What I Hate About Religion

First of all you can’t talk back and you can’t question what some one else – another living-breathing-shitting-pooping-fucking human being just like you – is telling you about ‘God’ and how to serve worship or believe in Her. Everything must be accepted ‘by faith’ in God’s mouth piece.

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And they’re all men. Every dominant religion today was proposed, interpreted and headed by men! The Bible – written by a bunch of men that could have had schizophrenia for all we know. Isn’t hearing voices a symptom?

The Koran; written entirely by one man who also said his is the last message of God. Ever again. Like after him She can’t possibly have anything else to say. Him don talk am finish. No more prophets. Ever. Are you trying to muzzle God?!

The Catholic Church, the Pope, the Dalai Lama. You catch my drift right? Oh sure, women are being allowed into the ranks of previously exclusively male priesthood’s. So what?

All the dominant religions speak and practice exclusion and domination. The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ dynamic. What happened to love and compassion? Even the ones that preach love and compassion! We need safe spaces for enlightened discourse, community and worship! Not training centres for intolerance and guilt!

And all this fire and brimstone talk about going to hell and sin. The righteous should be gleefully happy that us sinners are going to hell to burn forever but no they chase us up and down trying to save our ‘soul’. I mean what arrogant bullshit! Abeg save ya self first!

You want me to buy your BS that you care for my immortal soul? Na so. Na you good pass.  Surely if I have the right to choice my husband and how many children I have and where we live I have the right to decide where my ‘soul’ goes when I’m dead

Not that I sit around worrying about where I may or may not be going after I die. I got my hands full creating my heaven right here on earth and getting out of the hell intolerant religious extremists people make it. Religious bunkum! Its not the homosexuals making it hell.

Why is so important to you that we sinners change our ways? Why is important to you that I believe in your god more than my own anyway? The world will go to hell? It is hell already! And Nigeria is the hottest part of it, after India and Pakistan that is.

I know you probably think earthquakes and epidemics are God’s punishment for sin but that doesn’t make it true you know.

Religion has become an indoctrination not an education.

My vision for a tolerant future?

A world where parents and governments aren’t allowed to indoctrinate children. Where children learn about all religions, including atheism (yes, I believe it is a religion) read their various texts and MAKE UP THEIR OWN MIND at graduation and whatever ritual that comes with it. That would be my ideal world.

Religions are cults!

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Katie Kaye (I)

She was incongruous. She was born in 1916 to a Ghanaian father and an English mother. Her father died when she was 8 and her mother sent her to grow up with nuns. She was a true believer, salvation lay with the Lord and she needed to be a true believer to retain her cheerful and open spirit living in racist unforgiving early 20th century England

Her mothers family rejected them both, a half negro child was more than they could deal with. So she never knew her grand parents or her aunts and uncles and they never asked about her. The schism was final and irrevocable. When her mother died many years later they wouldn’t come for the funeral but she didn’t care, she brought all her Nigerian husbands relatives to fill the church pews and the grave side seats.

She was an exceptionally bright child and she did really well in school much to everyone’s surprise. Because she was half black it was generally expected that she would be half witted too. As a result she was constantly tested and scrutinized for some mental flaw, intellectual deficiency or nervous predisposition, constantly compared with the white children she went to  school with.

Rather than dampen her spirits the scrutiny made competitive and she studied ahead of her class so she could prove to them that she wasn’t intellectually or mentally deficient. When she prayed for God to use her to shine the light upon her teachers and her fellow students, to help them see through her that black people were not different from white people after all.

When they teased her and called her names in the shower she restrained the urge to swing wildly at them with her fists, that was after all what they expected of her. She fought down the urge to call them stinging awful names that would cut them as deeply as they cut her. Instead she would go to the chapel and kneel down and pray for God’s grace and mercy.

During weekly confession she would pour her heart, telling the priest all the wicked thoughts she had and he would admonish her wickedness and tell her to do penance.  She was told to be extra good and extra nice and extra forgiving and fight the evil that resided in her.  She did wonder at times what sort of evil resided in her school mates and whether they confessed and did penance for their wickedness too.

By the time she finished school she was quite exhausted.  They left her in no doubt she was black and she knew that if she wanted to live in peace she would have to move to Africa. One of the nuns had told her about many schools being built in Africa and encouraged her to apply to one of them as a teacher. There was even one in Ghana, where here father had come from. Maybe there she would be at home and find a family to accept her.

#ChildNotBride Campaigns, Yerima & Dysfunctional Gender Discourse in Nigeria

I find it disingenuous for some male and female northern Nigerian leaders to try to belittle and even ignore the growing national disaffection with the socially regressive practice of child marriage. For Yerima to even proffer that it may be the solution to Nigeria’s social problems is gross.

As a woman, a lawyer and an social activist I am tired and increasingly resentful that issues arising largely from treatment of the Muslim girl child and woman are dominating the national gender discourse.  And it is mostly southern non Muslim women that are leading the advocacy ignoring or sidelining the issues that face the southern and non Muslim girl child and woman.

Child marriage, high maternal and infant mortality, VVF, general access to health care and education, social and economic marginalization, are mostly (not exclusively but mostly) problems for Muslim predominately northern women.

We talk of getting the girl child to school and ignore that in southern states the issue is retention, quality of education and appropriate career counseling and support, we talk of letting women work while in the south the issue is really about access to capital to grow female led businesses, conditions at the work place and child care for working mother etc etc etc.

Yerima says he can marry his daughter at 6 if he chooses, because he does not recognize her personhood. She is a girl he can ‘ give her out’ like his chattel. He says early marriage would end prostitution and fornication exhibiting a total lack of understanding about the social causes of both but choosing to make it a morality and a religious issue instead

While I empathize and support my Muslim sisters I would like to remind my non-Muslim mostly southern sisters that our women constituency has a unique set of problems that need advocacy. We have been overwhelmed by an agenda that ignores our needs for growth.

I do not think the cause of Nigerian women is best served by marching in place waiting for our sisters to catch up. We can and should give them a hand while also continuously moving forward, consolidating and increasing the gains we have made.

That said I recognize the fear of many of my sisters that their daughters could become prey to these religious pedophiles. Mariam Uwais has written eloquently and at length on the issue actually before the senate, pointing out the errors the campaign assumed and the possibilities for Islam in Nigeria to take a more progressive view.

Some have said and it may be true that it is only Yerima’s involvement that made this issue go viral. He is after all the poster child for and against child marriage in Nigeria. What the outpouring of sentiment has shown is that there are a whole lot of Nigerians against child marriage.

The Child Not Bride campaigns should quickly adjust and restrategize accordingly to fight the real fear of women and criminalize child marriage so that’s its never an issues in our country again. This is not a time to give up, it is time press forward.

I Actually Went to Church on Easter

No. I have not suddenly become religious, I went because of an incredible sense of history that St. Martin’s the local church in Westmeston provided. Parts of it were built during Norman times in the 11th century, that is almost 1000 years ago.  One  thousand years of piety and prayer and an atrocity or two I’m sure. Still one  just has to feel, you know, like you’re in the presence of something holy and beautiful and special.

Of course in Nigeria I always refused to enter any church at all. I used to irreverently say it was because i feared i would burst into flames the moment I walked through the doors. And I must admit churches in Nigeria did give me the heebie jeebies. Then again every time I did enter a church as a youth in Imo State someone always tried to ‘exorcise’ my many demons.  To the natives my high yellow color apparently ensured some level of demonic possession or other. I never did find out why.

Of course religion and spirituality is not about any of the many misconceptions of Nigerian and English churches to me but that’s another post entirely.

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