I wrote Sad as the title for my mundane blog but this one will be Angry because, well, I am.
When we left our fundie church several years ago, Zach had been treated very badly by the sponsors of the youth group, given platitudes and having impossible standards set for him to live by instead of trying to make him feel better about himself or trying to work through what those problems were. His Tourette's and OCD were treated like character flaws instead of real medical and neurological conditions, his need for medicine was called a crutch and he was disciplined harshly for responding in pain to a punch in the shoulder. He never dared discuss his fear of being gay because he had heard many a sermon about the evil gays out to take over the world. That remained locked in his heart until he felt free from them.
Yesterday another boy from that same youth group, who Zach knew and had worked with at church, killed himself. He received the same platitudes, laying of hands and being prayed for that Zach and any other troubled youngster got instead of the help he needed. Therapy. Or maybe unconditional love. I don't fault his parents; they did the best they could. I fault the leadership of the church and the entire mindset that if you're troubled, it's your behavior that needs to change, you need to get right with God and you need to give yourself up to a deity who seems to have favorites that you're probably not one of.
I've been reading the inane babbling that comes from not knowing what to say but hoping that what you say provides comfort to the ones left behind to sort it all out. They keep saying that Jon is in God's loving arms right now but according to their own belief system, Jon probably wasn't saved (based on his reckless behavior) so, according to their own rules, he's probably being tortured for all eternity now.
Ah, but that wouldn't comfort the living so they relax the rules and talk about how much God loved Jon. Apparently not enough since the idiots he put in charge of Jon's spiritual growth could only fuck him up the way they fucked up my son. The youth ministers that both he and Zach were under were very fond of themselves and enjoyed the attention they got from the gullible and naive youth who put them up on pedestals. They performed on stage every Wednesday night and any other time they got together, complete with tears, whispered anguish and the sad, emotional song designed to manipulate the vulnerable children into salvation. Every fucking sermon was about how sinful they were. Every fucking sermon was designed to make them feel bad about themselves. I know because I was down there for many of them. And Zach would tell me about them later on.
So they tell the family that Jon is in God's arms right now and that Jesus is personally comforting him, that God is keeping them in his loving arms and comforting them, that Jesus is comforting them personally. They tell the family that Satan had attacked their son and will eventually blame the liberals for Jon's death. Because they are the ones who are throwing God out of the country. They're throwing out all kinds of Bible verses about sorrow and comfort in hopes that it might be true. And they're remembering that he was such a happy guy. Me? I remember him as both. A wildly fun and comic guy who was deeply troubled beneath the surface.
I have no idea why Jon killed himself but I do know that it was a fear of mine that Zach might be contemplating it and the major reason we got the hell out of that church. Had he really been contemplating it (apparently he wasn't, but I didn't want to take any chances) their responses to him would have been to blame it on Satan and his minions and lay hands on him while praying for deliverance.
I had a bit of a weep last night for Jon and the sadness of his leaving this life too soon. I lit a candle and asked the Goddess to look out for him and guide him to the ancestors who would lead him to the Summerlands where he could finally find the peace he couldn't manage to locate here. I'll continue to light a candle for him every night until Yule, alongside the candles I've been lighting every night as a vigil to the ancestors.
Just when I was trying to quell my anger and disgust for Christianity in hopes of learning to enjoy the mythology behind it. I'm so pissed right now I don't think that will happen this season at all. But I'm lighting a candle for Jon and being thankful he's out from under that awful burden of perfection and fear-mongering, although there were better ways to leave it behind.
I won't go to the funeral. I haven't seen Jon or his family in several years although I'm "friends" with his mother on facebook but we never talk there. I'm sure she's seen my many political statements and has seen that I'm no longer a Christian. But this isn't about me. This is about Jon and whatever brings them comfort.
Still, I can, in the privacy of my own home, express my disdain for a system that seems to consistently foment suicide in its youth. I will thank the God/desses for enabling us to leave that system behind before my son was another statistic.