being a mom
My Mother-In-Law Thinks My Daughter Is Going To Hell
My husband got off the phone with his mom. We rarely see his mom because weâ€™re in the Midwest and sheâ€™s in California. I asked how the call was. He stared blankly. â€œMy mom is concerned with what weâ€™re teaching *Goober about religion.â€
â€œWhat? What did you tell her?â€
â€œI explained that Iâ€™m a believer, that youâ€™re an atheist and weâ€™re raising Goober to make her own choices. You know, I told her weâ€™re going to educate her on different world religions and what we personally believe. Then she said she was worried weâ€™re teaching her that god doesnâ€™t exist. I think she genuinely believes you and Goober are going to hell.â€
At this point, I was indignant, but not surprised. Ever since my MIL married a conservative Southern Baptist man a couple years ago, sheâ€™s been extremely vocal about her newfound salvation and political views. Only recently did she stop sending me cheesy/alarmist chain emails, which I think was in response to a passive aggressive Facebook status I posted about â€œknowing your audienceâ€ when you spam your friends and family.
I wonâ€™t lie â€“ Iâ€™m happy that my MIL lives far away, because Iâ€™m not sure how I would deal with our differences if she were a regular part of our lives. Itâ€™s not that I hate religious people, or that I was deeply wronged by some Christian pervert in the past, or that Iâ€™m on a crusade to convert believers into heathens like me. I donâ€™t dislike my MIL. Sheâ€™s boisterous, a little over-the-top, but sheâ€™s not a bad person. And, like so many other people, she literally believes that if Goober doesnâ€™t accept Jesus Christ into her soul that sheâ€™s going to burn in hell. So I get that her intentions are good, and that sheâ€™s seriously concerned about my daughterâ€™s fate, and my own.
Itâ€™s just that Iâ€™m tired. I am so, so, so fucking tired of this sort of thing.
Religion has drawn an invisible wedge between me and my own mother, me and everyone on my momâ€™s side of the family, and many people on my dadâ€™s side of the family. I come from a long line of Southern Baptists, many of them loving, many of them bigots. Itâ€™s not uncommon for my relatives to proselytize at family reunions, or to tell stories of the lost souls theyâ€™re trying to convert. Everything good that happens involves the word â€œblessed.â€ Everything bad invokes a prayer.
Both of my grandfathers have stood up and made forceful religious statements in waiting rooms and other public places. Itâ€™s abrasive, itâ€™s inconsiderate and it does nothing to warm the hearts of the very people theyâ€™re trying to reach. Yet, as a Southern Baptist, as a Christian who takes The Great Commission seriously, itâ€™s what youâ€™re supposed to do.