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considerations, setting aside the past

So, I've been having a bit of an exchange of emails with an old friend over a fundamental difference in our world views. He made a comment in our latest exchange to the effect that he was sad about my apostasy as he was sure I was sad about his continued membership in an organization that I see as evil. Personally I'd say that I'm not apostate, not that I find the word insulting. I renounced a religion, not a faith. I quit taking part in the members only aspects of rituals that I had never believed in when I sorted out that not believing in them was reason enough to not take part in them. Apostasy is, by my lights, a renunciation of a previous belief and taking part in rituals isn't the same as believing in them. Er.. that wasn't what I was going to write about... ooh look a butterfly!

I was going to deny that I thought his Church was an evil organization, but as I was trying to figure out the wording for what I wanted to say, I realized that that wouldn't be true. His church was a major sponsor of proposition 8, a constitutional amendment in California that destroyed existing marriages in order to "protect" marriage. The bishops in Africa have been spreading disinformation about condoms and HIV, disinformation that is used to decrease women's bodily sovereignty and which works to speed the spread of HIV through the population. The church itself has acted to shield child molesters from legal consequences. It censures or worse members who refuse to tell the people who they minister to that their lifestyles sexual identities are fundamentally disordered. They encourage members in representative and democratic societies to be single issue voters at the expense of social goods and civil liberties. The list of (current) evils perpetrated by the church is overwhelming. Yes, it does a great deal of good in the world, but that good is insufficient to counter the basic position against human dignity and growth. (By the by, those of you who possess or are possessed by a church of your own, you should take a good look at this list and see how much your own church does that is against human dignity. And work to change that. His church is particularly unamenable to change by members who aren't actually part of the hierarchy, and the centralized structure makes the sins of the parts the responsibility of the whole in a manner that is not replicated by groups like the Episcopal church.)

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