Janet Borchers of Meadow Vista, CA, joined AOF in August 1995. Her satire is gentle, but under the surface, teeth are waiting.
A feminist Atheist's Letter to the Religious Right
by Janet Borchers
I am so very pleased to learn of your organization and I do hope you can be of assistance to me. You see, I am looking for the right religion and at last have found the experts. Most people are born into the right religion and know all other religions are wrong, but alas, I was not so fortunate. It was clear from the beginning that my religion was one of the wrong ones.
I'm sure you would agree that the religion I was born into was wrong. Can you believe it -- they told me god was omnipotent?! They also told me to pray and god would answer my prayers. This didn't work from the get-go, so the authorities in my religion made excuses for god. They told me god couldn't be everywhere at once, god was too busy to answer everyone's prayers, there are some things god just can't do, and god knows better than I do what's best for me. They sure were wrong about that omnipotent claim! So I want the right religion with the right god -- I want all that omni-stuff to be right. You know, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, I'll take omnivorous and omnibus too, just to be sure.
It also might help you to know I am a woman -- that should eliminate most religions right off the bat making your job easier. I may or may not want a family someday, so I will be deciding for myself which form of birth control to use and whether or not to seek an abortion if I should feel I need one. After all, as I'm sure you'd agree, my mind and body are truly mine. That brings to mind my mind. I do like to think for myself, gather information, evaluate it, question things, form opinions, and even come up with new ideas. Of course, in the right religion I will be as equally valued as a male human and be granted the same opportunities and privileges.
Let's see, what am I forgetting -- oh yeah, I don't look good in a veil or a habit. I'm not too picky about prophets, saints, and such, but I draw the line at beings with wings and halos. Miracles and proseletyzing are turnoffs. Kneeling is iffy and I absolutely cannot speak in tongues. That communion idea is great as long as I can brown bag it and bring my own snack from home -- I'm a vegetarian. I don't chant or swoon and my hallelujah is weak, but I can carry a tune with a simple repeating melody and basic redundant chords. I will consider becoming a lesbian if required, however, I stand firmly against becoming reincarnated in any way. Finally, I have a few beliefs that must be addressed. I believe I am traveling around the sun, I believe Darwin was right, and if I must tithe I believe none of the money should go to support my government -- there must be an abyss between church and state.
Please consider these simple guidelines when making your decision and if it should become obvious that no religion is right, please help protect me from all that are wrong.
Sherwood B. Grateful
by Janet Borchers
To entertain myself during a recent bout of insomnia I flipped on my television at 3:00 AM and found myself watching the televangelist Marilyn Hickey. Thinking it prudent to get to know an adversary, I really tuned in and was soon caught up in the fervor. The gist of Marilyn's message was that all Christians have a duty to call the unsaved to the bosom of the lord. Marilyn resorted to audience participation to generate enthusiasm for this worthy cause.
Marilyn pointed to the wall behind her and implored her flock to call out to lost sinners in the north. "In the name of Jesus," the congregation chanted after her, "help me bring lost sinners from the north to the bosom of the lord." They all waved their arms toward the north. "Come! Come!" they gushed and gestured hypnotically.
Marilyn then faced her flock and asked them to turn south toward the wall behind them and the incantation and gesturing was repeated. "Lost sinners from the south, come, come!" they echoed.
Then came the coup. Marilyn turned to her right, which in my geometry book would have represented west, and called out to the lost sinners of the east! To my further amazement the camera panned over the congregation and with unflagging belief in Marilyn's "direction" every person chanted, "Lost sinners of the 'east', come, come!"
Of course, east then became west and once again the sheep obediently followed her like she was their own personal Sheltie. "Lost sinners of the 'west', come, come!" they intoned beckoning easterly.
My thanks to Marilyn for this moment of mirth which lulled me back to sleep. Two wrongs really made this rite for me and I now truly understand why sinners are so lost.