maternal grandfather died prior to my second birthday, family rumor has it that
he was once involved in the mafia. Born in Italy, the family sent him to join
his older brother in Chicago when he was of age. Afterwards, he changed his
name. In the later years of life, he turned to Christianity and was purported to
be an ardent believer until the time of his death. This opening side note helps
to introduce a subject matter that sorely needs to be discussed! Sometimes in
life, you recognize that you are “in too deep” or discover that you are
linked with something that contradicts your inner compass. You know what you
should do, but sometimes it isn’t that easy to leave!
having read retired gangster, Bill Bonanno’s “Understanding the Mafia”
section within Guy Kawasaki’s fascinating “Hindsights” book; I can
somewhat understand the mafia’s mindset behind “once mafia, always mafia.”
What I cannot understand is the drama, difficulty, or discrimination that many a
man or women face when departing the faith. Every case is different. While some
experience no problems whatsoever leaving Christianity; ministers/priest or
clergy had better beware and count the cost before they decide to leave!
there are exceptions to the rule, one being the case of Charles B. Templeton.
from personal experience and the number of letters I have received, discarding
an “imaginary friend” can lead to a disruption/decline of business; loss of
job; black balling; or the ending of friendships/relationships. I’m not going
to betray confidences, but I know for a fact that a number of
clergy/ministers/priest want to leave the faith but cannot risk the financial
consequences that they will most assuredly face if they were to go public and
renounce their faith! This isn’t a perceived threat either, but a reality that
has had me reconsider the wisdom my being vocal about leaving the faith and
running the website!
would seek to minimalize the ramifications of this dilemma by employing sadistic
humor and painting their plight as martyrs. Overstatements like these serve to
deflect attention away from a man being unfairly obstructed from his means of
making a living outside of the ministry.
also get in on the act by proxy when xenophobic Bible thumpers are given reigns
on personnel matters. It has simply never crossed the minds of some of the
corporate threat to free speech under the guise of “political correctness.”
Companies can do an “end run” around the first amendment by simply avoiding
to hire an otherwise qualified individual because they have an “undesirable
profile!” Yes, this is illegal but ever so hard to prove in a court of law!
also underscores the contrast between a democracy and a constitutional republic.
Quiz most Americans about their form of government and they would probably fail
by answering that America is a democracy. America isn’t a democracy, but a
constitutional republic where the constitution is considered to be the supreme
“law of the land.” America has
strayed far away from this premise. A crude definition of democracy would be
that the majority or “mob rules” (pun intended!) It wouldn’t be so bad if
this majority followed the constitution rather than Christian interests. If so,
secularists wouldn’t have to resist so many power grabs from religious parties
overstepping their boundaries. When the representative majority rules (as it
does today) rather than the established constitutional guidelines; the “bloom
is off the rose” of our American way!
should be free to “come and go” as they please in matters of faith and
religion. Sure nobody holds you up with a gun denying your departure but my
intention is to show that they have accomplished the same if they can separate
you from your monetary supply! The
alternative for those trapped ministers is to remain in their churches and do
their best to pretend that everything is fine. Surely, this isn’t good for the
convinced that a number of ministers/priest/clergy feel trapped because they
have lost their faith, but yet, they feel that they cannot walk away because it
is too complicated to do so! But think with me…what would happen within our
communities if these complications were reduced to a manageable level? This is a
project that Ex-Minister as an organization would tackle and something that I
have had in mind since securing this website domain in 2003. I would appreciate
those of you that want to spread secular values to view the “organizational
request for funding page” and to help turn these ideas into reality!
leaving the ministry like leaving the mafia? One cannot help but notice the
similarities when fear serves to muzzle the ox that had once ploughed the corn!
I welcome emails from those of you that would share your experiences!
Brian Worley Ex-minister.org May
18, 2009 All rights reserved