This past weekend Mark and I were gifted fantastic 3rd row seats behind home plate at the AZ Diamondbacks game. We were met there by a work colleague and her husband. The game was fantastic. Tons of fun to watch and then the vibe changed for us during the 7th inning stretch.
All were asked to stand and sing God Bless America while the music blared over the sound system and images of our flag and baseball loving citizens were shown on the jumbo screen. Any song…any song but God Bless America. Are you effin kidding?!?
So what’s an atheist to do on an occasion such as this?
An occasion when christianity is forced upon you and you are left feeling defiled and dirty. If you don’t stand you take the risk of damaging your business relationships. If you don’t stand you take a real risk of being judged and disliked by your fellow fans.
If you stand but don’t sing the words you hope nobody will notice but you feel really angry inside that this religious song is being forced upon you at a saturday baseball game. You can never escape the christian movement in this country. It consumes you at every turn and every corner. And the masses of people sing through the words. The words that feel so empty to me. I literally get depressed watching thousands of people young and old singing to god. Asking him to bless this country over others. Asking him to “stand beside us” and “guide us”.
It’s in those moments that I don’t know how to act like an atheist. If there is such a standard.
When do you stifle your wishes and when do you stay true to your convictions?
All I do know is that each and every day in this country it is abundantly clear that as atheists we have a lot of work ahead of us. Painful, laborious, necessary work.
But what is the way to accomplish that work? What method(s) will be most effective?
For now I simply am choosing to be aware. Aware of the moments when I feel uncomfortable. Aware of the moments I wish were different. And aware of the reaction I choose to have. For now acceptance of what is. Tomorrow may be time to move from acceptance to activism. But for now acceptance.
- While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
- Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
- Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
- As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
- God bless America,
- Land that I love.
- Stand beside her, and guide her
- Through the night with a light from above.
- From the mountains, to the prairies,
- To the oceans, white with foam
- God bless America, My home sweet home
- God bless America, My home sweet home.