I am not exactly a Catholic enthusiast. . .

but, I have always thought nuns were really cool, to be honest. I mean something appeals to me about a simple life away from the consumer marketing of mainstream culture and the woes of relationships with men. But the whole, anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-gay, dogmatism kinda makes it a bad choice for anything other than sociological study on how religions make some people act crazy.
But this story does stick out to me, because it transcends some of the awful, bad, terrible communications strategy/PR of the Catholic church and gives us a sense of something real.
The real geekery of a nun.

Her cell phone has a custom ring tone. She frequents the Internet’s most popular social networking sites. She gets jittery when she can’t check her e-mail or post on her blog. She communicates with her family mostly by AOL instant messenger. And she’s a 50-year-old nun.
Sister Anne Flanagan has been a Daughter of St. Paul for almost 30 years, and lives with five other nuns in a convent upstairs from a Catholic bookstore near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. She teaches Bible study classes, edits Catholic books and magazines and roams the Internet looking for cool technology, although, she wryly notes, “a vow of poverty tends to limit one’s access.”

A nun excited about Wired. C’mon, that is pretty cute. The interview is worth a read, she talks about online prayer and mobilizing environmentalism through religion.
Via.

Join the Conversation

  • ghostorchid

    Cute?
    What is it about nuns that make people take them less seriously, and see them as more comedic, than their male counterparts in the clergy?
    And why is it so crazy that you might be religious and also tech-savvy?
    What about these six women who programmed the ENIAC, the first electronic programmable computer?
    http://eniacprogrammers.org/overview.html

  • http://www.theblurgh.com gretchen

    I don’t know about “cute.” Maybe awesome, cool, whatever, but not cute. Many nuns are powerful in their own right, and a lot of them are trying to subvert the ridiculous patriarchy in the Catholic Church in the only space the Church allows women to have. I think that’s pretty rad.

  • itsnotfluff

    Ghostorchid, that’s exactly what I thought.
    And also, “I mean something appeals to me about a simple life away from the consumer marketing of mainstream culture and the woes of relationships with men.”
    It’s not really a simple life though. See, nuns today also deal with the Catholic church’s sexist ways (and some are working to change it), they work with those in need, they fight for the environment, and some are even intellectuals. Wow! They’re not hiding away in a convent reading the Bible.
    Having encountered a 20-something nun myself, this article is not surprising.

  • ghostorchid

    Yeah, I think the issue with “cute” is that as any geek grrl knows, we have enough issues with people seeing our interests as “cute”.
    If some guy called me “cute” for reading Slashdot, running Linux on my Mac, and transforming his bad-practice code into a good-practice masterpiece, I’d hack him to pieces (in the computer sense)…no matter how old I am.
    I know Samhita didn’t mean it disparagingly, but as a woman who works in tech support, I am sick of people calling me cute…

  • lyra27

    I guess it depends somewhat on your pre-conceived ideas about nuns. I work at a Catholic Franciscan college and most of the nuns I know are PhDs, gifted artists, and/or entrepreneurs, not to mention many who are pro-choice and pro-gay (and openly gay themselves). Also want to point out that not all Catholics are anti-choice — there are plenty of pro-choice Catholics out there. The rules and proclamations that come down from the Vatican are usually decades behind the progressive thinking of many Catholics, at least in my experience (I was also raised Catholic). But, yes, the Catholic hierarchy itself is amazingly rigid and suffocating, and some factions are more conservative than others. I’m always amazed though how many nuns seem to rise above that time and time again, even when things do not easily change.

  • sojourner

    YM,
    No one here cares about what you have to say. You are obviously just trolling so fuck off before you get banned.

  • Vervain

    OMG, you mean nuns are actually people?
    [/sarcasm]
    Just because we don’t agree with everything they might believe, let’s not fall into the same trap of lumping all nuns into one category like so many people do with, say, feminists or women.

  • http://jessharo.blogspot.com Jess

    Come on now. Not all nuns, or Catholics are “anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-gay.” As a feminist, pro-choice Catholic, I can understand where the anti-Catholic hostility comes from, but in terms of American threats to reproductive justice, the Catholic church isn’t really our biggest threat. Especially in terms of clinic access, the Catholics will stand there praying, but they’re not the ones who get violent.

  • Xana

    I second what lyra27 said.
    As a pro-choice, pro-GBLT, feminist bisexual woman it’s sometimes hard to reconcile my faith to the religious dogma, but I am doing what I can inside of the Church to change it. That is what many of these nuns are doing.
    “C’mon, that is pretty cute.” Please tell me I did not just read this on a feminist blog? There is nothing cute about a tech-savvy woman, nun or not.

  • http://dru-plus-spike.livejournal.com Moxie Hart

    The rules and proclamations that come down from the Vatican are usually decades behind the progressive thinking of many Catholics, at least in my experience (I was also raised Catholic).
    I’m coming from this as an athiest. In my POV, religion has caused more problems than it’s ever solved. So here’s my question–as a Catholic, why don’t you do something about the Pope? Whenever he makes his absurd procamations, I never hear any Catholics say “This is wrong.” Or when Mother Theresa says things like divorce and abortion are the roots of all wrong in the world, how come there are never any Catholic groups saying “This is wrong”? I mean, whenever feminists hear about some group forcing women to have abortions, we’re very quick to distance ourselves from them. I’d take religious feminists more seriously if I ever heard them speaking out, outside of the threads here.

  • Xana

    Moxie: To address your comments. Perhaps because I live in a liberal town like the Twin Cities and our Catholic community here is extremely progressive, but we often speak out against the Pope and issue responses. In Catholic publications, at Catholic schools and colleges, conversations around the Church’s edicts are being spoken about. But it is like fighting the patriarchy, you have an enormous, historical institution that often doesn’t connect well to Catholics in the United States, Latin America, Asia, etc and it may seem like no one is speaking up when in fact they are.
    I also know that for me, religion and faith are seperate entities. My faith is essentially Catholic in my beliefs around a Higher Power, Saints, etc…but when it comes to the “religion” like the Church’s stance on abortion, birth control, the place of women…I disagree and am pushing for reform. Religion is a political aspect while faith is a personal aspect.

  • acranom

    For what it’s worth I thought the “cute” reference was referring not to the fact that she’s a woman, but the use of modern technology in a profession (vocation? calling? lifestyle?) that has strong roots in tradition and one that remains unswayed by many many other parts of modern society.
    It made me think of the private school that was near my house growing up. We’d see the nuns outside playing soccer in habits, sometimes. (They were quite strict and we never saw them outside the school/church at any other point.) Talk about talented, dribbling a ball and running with all that fabric!
    Anyways, “cute” was probably the wrong word. But a good reminder that even the best of us can get caught with stereotypes in our head.

  • Destra

    I feel the same way about Catholicism, yet I went to a Catholic high school. The school was run by a convent of nuns. And these were amazing women to look up to. They had degrees, and they were intelligent, and all with a sense of empowerment. They run one of the best schools in that town. There was this one nun who ran the computer lab, and she was always up on all kinds of gadgets and internet pages. I admit, it was cute.

  • bubblewrapgenie

    Also want to point out that not all Catholics are anti-choice — there are plenty of pro-choice Catholics out there.
    *raises hand* here’s one!
    Moxie: I actively speak out against the Pope and what he has to say, but I’m only one Catholic.

  • Xana

    “For what it’s worth I thought the “cute” reference was referring not to the fact that she’s a woman, but the use of modern technology in a profession (vocation? calling? lifestyle?) that has strong roots in tradition and one that remains unswayed by many many other parts of modern society.”
    Good point, but I also think it should be noted that depending on the sect, technology is often embraced and used as a tool for learning, ministry, etc. Not all groups are cut of the same traditional cloth anymore so a nun using a cell phone isn’t news to me. I work at a progressive Catholic women’s institution where nuns are often computer professors and tech gurus.

  • thegirlriots

    My great aunt was a nun. She started a shelter for battered women and was also threatened with excommunication when she refused to take her name off of a petition supporting abortion rights. Some time after she died, I went to visit the other nuns, and they were all equally awesome! We had a great discussion about the inherent patriarchal center of Catholicism, and they all talked about how it was difficult to be a part of that, but that they were trying to change things. It was a really incredible experience.

  • weezie66

    I teach at a Catholic college, and I have to say that the Dominican Catholic sisters that work here (one of whom actually fixed my computer a few days ago) are some of the most awesome, powerful women I’ve ever met. Open minded, accepting and embracing of difference of all kinds, hyper-intelligent, kind…just wonderful! I, too, was raised Catholic, and I think that these strong women (one of whom would probably earn the title “most likely to be arrested at a protest for some lefty-type cause” at our campus) represent the best of the Catholic church. Perhaps, even, the best hope for the reform of that church.

  • apaperbackwriter

    Yeah, I’m with a lot of people here. Be careful of lumping Catholics together since it’s a massive worldwide religion. I did a lot of research on American nuns in my undergrad days and the nun you described is pretty typical. Every nun I’ve met has been incredibly impressive- brilliant, artistic, creative, compassionate and, yes, even tech-savvy.
    Some of them have the most awesome feminist politics you can imagine (pro choice, pro women’s ordination, pro feminist theology, etc.)
    Sure, some of them are dogmatic and adhere to policies that aren’t so woman-friendly. But, remember, you don’t have to be Catholic (or even Christian) to do that.
    And even the nuns with the worst feminist politics (well, maybe not the worst), provide a feminist critique in some way or another since they create women-centric communities that don’t revolve around men or sex. In the US, that just about amounts to being a radical. And you should hear them gush and gush about their sisterly love.
    I swear, even a little more research will inspire you and destroy any lingering stereotypes.

  • apaperbackwriter

    Yeah, I’m with a lot of people here. Be careful of lumping Catholics together since it’s a massive worldwide religion. I did a lot of research on American nuns in my undergrad days and the nun you described is pretty typical. Every nun I’ve met has been incredibly impressive- brilliant, artistic, creative, compassionate and, yes, even tech-savvy.
    Some of them have the most awesome feminist politics you can imagine (pro choice, pro women’s ordination, pro feminist theology, etc.)
    Sure, some of them are dogmatic and adhere to policies that aren’t so woman-friendly. But, remember, you don’t have to be Catholic (or even Christian) to do that.
    And even the nuns with the worst feminist politics (well, maybe not the worst), provide a feminist critique in some way or another since they create women-centric communities that don’t revolve around men or sex. In the US, that just about amounts to being a radical. And you should hear them gush and gush about their sisterly love.
    I swear, even a little more research will inspire you and destroy any lingering stereotypes.

  • dhsredhead

    I admit I have also thought of nuns as really cool. Being a nun offers a woman lot of opportunities to travel, volunteer and become well educated for free. The Catholic church does have alot of sexist policies, but many nuns are working against those policies, like the anti-birth control and anti-abortion policies of the Catholic Church.

  • http://dru-plus-spike.livejournal.com Moxie Hart

    In Catholic publications, at Catholic schools and colleges, conversations around the Church’s edicts are being spoken about. But it is like fighting the patriarchy, you have an enormous, historical institution that often doesn’t connect well to Catholics in the United States, Latin America, Asia, etc and it may seem like no one is speaking up when in fact they are.
    I mean, I live in the NYC metro area and that’s pretty progressive too. The thing is, I’m not likely to read a Catholic publication. If you don’t want non-religious lefties to have these misconceptions about Catholics, then you really have to bring the info to us.
    I mean, a lot of people can say, “Oh, I’m Catholic but i’m pro-GLBT, choice, etc.,” but that doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s not backed up with action and outreach.

  • johanna

    Moxie-I have a comment in moderation that would partially answer your question (I think because I did a ton of linking, to be fair), but I would encourage you to google Catholics for a Free Choice, Women’s Ordination Conference, Dignity-USA (GLBTA Catholics), Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and Call to Action. Also, Angela Bonavoglia wrote a book called Good Catholic Girls: How Women are Leading the Fight to Change the Church, which also features some bad-ass nuns. Catholics are speaking out and taking action, but our numbers aren’t huge and not a lot of mainstream press is interested.
    And when I finally get my anthology on third-wave feminists and Catholicism published, maybe a certain feminist blog would review it . . . ;)

  • http://www.squidoo.com/discoveringfeminism/ Lizthefair

    I’m so glad to see so many people who had great experiences with the nuns in their lives.
    My parents taught at a Catholic school when I was young, and I too had great experiences with the nuns. I know it was because I got to know them as individual women and not just as icons; but I feared that was the exception rather than the rule. I’m so pleased to hear that was not an isolated phenomenon.

  • apaperbackwriter

    I think I’ll avoid double-posting this time. Apologies!
    In response to MoxieHart’s comment, “If you don’t want non-religious lefties to have these misconceptions about Catholics, then you really have to bring the info to us.”
    But the burden isn’t on a minority/marginalized groups to prove that they don’t adhere to stereotypes! That’s like saying white people can think whatever they want of other races until representatives from those races say otherwise- I’m sure! If you don’t want to have misconceptions of people, you HAVE to do a little leg work. If you’re a lefty you should know better than to trust mass media and common (mis)perceptions until further notice.
    And if you’re a New Yorker, you have no excuse: Catholics make up a substantial portion of Americans and NYC in particular has a long legacy of typically Catholic immigrant populations: Latinos, Irish, Italians, Haitians (and other from Francophile countries), Polish and more I’m forgetting. So I’m disheartened when people perpetuate Catholic stereotypes and flatten the richness of these stories in this rich tradition. Especially in the name of a progressive cause.
    Despite milestones such as JFK’s election, anti-Catholic sentiment is still alive. I’ve met Protestants who are very public about their prejudices and even secularists/atheists/agnostics who maintain specifically anti-Catholic prejudices. It’s as if Catholics are worse on some imagined spectrum of offensive and REALLY offensive religions. (BTW, on this spectrum which privileges Protestant ideas about religion, Mormons tend get the short end of the stick and manage to out-offend Catholics.) Nevermind that these prejudices and this spectrum of offensive-ness essentializes what are always fluid diverse traditions.
    Also, keep in mind that progressive, power-questioning strains are often marginalized within traditions as they are in the mainstream. But if you look for them, they’re there. Dorothy Day started the Catholic Worker movement way back when. Jim Wallis doesn’t have the best gender politics, but he challenges the current (but diminishing) Republican stronghold on evangelicals. There are Mormons going back to traditional texts to support feminist viewpoints and theology
    So Samhita and Moxie, you don’t exactly have to be “enthusiasts� of apologists for any religion but it’s irresponsible to write off an entire tradition without doing a little homework. I’ve been studying religions a while and I have yet to find one worth writing off or even one that is totally unproblematic- even and especially secularism which has quite a spotty (and violent!)record in the 20th century.

  • EG

    All that’s fine, apaperbackwriter, but secularism/atheism/non-believing is not a religion. As an atheist, I get sick of having to pick that particular nit.

  • apaperbackwriter

    I didn’t mean to make it sound like secularism is a religious system. (BTW, I’m an agnostic, myself.) My point is some people posit secularism as an antidote to the violence perpetuated by religious political systems. They associate religion with violence and brainwashing and generally negative things. But religion doesn’t have a monopoly on any of these things. Atheists, secularists and the generally nonreligious are as capable of violence and brainwashing as anyone else. Some progressives forget that and end up holding prejudices against groups and people that they they have a lot in common with ideologically and politically.

  • http://dru-plus-spike.livejournal.com Moxie Hart

    1. Thanks for the info, johanna. I’m not going to be converting any time soon, but it’s nice to see that there is dissent.
    2.But the burden isn’t on a minority/marginalized groups to prove that they don’t adhere to stereotypes! That’s like saying white people can think whatever they want of other races until representatives from those races say otherwise- I’m sure! If you don’t want to have misconceptions of people, you HAVE to do a little leg work. If you’re a lefty you should know better than to trust mass media and common (mis)perceptions until further notice.
    But Christians are hardly a marginalized minority. And when the perceived leader of your religion says stuff like South American Indians enjoyed being colonized, then I think that us non-members are owed a little explanation, like why you would align yourself with something like that. As someone of native descent, who’s not-so-distant relatives were slaughtered and forced into Christian reeducation schools, I don’t particularly appreciate that comment.
    I don’t trust the mainstream media, but that doesn’t mean a good PR campaign couldn’t go a long way.
    2. So I’m disheartened when people perpetuate Catholic stereotypes and flatten the richness of these stories in this rich tradition. Especially in the name of a progressive cause.
    I don’t see how I’ve perpetuated any stereotypes, as I haven’t mentioned any. I am equally opposed to ALL religions, I think they’ve all done more damage than good. That, and the fact that the scientific probability of god existing is so low.
    3. So Samhita and Moxie, you don’t exactly have to be “enthusiasts� of apologists for any religion but it’s irresponsible to write off an entire tradition without doing a little homework. I’ve been studying religions a while and I have yet to find one worth writing off or even one that is totally unproblematic- even and especially secularism which has quite a spotty (and violent!)record in the 20th century.
    I’ve read about religion and the more I read, the more I dislike. What the nun in this story is doing may be progressive, but why does it have to be in a religious context? Why is what she’s doing any different than women in egalitarian communities, like Twin Oaks?

  • Erica B

    I went to an all-girl (woohoo) Catholic (meh) high school, and met a range of nuns. There were the stereotypical cranky nuns who seemed to criticize and discipline all the time. But more of them were intelligent, supportive, nice people. I would have liked the solitary lifestyle, I just wasn’t keen on the Catholicism aspect. But I still consider them to be great role models from my teenage years.

  • Erica B

    I went to an all-girl (woohoo) Catholic (meh) high school, and met a range of nuns. There were the stereotypical cranky nuns who seemed to criticize and discipline all the time. But more of them were intelligent, supportive, nice people. I would have liked the solitary lifestyle, I just wasn’t keen on the Catholicism aspect. But I still consider them to be great role models from my teenage years.

  • Xana

    “I mean, a lot of people can say, “Oh, I’m Catholic but i’m pro-GLBT, choice, etc.,” but that doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s not backed up with action and outreach.”
    Trust me, Moxie. I back up my words with action and outreach.
    Also, you mention that Christians are hardly a marginalized religion, which is true…but many Christian sects do not even consider Catholicism Christian. This tends to come from some Protestant sects that still consider Catholics pawns of the Pope.

  • Xana

    “I’ve read about religion and the more I read, the more I dislike.”
    What religions are you reading about? I’m glad you’re studying these things, but each religion is unique though they do share some similiarities. I think it is also important to focus on some of the good things that religion has given us by way of science, art, architecture, writing, music, education, and hope.

  • apaperbackwriter

    But Christians are hardly a marginalized minority.
    That doesn’t mean there aren’t traditions within Christianity that aren’t marginalized. The fact that you’ve never heard of all these dissenting traditions might be a sign that there are voices that are marginalized within the Catholic discourse. You know, like women. But guess what? Women are marginalized in non-religious discourses all the time.
    And when the perceived leader of your religion says stuff like South American Indians enjoyed being colonized, then I think that us non-members are owed a little explanation, like why you would align yourself with something like that.
    Then you should ask them. Or read what they’ve already written. This is my whole point. And just a note, this is not my religion. Believe it or not I’m not a Catholic. Or religious. At all.
    As someone of native descent, who’s not-so-distant relatives were slaughtered and forced into Christian reeducation schools, I don’t particularly appreciate that comment.
    So were mine (more distantly, though)! And I have HUGE issues with missionaries. Strangely enough, there are Catholics out there who do, too. There are Catholics interested in decolonization projects. (See: Liberation Theology.) Maybe not all of them. But not all atheists are interested in decolonization either. For instance, global capitalism, which isn’t religious at all, ends up sounding a whole lot like colonization anyway.
    I don’t see how I’ve perpetuated any stereotypes, as I haven’t mentioned any.
    One of the hugest stereotypes against Catholics is that they all bow down to the pope and agree with everything he says and they believe every piece of dogma put out by the Church. That’s an unfair criticism that does perpetuate a stereotype. In places where Catholics were marginalized majorities, they were often derided as “papists.� If you paid attention to the election of the pope, you’d have notice A LOT of people have a problem with him and every time he speaks, you find people, in the mainstream media even, speaking out against him. And tons of Catholics were disappointed to have yet another pope representing the west instead of places where most Catholics are: Latin America and Africa. These colonized areas are changing the face of Catholicism. (Again: Liberation Theology) It’s a big deal. You should Lexis-Nexis that stuff. Conflating the pope with millions of Catholics is the biggest mistake people make.
    I am equally opposed to ALL religions, I think they’ve all done more damage than good.
    I’m just questioning your logic. If you’re looking for examples of religious people who have done terrible things in the world in the name of God, you will find enough to fill a library. But if you look for people who have done amazing things in the name of God/gods/goddess, I swear you will find it. Have you ever studied the harm done by secularists and atheists? There are atheists who are racist, sexist, classist. There are secular nationalists who have carried out horrible atrocities. Colonization projects are awful. Religious ideology can be a powerful justification but so can Enlightenment-based ideals, which are typically atheistic. Do you really think if religion went away we would stop fighting? Do you really think turning the religion switch to “off� would solve all that’s wrong with human nature? Is it that simplistic?
    I’ve read about religion and the more I read, the more I dislike. What the nun in this story is doing may be progressive, but why does it have to be in a religious context? Why is what she’s doing any different than women in egalitarian communities, like Twin Oaks?
    It isn’t. Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
    Johanna, the work you’re doing sounds amazing. Best wishes!

  • http://dru-plus-spike.livejournal.com Moxie Hart

    The fact that you’ve never heard of all these dissenting traditions might be a sign that there are voices that are marginalized within the Catholic discourse. You know, like women.
    Then why would anyone participate in a tradition that marginalizes them? That’s why I left Christianity, in the end it’s ALWAYS going to be women’s fault. Of course, what can you say about an alleged god that would deny their creation knowledge. But that’s really another debate…
    Then you should ask them. Or read what they’ve already written.
    I DID ask Catholics on my campus and you know what? They were some of the most horrible people I’ve ever spoken with. A woman of color, Indian descent from Trinidad, said “If the Holy Father says it’s so then it’s so.” I’m supposed to listen to and RESPECT that kind of brainwashing?
    One of the hugest stereotypes against Catholics is that they all bow down to the pope and agree with everything he says and they believe every piece of dogma put out by the Church. That’s an unfair criticism that does perpetuate a stereotype. In places where Catholics were marginalized majorities, they were often derided as “papists.� If you paid attention to the election of the pope, you’d have notice A LOT of people have a problem with him and every time he speaks, you find people, in the mainstream media even, speaking out against him. And tons of Catholics were disappointed to have yet another pope representing the west instead of places where most Catholics are: Latin America and Africa. These colonized areas are changing the face of Catholicism. (Again: Liberation Theology) It’s a big deal. You should Lexis-Nexis that stuff. Conflating the pope with millions of Catholics is the biggest mistake people make.
    Then WHY do they call themselves Catholics? Why participate in that faith? Why do they allow this man to represent them? Where are the churches saying, “No, women can do what they want with their bodies.”
    But if you look for people who have done amazing things in the name of God/gods/goddess, I swear you will find it. Have you ever studied the harm done by secularists and atheists? There are atheists who are racist, sexist, classist.
    Ugh, if this turns into another “Stalin and Hitler were athiests” conversation I will scream. People have done horrible things in the name of religon and secularism but you know what? I’m not forcing anyone to believe what I believe in, unlike some people that insist on posting 10 commandments from a work of fiction on every bank public space. I’m not telling people not to pledge their allegiance to god. I’m not telling women what to or not to do with their bodies. I’m not crashing airplanes into buildings or blowing myself up over a piece of sand in the desert where something important allegedly happened.
    I don’t think that religion is the root of all evil, but it is supremely fucked up and to argue otherwise is naive. I recomend The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, he expresses it so much better than I can.

  • apaperbackwriter

    “I don’t think that religion is the root of all evil, but it is supremely fucked up and to argue otherwise is naive.”
    The funny thing is I think we have everything else in common but this last point. I left Christianity because I also felt like there would never be a place for me as a woman. I talked to a spiritual advisor about this and he said, “No, no, no, you’re wrong. Women are nurturers and child-bearers, which is a very sacred role.” That’s when I knew it was over.
    A lot of religious rhetoric IS delusional, people DO justify violence with their religious beliefs and women/nowhites/gays ARE marginalized in a lot of religious spaces. To argue otherwise IS naive. Which is why I’m not.
    What I’m saying is that there ARE people who do amazing things to reinterprate sacred scriptures, stories, rituals and roles to shift the power from repressive hierarchies and oppressive ways of thinking.
    Some of them are regular readers here.
    They continue to work within religious hierarchies (and not all religions are hierarchies) the same way progressive Americans continue to live in the US under George Bush. Sure, some people will flee to Sweden, but for a lot of people it’s home. This is where our friends and families are and where our personal history is. So we stay here to work on change and reclaim the way the system works. Sometimes (or often) we fail but we don’t cede our own ideals to someone (like GW) who has grossly misrepresented them and inflicted great harm on the world.
    Like a lot of people, I gave up and moved on, but I continue to truly respect the ones who stayed behind to fight. These are the people I’m arguing on behalf of. They’re doing the difficult, messy work of persuading others that no matter what dogma or doctrine says (or seems to), hate and discrimination have no place within their communities, which should be based on love.
    I’m sorry you haven’t met these people. I wished I had met them sooner. It’s only long after I had given up that I discovered radical traditions within broader macro-traditions like Christianity and Judaism that are in line with my ideals. Most of them don’t claim absolutist truths and many claim religious figures as examples that are historical and flawed.
    UU’s are one of the best examples. Many of their services have this quasi-Protestant quality to them, hymns and all, but they have these activist tendencies and are adamant about not making anyone believe anything. This kind of set-up is nice, because you can do activist work, talk about current events, discuss religion and meaning (often in an agnostic/atheistic way) and raise your kids with other like-minded parents all in the same setting. Can nonreligious organizations do this? Sure and they do, but what’s wrong with someone taking this route? I admire them and wouldn’t discount them because someone else has hijacked the “religious” label.
    People hijack “woman” and “american” and “sexuality” and “latina” for me everyday but I haven’t yet ceded claims to those.