I guess all of us communicate to try and get the other part(ies)y see our point of view. To allow others read part of our mind, and understand our viewpoint and outlook on life. We do not necessarily seek to convince or convert the receiver of our communication. Some among us are comfortable just ‘being understood: the way we think, reason, live our lives, learn, or conduct ourselves amidst others. At least I am ok with that! Which explains why I have refused to be pigeonholed.
I once tried out belonging to a group that claims to have free -thought….until I realized that they are a bunch of wannabe liberals, cum atheists, cum scientologists…They try to convince others that, religion, African and traditional] culture is devoid of reasoning but emotive. They conveniently deny that, like religious or cultural groups [read traditional or Africa] which they be-mourn, they too subscribe to a dogma….or try to build one. Yet, their allegiance to a western-led cultural, religious, social and political culture is merely another form of revivalism…not necessary free thought. For, they worship “Jean clothes”, as a portray of “freedom to be”. They defend English as the global “language of development”, they reject and westernized science is the only justification to existence or logic. To me, that is another dogma of organized religion NOT liberalism, tolerance or free will. Anybody who seeks to challenge them, is quickly thrown out as illogical, emotive or bigoted….
I am uncomfortable with any form of communication, especially verbal or literal, that tries to claim sanity over another. That ranks and labels ‘the other’ based on one’s looks, dress, belief, food, sleep pattern, language or geographical location. Which is why I protest at all these “SI Units” for this and that – “political correctness”, liberalism, literacy, poverty or wealth, civilization, knowledge, plenty of those. I hate the “isms” or “ists” especially! I do not want to be anything – No! I do not have to be a feminist to believe that “women are people”. I do not have to be a monarchist to love and defend my Kabaka (King for Baganda in Uganda), I do not have to be a federal statist…to defend “federalism”…nor a culturalist to defend “culture” nor bigoted to defend blackness. Don’t call me a “humanist” because I said, I believe in humanity. I just want the right of everyone to choose their course of life to be respected.
That’s why I take issue with anyone who says to me that exposing parts of the body undermines the glory and pride of a woman. So, you mean women in cultures that do not cover their breasts have no glory and pride? Or little kids who run around naked, or with just a thread (thanks to missionary infiltration in their ecology) have no glory whatsoever? I appreciate the fact that you are a “clothist. But why don’t you respect my right to be a nudist?
I am not a big fan of clothes! Any opportunity I get to strip them off, I embrace heartily! Sadly, I lost my liberty to nudity once I got birthed into a society that had already run to clothes. But I will exercise it, whenever I have a chance. I am not an exhibitionist, I just love my freedom…especially because it comes with NO intention to hurt anyone.
Which explains why I quit organized religion. I was born into a Protestant or Anglican family. My maternal grandma was a Reverend – Member of the Clergy, so my mother went to church every Sunday, and participated in all church activities whenever the opportunity presented itself. Matter of fact, she is still active, teaching Sunday School and all sorts of other church activities. And I was once active in church: sang in my teen days, prayed seriously, spoke in tongues and attended night prayer. That was a phase in my life. I did it all. But I also think I took the bible as literal as I read it, and as it was taught to me. I read the NT cover to cover….I practiced all the Bible said I should. I would not lie, not fornicate, not commit adultery, not hate. and not drink. That is the ten commandments. I tithed to, even when I had no income…
Until I came to America. Then I realized that religion can be used to bless those going to war to kill each other. The religious drink, they sell their brand of religion as different from others, same thing that scientologists do. Oh! and the religious commit adultery and fornication. Yes! I was once a victim of the pastor’s sex advances…Shock of my life! Slowly I began to disentangle myself from organized religion, even though I embraced religious communities like the Mennonites, the Mormons and Muslims. Not because they all start with “letter M”, but they operated as a family, a community, more than a religion. They did not ostracize me, like my experience growing up in religious and Pentecostal Uganda. I could still join them in fellowship, if I wished, or for dinner or for any kind of celebrations.
Then I went to Senegal, and fell in love with the practice of Islam as a culture, not a religion. For those who do not know, Senegal is one of a handful of African countries…which has never experienced a military coup. All political regimes have come through the ballot. Senegal’s first president was a catholic elected by 98% (or more) of muslim population, plus, he had a white french wife. Unthinkable in a country like mine, Uganda…that the christians would elect a more as president OR accept a presidential candidate with, for instance, white British wife! So, I got engaged to a Senegalese because they reminded me of muslim friends, growing up in Uganda, who always invited us to break the fast and share Eid with them. Well, then I got side-tracked and left a really good man…
But another opportunity presented itself with my son’s father’s family. The parents converted to Islam, and I loved their togetherness in prayer and faith. It was very attractive and reassuring. I thought my son would try that out. After all, I decided as an adult to leave religion…even tho’ that memory never leaves me. I left that claim that there is ONLY one path to the after-life through Christianity….but I do not denounce anybody who does. In fact, my best friend (RIP) was a practicing christian…and I always told her that my blessings rubbed off her strong faith…I have plenty of religious connections, many who have blessed me and my son along the way. I do not have a problem with them, as long as they do not bedevil my way of life.
But a little interaction and I am wary, already. The beauty of a woman is in covering herself up…Oh! Halloween is demonic! Yeah! there is a lot to take in. I am fine with my son, just getting the experience of religion as a community. After all, I have been out of religion for ages…and do not get him into church. But when you tell me that celebrating the dead is demonic or that I am not glorified without covers…or that there is only one religion that encompasses all faiths….Or that christ is the only way to eternal life….uhm or science is the only form of logic….uhm! THINGS FALL APART. I guess we’re gonna keep it our way. We do not need much help getting more confused. No matter how “tolerant” you will say you are….You acts and stance against others tells the real story.