A queer atheist oinks like a pig in church...

Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

Every year I go to a mother/daughter banquet at my grandmother’s church for Mother’s Day. Every year I dread it. Nothing like a queer atheist in a church to stir up anxiety! Don’t worry, the church did not combust when I walked in the doors.

I go to this anxiety-inducing event every year because I love and respect my grandma and my mom, and I don’t want to disappoint them. I take extra anti-anxiety medicine before I go. Now, being an atheist, sitting through a church service isn’t fun, but I can deal with it. I grew up going to church, and somewhere around high school I started strongly disagreeing with a lot of what was preached, especially the bits about homosexuality. Aside from that, I just couldn’t believe that a heaven, hell, or god exist. How could it? I need scientific facts!

Despite that, when I married my second husband, I went to church with him to be supportive. He was Pentecostal – that was quite an experience. But, I sat quietly, arguing points in my head during the sermons, trying not to take it personally when they said homosexuals burn in hell for all eternity.

So, I can deal with the church service part of the mother/daughter banquet. What I struggle with is the part where they insist on playing a game to make us interact with one another. Every. Damn. Year. So far I have resisted the urge to hide in the bathroom. This year I think I came closer than ever.

The socialization game we played this year began with the program we were given upon entering the church. Each one had an animal printed on the back. You had to walk around the auditorium making the sound of your animal – mine was a pig. Of course the chubby girl got the pig. You had to find other people who had the same animal. The first group to find everyone with their animal won. Luckily the ladies sitting behind me had my animal so I found them quickly (without oinking) and just followed them around while they oinked. I tried not to look completely miserable.

I understand why they do these games. They want the people to socialize and have fun. It may even be meant to relax folks. I just wish they would take those of us with mental health issues into account. Maybe make a point to let everyone know they don’t have to play along if they’re not comfortable. You know what I find amusing? That was never an option in church. However, my heathenistic groups (that the church would surely frown upon) like the atheists and nonmonogomists are always sure to make it a point to let folks know that if at any time you’re uncomfortable or anxious, it’s perfectly okay for you to step out and collect yourself.

Sure, we’re all going to hell, but we’re going to be more accommodating and less judgy on the way.

P.S. Not all Christians and not all churches apply here. I know many wonderful Christians and I know people who go to very inclusive churches. 


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