Things I believed in when I was 12 — but no longer do

Writing a feminist column, I got the occasional irate reader. Most of them are nitpicky and miss the point, while others are straight up incomprehensible. Up until this point, my favourite one was a rambling, angsty Facebook message from a first-year male, white, university student from Calgary, who said there should be men’s studies if there are to be women’s studies, and then argued that feminism was actually a deep conspiracy to overthrow men because some feminists “would like more equality [than men], which is by no means equal.” Equality ≠ equal? Then, oblivious to the fact that humanism has already been invented (maybe that doesn’t come until second year philosophy?), he suggested we call feminism “humanism” and focus on men AND women. Brills!

Anyway, it was my favourite letter, until I received this one from Brett Lovett — or rather, from his email but penned by his “daughter” who wishes to shame me for my sinning ways. All bold-face emphasis is mine:

Subject: Feminist relationships

Your column is full of bad choices and bad advice. [Ed’s note: I really liked this column.]

  1. You’re living with your boyfriend outside of marriage is a sin against God and the Bible.
  2. You’re a liar when you say Canadian society has left behind housewives and made breadwinner. This is a Bible Directed and God given pattern for society.
  3. Your assertion that finding cuts to Pride Toronto is not a good thing. On the contrary homosexuality is evil according to my Bible and we’re instructed not even to think about what these people might practice.
  4. Being pro-choice is evil, i mean killing unborn Canadian boys and girls. According to the Bible it is God who gives life. Abortionists will one day have to stand before God and give an account.
  5. Over coming gender role is against God, and the Bible. He made male and female and commanded in the Bible not to mix up these roles.
  6. Commitment and marriage are not ideas, but Commandments in the Holy Scripture.
  7. You disagree with March for Life Protesters: Pro-life versus your pro-death policy—again evil and sin in God’s Bible.
  8. A woman’s right over her body does not include killing her unborn child who is a distinct person separate from the mother not apart [sic] of the mother.

Your opinions are against God and God’s Word. Your battle is against Truth, the Bible, and the Lord. Jesus came that we may have life, Satan comes to kill, steal, and to destroy. Your need to repent from your sin and turn to Christ for salvation!

Esther Rose Lovett
Grade 6 student

Touche, Esther. In response, here is a list of things I believed in when I, too, was a 12-year-old girl in an evangelical Christian church, but no longer do:

  1. That morality is dictated, not self-determined. The thing about religious folk is that they rely on someone else to give them a moral compass. It’s a difficult task, having to rationalize why you believe in the things you do, isn’t it?
  2. That the Christian church can still function as a moral compass for society. Y’know, not just a group of shrill hand-wringers seeking to involve themselves in people’s lives despite Biblical teachings that tolerance and leading by example is how to teach the gospel, not shaming practices. Does the term moral relativism mean nothing anymore?
  3. The circular logic of Christian morality: Because Christianity happens to espouse some moral concepts (don’t lie, cheat, steal), the church claims ownership of these, and uses it to stoke the argument that because society already uses these concepts, it must therefore continue to be that way. I should call this ‘theocratic creep.’ Oh, and no other religion (Islam, Judaism) or prevailing common sense can haz credit for telling people to be decent human beings. You’re either with us, or are totally anti-moral, abortionist savages.
  4. Same thing as above, but replace “lie, cheat, steal” with “gender division of labour/domestic roles.” Oh, and other religions (Islam, namely) are evil for repressing women! But it’s cool if we do it, right?
  5. That Christians are immune to Canadian legal definitions! Which is to say, by golly, it doesn’t matter if fetuses are not people under Canadian law, Christians are going to keep calling them distinct people! You can’t kill something that, until it’s about 7 or 8 months, can’t survive on its own, OK? Go make your own micro-nation in Alberta, already.

Canice Leung
Grade 6 feminist

P.S. I don’t feel bad mocking a 12-year-old girl because, as is probably not even necessary to point out, it’s her dad who wrote half of this (or maybe she’s one of these Jesus Camp types?).

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