Thursday, March 20, 2008

Altar Boy

Golden Boy came to me last night at bedtime with a packet of info and asked me to sign it, saying (of course) it's due the next day. He leaves it on the table and goes downstairs.
It's a permission form for him to be an altar server.
Hold the phone. Wait just a minute.
Now, my children go to Catholic school. Not because I'm Catholic - I am most certainly not. Not only am I not Catholic, I am an atheist. However, public schools in our area are more like gladiator training camps, and secular private schools are far too expensive. So we chose private Catholic schools because they focus not only on academics (and safety!) but they try to educate the whole person. They want to help form productive members of society, not just attain a government mandated test score. So, we had the kiddies baptized and sent them to St So and So. The decision to baptize was made so that should they decide they LIKE it, they will be able to go ahead and continue with the other sacraments.
My older son knows that Mom doesn't believe in God. I don't lie to my children. Instead, I explain that everyone believes something different, and that's okay. What's important is that we respect one another's beliefs and try to understand them. When we go to Family Mass, we talk about applying the lesson of the day in practical scenarios.
What I didn't expect was that my older son was going to LOVE being Catholic. I was completely unprepared for that. But okay. That's fine. As long as we don't start the Crusades again, okay. I'm not being a hypocrite, I'm being open minded. Didn't I already say it's okay for everyone to believe different things?
But being an altar server? Not no, but hell no. Aside from the fact that it requires tons of parental involvement (since parents are responsible for the schedules and finding replacements should you be unable to attend) and I already volunteer plenty at the school, he's just not ready for that kind of responsibility. The booklet contained at least 10 pages of directions. Golden Boy only follows that many directions if he's learning a new video game. I don't want him joining just to join, and not realizing that other people are depending on him, so he can't simply decide to sleep in one day. We've already got so much going on in our lives, I can't justify signing him up for something else.
And hello? Isn't it always the altar boys who are abused by priests?! Now, I'm not saying Father So and So (who I really do like) is a pedophile, but I am not sticking my handsome kid out there as bait to find out.
Now, I realize these observations may piss some people off, and that's okay, too. I've got a laundry list of issues with organized religion. Not just Catholicism. In my humble opinion, people should help one another and be kind because it's the right thing to do. Be sorry you've wronged someone because you hurt them, not forced attrition. I don't believe that being non religious equates to being immoral. I think Jesus was probably a pretty good guy, and Mohammed, too. Somehow their messages must have been taken out of context though. I have absolutely nothing against anyone who takes part in any religion for the betterment of their life. I agree with anything that teaches compassion and cooperation. I don't necessarily hate religion, but the most honest way to explain it, is that I simply don't believe in the divinity part. Oh, and I take issue with hypocrites. (Like those priests who abuse children, and people who go to church on Sunday, but then spend the week being selfish, mean spirited assholes)
By the way, when I filled out the registration forms for the parish, it specifically asked my religion. I checked, Does Not Apply and wrote Atheist. They apparently don't mind. And just to enforce my point about GB not being ready for the responsibility, he couldn't find his gym clothes, shoes or belt this morning. *sigh*


carrie said...

well, I for one, respect you for not forcing your non-belief onto your children. There are many, many bitter people angry with God for one reason or another and practically berate their offspring with their anger. Not healthy.

You are in the minority, I'm sure. Oddly, I have issues with organized religion in any form. that is why I behaved so recklessly as a young adult: in rebellion to that. For me, it's about relationship with my Creator.

I think you're awesome for your balanced approach.

Dead Tree Studios said...

"I think Jesus was probably a pretty good guy, and Mohammed, too. Somehow their messages must have been taken out of context though."

One of the main reasons I love the movie Dogma was it hit on that point so well.

I'm with you. Be good to be good, not because "God" wants you to be good.

Midwest Mommy said...

Can't blame you. I was raised catholic and I have many issues with the church and it's practices. I don't think that an envelop thrown in the basket each week should be an important part of faith. I swear our priest bitched each week about not getting enough money growing up that and people leaving right after communion.