.

I led my brother and our puppy away from the house again, and in the opposite direction, following my original path. I looked back a couple times, to see if we could double back. She didn’t move.

“Where are we going? Why don’t we go to Aunt Lizzie’s?”

Our aunt and uncle lived six houses down from us. We’d hatched our plan while standing in front of their house.

“Because that’s where Mom is expecting us to go. I don’t want her to know where we are.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s not safe.”

“Where are we going, then?”

I told him we were going to my best friend’s house. It was a couple of miles away, way too far for our mother to consider it a possibility.

It was slow going. Sadie tugged me this way and that, wanting to smell everything. My brother detoured into several parking lots to circle around and do tricks on his bike. Finally, we stood on my best friend’s front porch. One of her siblings answered the door. They were very surprised to see us.

I was sitting upstairs with my friend and her younger sister in their room when her mother appeared in the door. She told me that my aunt had called looking for us, and she was on her way to come pick us up. I wasn’t happy to have been found so easily, and dreaded going back. I didn’t want to go home.

Soon my aunt arrived, and took us to her house. We were ushered into their basement. I wondered if Sadie would pee on their carpet. I kinda hoped she would. I was willing to bet that she was the first dog to ever enter the house. They were all so stuffed up when it came to pets. Sadie was excited, but I kept her close.

Some time passed, and my aunt came down. “Your Dad’s here.” We flew up the stairs. Dad was standing in the kitchen, talking to my uncle. He hugged us. He looked tired, but relieved to see us. We asked how he got out.

“I jumped out the window.” We gasped. He’d just been sitting in there, watching television, when he’d had enough. He’d lowered himself and then fell the rest of the way. He told us when he came around the corner to the front of the house, our mother saw him and screamed, and ran inside. He came immediately here, sure that we would be here. “I saw you walking down the street,” he said.

What now? I wondered. We can’t go back home. I don’t want to go home. Dad’s here. He’ll figure something out. Somehow, I knew the day wasn’t over.

It didn’t seem like very long before the police arrived. Mom had called them and told them that Dad had hit her. I gasped in outrage.

“But he didn’t! He was locked upstairs the whole time! He would never hit my mom!”

The cops looked pained. “We have no choice,” they explained. “If there’s a report, we have to make an arrest.” I don’t remember what I said. We stood in the driveway, between my aunt’s house and the police car. I fought the tears that stung my eyes. My heart was screaming–Don’t take my Daddy! He didn’t do it! He didn’t do it! Don’t take him away! I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t cry in front of my dad. I had to be strong for my younger brother.

“It’ll be okay,” my father assured us. “I’ll be back soon. I’ll come back for you.” He turned to the cops, and asked them to wait a moment. Then he turned to my aunt and uncle. He was asking them to take us inside; he didn’t want us to see. I glared at the police. They stood awkwardly, avoiding looking at my brother and I. My aunt ushered us back inside, back into the basement. I didn’t see or hear what was on the television. I stared toward the window, through the white gauze curtains, at the undercarriage of the police cruiser that was taking my father away from me. A minute later, it pulled out of the driveway.


I was not going home. I wouldn’t do it. I’d run away if they tried to make me. We stayed at my aunt’s that night. But eventually, we had to go back. I resisted with every fiber of my being. I would not live in the same house with my mother, not after what she did.

I lived there for three years. That’s how long it took–from separation to the divorce was finalized. Our home life got no simpler. It was three years of court appearances, arguments, anger, keeping secrets, staying strong, choosing what parent would come to this event or that, resisting information mining efforts–alone. Every aspect of my life became a weapon. My mother took out an emergency protective order on my father after that fateful day. Outside of the courtroom, I’ve seen my parents together on only two occasions since that day: my nephew’s birth, and my college graduation. The first was almost four years ago, the second two–and both were only after careful negotiations mediated by myself.

My aunt and uncle were on my father’s side. Anytime I talked to them it was a back-and-forth ranting session. Everything I said to them would make it back to the court–the judge, CPS, the counselors, the lawyers…and my parents. No one at church understood. My friends backed off. The elders never approached me to talk, to offer me refuge, they never even offered to pray with me.

I got angrier and angrier. I cried in bed at night. I begged Jesus to save me, to make it better, to end it all. I just wanted peace. If I couldn’t have that, I at least wanted to be angry and not have it used as a weapon in court. I didn’t want to be fought over. I never wanted to hear “best for the children” ever again.

The longer the divorce dragged on, the more alienated I felt at church. I felt hollow. The longer it went on, the more obvious it became to me that everyone at church was ignoring the problems I was having. Everything and everyone felt fake–pretenders, actors, or role-playing. At first, I played along. But the longer it went on, the harder it became to continue the act. Every part of my life was an act. I needed to be real. I needed to be me. Just me.

Soon I found that outlet–that place that I could be real. I will write about that in another part of the series, but suffice to say, the contrast between it and church was stark, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

How I Left Christianity Part Six: Retirement

One Sunday, the pastor of my church announced that he was retiring. The news sent shock waves throughout the church. You see, this pastor founded our church. He was the heart, soul, and lifeblood of the church.

Brother T (no one ever called him Pastor T, always Brother) wasn’t merely the man who stood at the pulpit on Sundays and preached. He taught children’s choir–the children who had grown up in the church, teenagers now, had been taught by Brother T how to read music. He taught us how to sing. Musicals were one of the main ministries at this church–we grew up on stage. Brother T directed every single one. He taught us how to act, as well.

Vacation Bible School was one of his favorite times of the year–Brother T led that as well. Most of the married couples in the church had been married by him. All of the children had been baptized by him.

When we reached our teenage years, he took us to Centrifuge, a Christian summer camp. After that, we went every summer.

Everything that happened at the church, he was intimately involved in, if he hadn’t begun and led the activity himself.

My friends and I talked amongst ourselves. What’s going to happen? How can this church function without Brother T? A new pastor would change everything.

And so it did.

A committee was formed to search for a new pastor. But the really big development was talk of merger. We should merge with another church, some said. The merger advocates grew in number and in volume, and soon, there was another committee looking for churches to possibly merge with. Pastoral candidates were found and rejected, at the same time that merger candidates were found, considered, and rejected.

During all of this, the power balance was shifting. Who was going to take over everything that Brother T had been doing? Who was going to make the big decisions in the meantime? The deacons? The board? Or the entire church, by vote?

There were plenty of disagreements. Most of the discussions I was not privy to, as a teenager, and a teenage girl, at that. But I could see divides, rifts, if you will, beginning to form. There were some occasions where church-wide discussions were held after services. No one asked the youth, nor did we really feel like we were allowed to speak up .But most of the division that I could see were mere undercurrents. There was a atmosphere forming at church–one of stress and tension, never acknowledged, that made one uncomfortable.

I don’t actually recall, during this period, any pastoral candidates being introduced, though I’m sure there were.

The merger committee had decided on three possible churches that we might merge with. There were more meetings. But at the same time, we “fellowshipped” with the three congregations individually, to see how well we might get along. One was forty-five minutes away.

Negotiations began. Who would be in charge of this? Who would be in charge of that? Who’s facility would we use? Who’s staff? Which staff? Who would teach? These things are more, I believe, what narrowed down our choices–the compatibility of our congregations, and the relative locations of our churches seemed to have nothing to do with it.

While the adults jockeyed for position, we felt largely adrift. What was going on? Why do we have to merge? What was going to happen? I found myself looking around the building and the grounds, imprinting everything in memory in case we moved to another church. It was a home to me, in so many ways–this elementary school turned church. But it had changed.

The church was changing, and it no longer felt like home.

I was homeless.

Why I Left Christianity: And Why I Stayed Away

In the beginning, it was just too painful. I’d been hurt so badly. I was also dealing with a great deal of stress from the three-year long divorce of my parents, along with stress from big changes in my life: a move across town from where I’d grown up, shifting from homeschooling to public school, and it was time for me to figure out what I was going to do after high school.

I was depressed. I was lonely. I was isolated. And I was worn out from trying to be strong for everybody for so long.

I simply could not deal with church. I couldn’t handle trying to find another church–another huge change. And so, on Sunday mornings, I slept. On Sunday and Wednesday nights, I took refuge in my bedroom, cuddling with books, or reaching out online.

I needed friends, family, and mentors who would be strong for me. I needed a support system that was nonjudgmental. I needed comfort. I needed love. I needed to feel safe. I needed someone to listen to me, someone to confide in, that wouldn’t run to the family court judge, my parents, or rat me out when college and military recruiters called.

In other words, I needed to be as far away from Christianity as I could get.

I found safe spaces. I found comfort and love. I found safety. And I promptly broke. Everything I’d held in came gushing out in a hot, ugly, blubbering, bleeding mess. Once it started, I couldn’t stop it–I had to suffer until the wounds had finished gushing.

I became very self-destructive. I did a lot of stupid shit while I was breaking down. My support system was a boy I met through Civil Air Patrol. First him, then his family. I spent a lot of time at their house. First hours. One day, I stayed so late my friend’s mother called my father and asked if I could stay the night. Soon I was spending my weekends at their home. Eventually, I stopped going home. This family homeschooled as well, and I took lessons with my friend. They took me in as their own.

I spoke of my problems primarily with my friend. The rest of his family just loved me. I felt so safe when I was there–so free. His parents didn’t prod–they waited until I was ready to talk to them.

They took me in without ever asking why.

They simply saw I dreaded going home, and let me stay.

I will forever be grateful to them.

I will forever love them as part of my family.

My friend had become fascinated with different religions. All things spiritual, he researched. I became fascinated, too. We spent hours at his computer reading. We huddled over countless books from the library. So began my spiritual journey.

All too soon, this happy period of my life came to an end. The family was moving across the country. I dreaded it. When my father found out, he called me home, afraid they would take me with them. They weren’t going to, despite it being my heart’s desire at the time. But still. They didn’t want my father to press charges, so they took me home.

Why did I stay away from Christianity once I’d healed, adjusted to my new life, and figured out what I was going to do after high school?

Simple: Christians.

Not so much the overtly hateful ones–they were easy to spot, and I avoided their toxicity like the plague. I avoided a lot of Christians.

No, it was the Christians who claimed to be different. The ones who claimed to love as Jesus did. The ones who were so quick to condemn their overtly hateful, judgmental brethren.

At first, they’d befriend me. They’d love me. They’d support me. They’d listen. They made me feel safe.

But there was always the inevitable betrayal.

Sometimes it would be by trying to draw me back into the church.

Sometimes it would be by pulling the “unequally yoked” card.

It was all conditional. If you can’t love me as I am, how can you love who you want me to be?

I have to say, the “unequally yoked” card broke my heart.

You broke my heart.

You stabbed a knife right into my heart, and ripped out a piece of my very soul.

The Christians who claimed to be different were so much worse. They waited until I loved them to tell me they hated me. Worse, they pretended still that they loved me. For a while, anyway.

Before that night, I’d found a new spiritual path that fulfilled me and made me happy. Afterwards? Nothing, no spiritual path, no religion could ever do that again. That part of me is dead.

My incense rots. My beautiful crystals sit in a bag in a drawer, untouched. My books lay unopened. I haven’t meditated in six years. My pretty tarot decks lay next to the crystals in the drawer. I can’t touch them. It hurts too much to do so.

Every spiritual path that existed for me, and could possibly exist, has grown over, been blocked by trees, and eventually fallen into the ocean, never to be seen again.

That is why I can’t go back.

Southeast Christian Church Behind Louisville Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Check this out, from Every Saturday Morning:

We have two CPCs, one next door and one within one block of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center. Both are called A Woman’s Choice (AWC) and they are operated under the same corporation. The corporation name is A Choice for Life, a corporation formed by Southeast Christian Church. AWC is a separate non-profit corporation affiliated with the church, but they share board members.”

(Emphasis mine.)

Don’t believe it? Check out the church’s website. The crisis pregnancy centers (they evidently have one in Shelby county, too.) are the top two on their list of “secondary community partners.”

For those of you who don’t know, Southeast Christian Church is the largest mega-church in the state of Kentucky. As of 2010, over 19,000 people are members of Southeast Christian Church.

I wonder how many of them know they support an organization of people who lie, sabotage women’s healthcare, and assault the people who support patients? (Not to mention break the law by blocking access to the women’s clinic.)

Regardless, I doubt many in the general community know–I certainly didn’t, not until the awesome people at Every Saturday Morning enlightened me. This is certainly something Louisvillians need to know. Knowledge is power–and we’ve got to do something.

This is absolutely disgusting. I cannot express how angry this makes me. I’ve long been disgusted by the way that mega-churches use their wealth (expensive facilities, luxuries for members, mind-blowing shit like a 200-acre country retreat…) but to wallow in luxury while also sending thugs to harass and assault women and the escorts? I wonder if one could ever come up with a better example of modern-day Pharisees than this.

A Feministe of Christian Feminists

The other day, I read this post on Feministe, and I’ve been keeping up with the comments–yes, all 300+ of them. I haven’t responded on the thread itself–my thoughts have been too disjointed and instinctual, and by this point, it’d get lost in the sheer number of posts, so I will do it here.

I have to say, I am very disappointed with the Christian feminists there–to say the least.

They’re pissing me off.

I’m angry, and I own it. I’m not apologetic, and I will not walk on eggshells for those who are determined to change and participate in a broken, corrupt, misogynistic institution. Trying to save it, redeem it, or “reclaim” it is as hopeless as trying to salvage a building that has been reduced to rubble–or rather, pretending a pile of rocks was ever a building in the first place.

I tried to do it myself. I was a child, a preteen, and then a teenager, trying to convince misogynistic adults that I deserved respect–no matter what I wore, no matter what lay between my legs, no matter what crime Eve committed.

I failed.

I gained nothing by staying–people I loved and trusted, respected and revered, hurt me spiritually and emotionally unapologetically. I was a Daughter of Eve, so I deserved it.


Fuck that noise.

I also internalized that shit, and consequently hurt myself, hurt one of my dearest friends, and probably hurt numerous others, too. By sixteen, I was over it. I had an across-town move and a busy schedule as my excuse, and I attended less and less frequently until I disappeared. I hardly needed an excuse, however. No one bothered to call and check in, or stop by and see how I was doing–once I ceased to be of use, as a volunteer and as a poster-child, they ceased to care.

I learned what it was like to have people who cared–sincerely and unconditionally. I learned what it was like to simply go about my life without a war being waged over my shorts. I learned what it was like to have friendships with male-identified people without having to defend my character. I learned what it was like to be attracted to and fall in love with men, and I experienced the subsequent joys and sorrows without a crowd of bystanders judging me and harassing me for it–thank GOODNESS. (I’m grateful I left Christianity before that happened–I saw and participated in what Christians did to women who did before I left.)

I began a personal journey and subsequently discovered what a real connection to all things spiritual felt like–rituals, meditations, the internal connection to a higher power, the earth, and other people–how different it felt from the manufactured performance that Christianity gave me! Oh, I thought it was real at the time. I felt those spiritual highs, the worship-induced breakdowns, the revivals–and I thought I was really feeling a connection to Jesus. I thought I did. I thought, too, that it was an innate part of me, that I couldn’t be without Christianity. I too felt insulted and indignant when someone criticized Christians or Christianity, let alone God. I thought they were attacking me.

Then I left the church. I took a long, hard look at myself and my personal beliefs. I was ruthless. It was hard. It took months. I constantly found myself doing, saying, thinking things that I had learned while a Christian–and then I broke those down too. When I say it was hard, I mean it was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I felt, at times, like a bad person for challenging even the most basic beliefs and morals, but I made myself do it. I asked myself, over and over, “Do I really believe this?” “Is this something that is really right, or is it something that Christianity told me was right?” I made myself justify everything outside of a Christian context. If I couldn’t, it was gone.

So do not tell me it cannot be done–that your religiosity is an innate and instinctual part of yourself that cannot be changed. I was there. I believed it, too. But I did it. It’s not.

And I reaped the consequences.

I lost friends. I lost family. I faced people who believed the most horrible things about me because I uttered the words “I am not a Christian.” I was harassed. I was rejected. And more.

Do not tell me that I do not understand–that it could be costly to leave a religion that is the most powerful in a particular society. I know.

And do NOT proceed to litany all the good that Christianity and Christians have done and do. I know. But it does not negate the bad, and it means jack shit to one whose life has been made miserable by Christians. I also have to say–all that good? Done with ulterior motives. So I’m not going to give you the validating pat on the head you so crave.

A question popped up again and again in that thread: How can you be a feminist and a Christian? Easy. You can be anything you want to be. However, in this thread, the feminist Christians are behaving like typical Christians, only using feminist language. Attacking someone’s identity/experience/personhood? Disregarding culture? Appropriation? Please.

The tolerance/respect is a whole other monster. I do not respect Christianity. I do not, and cannot, after my experiences both within, and while leaving, the church. Demanding I do is a veritable flood of entitlement, audacity, and privilege. That demand doesn’t compel me to respect the person making it, either. Slap a fishie on your car, I will laugh. Act like a jerk, claim your religion told you to, and I will call you out and criticize the religion. Rant about the meanie apostates like me who just won’t see all the “Good Christians” (like you) and the good things Christians do (like you) because we focus on the bad, and not only will I call you out, I will also mock you. Feminist or not, you’re acting like the Christians you’re trying to disassociate with.

Claiming feminism doesn’t give you a shield from the criticisms of Christianity. Claiming Christianity and feminism at the same time doesn’t make you a super-special ultra-awesome person. You’re just you. (Now with privilege!)

The actual post, by a super-special ultra-awesome female Christian priest, will have to wait until later.

Slut Shaming Preteens in Church

I was a rebellious little shit.

Last night I was browsing this blog, written by a former fundamentalist Baptist preacher who has left Christianity altogether. I came upon this post, and stupidly I watched the sermon. It brought back a lot of memories.

You see, from 1993-2003/4 I attended a Southern Baptist church with my aunt and uncle. I went to church Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights. I was involved in choir, Sunday school, youth group, hand bell choir, vacation bible school, church camp, the production of numerous musicals, and so on.

After I watched the sermon mentioned above, I tweeted this:

ABookishBeemer: “Just watched a vid of a baptist preacher raving on about women’s clothing and modesty. gag/lol/middle finger I’ll have to write about this.”

Once we reached puberty, I, and the other girls in my youth group were scrutinized on a regular basis. Were our clothes modest enough? Were we behaving inappropriately with the boys in the youth group? Were we spending too much time alone with the boys in church?

I hated this.

My parents did not attend church. While both parents were raised in a Christian environment (my mother attended church with her parents, my father attended Catholic schools) they were not religious. My parents did not teach me such ridiculous things such as the draconian dress codes Christians impose on women or the subjugation aka “proper submission” of women.

They did teach me that I was my own person, deserving of respect. They taught me to stand up for myself. They also taught me that only they, as my parents, could dictate to me my actions or behaviors.

You can imagine the effect this had on a young teenage girl being told she was slutty if she wore tank tops, shorts, or skirts, or existed alone in a room with a human of the opposite sex.

Oh yes, I was a rebellious little shit.

What does this mean? Well. It meant that in the hot, humid Kentucky summers, I wore shorts and tank tops. I wore skirts that bared my knees.

It means that I told the adults who slut shamed me that “Jesus doesn’t care what I wear.” and “It’s hot. I’m wearing shorts. The end.”

I remember one incident, at a Super Bowl party at church, when a Very Important Lady chastised me for wearing a shirt, if I recall correctly, that had a smartass remark on it. (It was January after all, I could have been wearing a tank top, but there was no way I was wearing shorts.) Having enough, I called my mother. Having enough, my mother came to church to confront this woman and to take me home.

Now, Momma Beemer is one who, when people are ridiculous, loves to mess with them. In response to this incident, she showed up in a long, dark-colored trenchcoat, combat boots, with a hat pulled low over her eyes. (Not my mother’s normal choice of attire.) She strolled purposefully through the sanctuary toward this woman. They had words. With childish glee at my harasser getting hers, I watched. I wish now that I’d been nearer so that I could overhear what Momma Beemer said. This woman never bothered me again.

But of course, that didn’t stop everyone else from continuing their harassment of me and my friends. Someone made a rule that we could not go anywhere in the church, save the office, kitchen, and sanctuary, unless an adult was present. I broke this rule.The policing of our clothing continued. Adults were constantly suggesting we sneaked off with boys to “do stuff” while we were at church. Now, we were thirteen and fourteen when this began. Thirteen and fourteen year old girls. Grown men and women suggesting that preteen girls were dressing like “hookers” and sexually active. In church.

Though I was a fundamentalist Christian at the time, my reaction to this was not one of shame. It was anger and indignation. How dare they? I am not a slut. These boys are like my brothers. We grew up together. That’s gross, suggesting that I’m messing around with them. (I had no idea what sex actually entailed at that age. Are you surprised to hear that I never received any formal sex education?) My clothes are fine. My Mom and Dad are fine with them (my parents bought my clothes!) and it’s not slutty to wear shorts in church. If so-and-so is “led astray” when he sees me in shorts, that’s his problem. He’s the pervert, not me. That’s gross. Old fracking perverts.

Oh, I was not popular.

Years later, when I ran into one of the boys from that youth group, we naturally began talking about those days. “Brittany, none of us [boys] never knew what to do with you. You were so different.” Different meaning stubborn. Bullheaded. Opinionated. Independent.

Is it any wonder I eventually left?

Now, my leaving the church was not because of the slut shaming. No, it was something else–but that’s another story for another day.

The way those church members treated me and my friends was abhorrent. Unfortunately, however, it was not unusual. The video that sparked this post is here. It’s a thirty minute diatribe on slitted skirts and tops with too-large armholes–and let’s not forget the CLEAVAGE! (That horrible cleavage!) It really is maddening to watch (see Tweet quoted above.) but for those stuck within the throes of modern American Christianity, it is par for the course.