Before I continue along with my column, I would like to address any potential curiosities of why there was no Black Witch Public Service Announcements (BW PSA) last week regarding World AIDS Day. The short answer is that I don’t care about World AIDS Day as a “holiday/awareness day”. My long answer is that I don’t care about World AIDS Day because AIDS and HIV are terrible pandemics that are rife through the international Black community and other minority groups every day. It takes way more than a day of kumbayahs and reflection to beat this disease. Every day, not just on Dec. 1st are people being infected. Every day, not just on Dec 1st are people dying from complications the disease causes. Every day, not just on Dec. 1st are people misinformed about the disease and it spreads, both the misinformation and the virus that rides under it. This is every day, not just for the first day of December. If any readers would like an extensive learning on the subject, please go to the Links of Interest on the sidebar and click Greater Than AIDS, it’s a great starting place. Stay protected, get tested and remain informed. It’s more than a physical disease, it’s a Black social crisis. [/soapbox]

Continuing with the column:

Dealing with Christians in the Black community can be a funny experience. Funny “Dear god, this is weird” during the experience and sometimes funny “haha” afterwards. Regardless, sooner or later, the excuses, arguments and pseudo-concern start to repeat themselves. One that always makes a return like a stubborn computer virus is the question, “Who hurt you?”

Yes, folks, you can see one installation of happening in Mental Mentality and I can assure you it has happened a few more times after that instance. Now, I’m sure that some random reader is thinking “Don’t say anything, problem solved.” Yah, it’s that easy. Not really, mate. Ask your gay friends how they fare when living in a world where rampant hetero-normativity ties their hands and mouths when they can’t talk about their relationships as freely as their straight friends, get questioned why they “choose” to be gay (BW quick note: they can’t choose who they like but you can choose whether or not to be a dick about it, choose wisely) and risk getting fired or worse, killed if they show any sign of liking the same gender. Same here. A Christian can do anything they like just about (enforced laws withholding) when it comes to expressing their religion and not catch the same “oh, it’s a phase” crap that I and other non-Christians catch. Take the Norway terrorist for example. We’re not going to assume all European-descent people are intuitively capable of airing out a room with a few blitzes, that Christianity is the religion of crazy and backwards extremists, that you have to suspect every Christian is packing enough heat to make hell look chilly to the point laws are made about it and media will openly demonize Christians as crazy murders in a second. No tv shows making them the enemy, no cable channels dedicated to spreading hate about the religion, no nothing. Despite one ill-balanced and trigger-happy Christian White guy, society doesn’t assume all Christians, especially White Christians, are all potential murderers like the very same society does about anyone who is Muslim or even potentially looks Middle Eastern over 9/11. Religious privilege sucks if you ain’t got it.

So, carrying on from that rant, many Christians ask “Who hurt you?” when you correct them about your religion or even bring it up in passing. Hey, they like to talk about their Christmas plans, I like to talk about my Yule plans, it happens. Of course, they don’t blurt out with “Who hurt you” right off jump, no no. They first try to clarify what they just heard: Did someone just say they didn’t believe in the almighty power of Jesus? Then, they attempt to insert their faith in nearly every utterance, especially after they figure out your religion has nothing to do with theirs. They expect you’ll magically catch the faith in Christ and abandon your heathen ways right then and there. Continue to refuse and bam, there goes the “Who hurt you” because apparently converting away from Christ and some of his less stable-minded believers means that you must be a victim of sexual abuse or any other form of abuse (but they seem to have a preoccupation with sexual abuse). Well…that’s nonsense, to be frank.

This implication gets on my nerves so much because what it says is: “My religion is so great and I couldn’t see it any other way. No one would ever leave the protective hold of Jesus unless they were severely abused, which would trick them into leaving thanks to the Devil and his wicked ways. The church does have legit abuse cases that aren’t talked about but maybe if this person feels connected with, they will leave this devil worshipping and idolatry of false gods and return to the one true and loving god [that couldn’t protect them from alleged abuse, but that’s another subject].”

Christianity is nice but I say this all day, every day: Christianity isn’t for everyone. Nope, it’s not. People change, their views change and while most Americans are raised Christian (I was), some figure out that maybe this religion doesn’t work for them for one reason or another and go elsewhere more spiritually beneficial. This revelation doesn’t come from abuse, that’s tragic to assume every once-believer is a victim of abuse and the transfer to a different religion is a symptom of said abuse instead of the conversion out of Christianity could be of its own benefit. This is boisterous thinking because the Christian believes that A) Anyone who leaves Christianity must have been severely inflicted somehow to even think of leaving Christianity B) If you have someone who was once a Christian then ah-ha! Even if that person is well adjusted, they must be a victim of abuse or something traumatic enough to steer them away from the everlasting love and benevolence of Christ. C) Any person who believes in a god that is not the Christian god must have problems somehow because there is no other god besides Christ and His Father so this must be a lie and a sign of self-defensive delusion.

Why is this nonsense? Because A) Christianity, the religion itself, can sometimes be its own exit sign. There are many reasons why people leave the religion and usually they are legit. Not everyone agrees with some of the tenements of Christianity such as homosexuality being a sin, woman is inferior to man, conflicting verses, etc etc etc. B) Abuse doesn’t make people run from their religion usually. It makes them definitely have unsettled responses to what has happened but insta-conversion isn’t it. To assume every person who has left Christianity did it as a response something as traumatic as abuse is wack for both ex-Christians and the abused. Those who are Christian and abused usually hold on to their belief in Christ stronger (sometimes to the point Jesus is the not-so-sticky tape keeping them together) because they rely on Christ more to get them out of their jam and have faith that Christ will oversee their recovery, not the opposite. Conversions due to abuse do happen but they’re a reaaaaaaally small minority and it usually shows itself in the person’s personality and in their religious practice sooner or later. C) There are thousands of religions in the world, even I haven’t heard them all. Guess what? That’s okay. Because there are over 7 Billion people on this earth and it would be absurd to think that every member of that 7 bil.+ would believe in the same faith, completely ignoring that different cultures with different faiths exist and that every single human being on this earth does not know (or care) about Christ. Simple as that.

It sucks for those who actually are a victim of abuse because the talk around it usually is in the vein of ignoring the abuse for what it is but working around it and making sure that the faith is still intact at least a whit but not really taking down the person who did it. Or worse, not even believing the victim and ignoring them – yet being an abuse victim the first thing the Christian may think of when someone says they’ve transferred to a different religion: “Oh that person must have been abused somehow and is simply acting out.” Real swift.

I do understand that Christians are taught that their religion is the only one, true way to God and if you have that hammered in your head since you were young, it would be a little odd meeting someone who was once Christian but not anymore. Given the current Christian is taught that no one should (or can) leave the religion, it would be easy for them to believe that the one who left probably has something wrong with them to the point that they felt like turning their back on what is perceived as a very rudimentary idea of being, to have unwavering faith in Christ and henceforth, be easily led away by Satan from the path of righteousness onto the path of condemnation and wickedness. But here’s the thing: following a different religion isn’t being led astray on the path of righteousness. It’s a different path of righteousness.

It isn’t fair at all to those of other religions because we can’t do the same. It’s not right to assume someone is a victim of violence just because they don’t follow what you believe anymore regardless of religion but it is not fair that if I were to meet someone who said they were once Wiccan or Pagan or Witch but moved on to something else, I couldn’t ask who harmed them. There are tons of dabblers about and while I do wonder of their motives sometimes, I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) outright assume it is because someone treated them horribly – though if you said you were a hardcore witch and then changed your mind in a short period of time, I might assume you probably read too much Harry Potter and took The Craft too seriously. People change, people figure out who they are – sometimes at the expense of others’ nerves – but never assume that if someone left, it’s because of a horrid encounter they had. No religion is perfect and not everyone will agree with the same religion because not everyone thinks and feel the same. If you used to be a Christian but moved onto something, you’re damaged goods but apparently if you move to Christianity from another religion, you’ve seen the light. Something doesn’t seems right.

It isn’t fair to assume that if everyone was Christian then all would be good in the hood. Nope, there are deep divisions in Christianity that disprove the notion easily. If you run into someone who used to be in your religion but isn’t anymore, don’t ask if they’ve left because they’ve been hurt somehow. It’s not a rude question to ask why they left, it can make for great conversation, but it is rude to assume something bad had to happen for them to leave. I left Christianity simply because I didn’t fit well with the religion. I’ve never been sexually abused by a preacher or anything, I just didn’t want to be part of a belief system that I didn’t really believe in. And I’m certain I’m not the only one and not in the minority either. People convert for different reasons but it isn’t a symptom of abuse or neglect. It’s a symptom of people wanting to follow what’s right for them.