What Are You?

I was asked that by Patty S before I was eight years old. I didn’t understand the question. I’m six years old. But what ARE you? I’m a girl in the second grade.

No, what ARE you? I’m XYZ. What are you? Oh, I’m Catholic. It’s the first light bulb that ever went off telling me there were different religions, different anything. It opened up a whole new world, like when I met my first Jewish, and African-American friends after we moved to a larger pond. Early on, when the college students were gone we were a village of 400 people. All white, all Catholic or Protestant. There were a few Jews, sons and daughters of College professors. They went to a different school. I didn’t even know they existed until college, all Italian and Irish Catholics.

When my parents wed, the date would be nearly 60 years ago the Catholic church allowed my mother to marry a Lutheran as long as all children were raised in the Catholic faith. They didn’t make us kids promise anything, and the Lutherans can actually sing a tune.

My husband is from another faith that thrives in the South. It doesn’t derive powers from God via the infallible Pope, but through individual ministries. His parents and family do not like that we eloped for a civil ceremony (13 years last week) and do not practice any religion.

Late at night I was watching an early edition of The Tudors, before England established its own church against the Pope. That was the 1500’s and you know about Ireland.

About eight years ago we lived in Scotland as it had interdependence and its own legislature. Below our flat there was a parade going to an historic soccer match, I won’t tell you the team names but it was basically Catholics vs. Protestants.

The parade started with young girls, with a walking police escort, then young boys with mounted police, women had police cars and men following behind had what we call SWAT Teams. Trucks, guns. Everything to help prevent mayhem at the field. We were on the 2nd floor looking down and wondering what our world had become.

That’s when I think of religion, what it has done to the Jews of Russia, actually 20 million people of all religions in Poland, Germany, France, the British Isles, the US and Japan. Then I think that my fear of flying makes TSA take me in for a naked scan, checks my fingerprints for bomb residue all while my husband holds my purse, laptop and shoes. Imagine looking like you’re Muslim.

What am I? I’m an older white woman, happily married to a wonderful husband and owner of an old, terrific dog. We live a quiet life and are nice to family, neighbors and friends. I do not wish to enter a religious debate, but love my favorite priests, Cap and John. RIP, friends. What are you? Dee

 

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