Repentance is a big part of fundamentalist religion, but they always seem to be repenting to the wrong people. While I’m not sure what any of them ever did to hurt Jesus (he’s not here, doesn’t give a damn, and could turn you into a pillar of salt if you pissed him off), they do in fact cause a lot of harm.

I’ve scoffed at this idea of repentance in the past, because having to live with myself is enough of a deterrent for me to avoid negative actions. It took interacting with some straight up horrible people over this past week for me to really appreciate it.

I was told to repent of my sins. (I have none to repent for, but apparently this particular preacher missed that point). She continued on and on and on, insulting my parents (I have two dads), my friends (most of whom are godless and about half of whom are LGBT), my college (which I sort of get when I look at my tuition), and of course, everything they knew about me personally.

This kind of personal attack isn’t actually that uncommon. Someone on Twitter called me “a subhuman filthy whore” and a separate person told me that I didn’t deserve the respect that Kim Davis, the societal leech in Kentucky, does because she’s a Christian and I’m a Satanist. In addition to not being a Satanist, I shower every day and am obviously human, so Twitter, you’re inaccurate.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I post next to nothing aside from the things I write. If you don’t follow me on Twitter, it’s @lynjoele and you will be bored to death. But the fact that someone who uses a social network that infrequently can be confronted with that kind of negativity for replying to a tweet I agreed with is kind of indicative of how this subculture within Christianity operates.

So to make things short, those people have a lot of repenting to do. They need to ask for forgiveness for their actions. The thing is, in the real world we have this thing where if you apologize to third parties it doesn’t count. You’re supposed to make things right with the person you’re wronged, so here’s a helpful list to make sure that they can find the people they need to be talking to.

If you’ve ever advocated for conversion therapy, particularly for minors, you need the forgiveness of every individual harmed by those programs. Good luck. Some of them have died by suicide or from “treatment”.

If you’ve tried to push anti-trans “bathroom bills”, then you’d better hope the trans community in your city is forgiving.

Roughly 50% of the US is female. If you have ever tried to restrict their access to birth control, you owe literally half of America an apology.

Speaking of birth control, for every child that went through sex education and didn’t learn about it, you owe them an apology, too. Ditto for those who never got a sex ed class.

Victims of diseases that could be cured by STEM research. If you got knee jerk pissed at Planned Parenthood over those fake videos, you owe those people an apology, on top of the apology you owe to Planned Parenthood.

Also, victims of faith healing, if that’s something you believed in. Parents who watch their children die because “Let go and let god” don’t love their children any less; they’ve only been lied to by people like you. You murdered their children.

While you’re apologizing for harming children, add your own to the list as well. If you indoctrinated them into your harmful beliefs, it hurts them. Even if they reject them later, it hurts them. It damages their critical thinking skills and can lower their self esteem.

You know what, apologize to every teenager who’s been kicked out of their home for being gay or godless. That was the fault of your ideology as well.

Apologize to the people whose careers you’ve harmed. Apologize to everyone from the sex workers who have to do their jobs in adversity with the law to the religious leaders that you prop up knowing that they will only humiliate themselves.

Apologize to anyone you’ve ever told about hell. You don’t know hell until someone takes your ideology and applies it to you.

I know you think you’re a sinner. I know you already think less of yourself than you ought to. And I didn’t write this to make you feel bad about yourself. In fact, I want you to hold yourself to a higher standard that you’re capable of reaching. But if anything on this list applies to you, then you do need to repent. I’ve already forgiven you, so it’s not as daunting as it seems.

If nothing on this list applies to you, religious or not, keep being awesome. Make sure to call out anyone who is doing these things. Keep your head up, because the people who do these things are slowly losing their influence. We will win.

Lyn

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