originally posted April 2009
So, now that I've apparently broached the subject of religion I thought, Well, why not continue?
Yesterday, as I said, was beautiful in Smallville. Blue skies and a slight breeze, and since it had been raining for a week or more, on and off and on, we opted to stay home and work in the yard. I continue the never-ending leaf removal in the front yard while Carlos mowed the back. We plan to transplant some azaleas because they are in an area that doesn't get much shade and therefore they don't bloom as voraciously as other azaleas; we're also going to transplant so shrubs along the front walk to out near the street, so we have our Spring and Summer workload mapped out.
After a day of raking and bagging and mowing and clipping, Carlos said he needed to pick something up at Lowe's; then, and I knew it would happen, it always does, he asked when Lowe's opens. See, here in Smallville, and in most of South Carolina, businesses do not open on Sunday until 1:30 PM--after church because God doesn't sell lawn clippers till after he's spoken. The WalMart, on the other hand, is open 24/7 and you can shop to your heart's content, as long as you only buy food and medicine before 1:30.
It's the law. And it infuriates Carlos.
So he went on a tear about how much he hates Smallville, and how he wants to get out of here. He has these rants every few months or so, usually when he's waiting for Lowe's to open at 1:30 on a Sunday. He rants about "these people and their religion."
And we're off!
This may come as no surprise to any of you who've stopped by before, but I am one of the least religious people I know. I don't go to church, and for me, the Bible is a good book.....not The Good Book...but a good book....a good history book. Now, I do, however, believe in something greater than myself, but he or she or it isn't found in a bible or in any church on any day of the week. It's around you; it's in the air and the trees and the earth. But I don't begrudge people their religious beliefs as long as they reciprocate in kind. Don't preach to me, or look at me like a heathen because I don't go to church on Sunday. If there is a God, I'd like to think that he or she or it, was just happy to see me clean up my yard yesterday. If there isn't a God, i got a clean yard outta the deal.
Carlos, on the other hand, cannot find a way to turn the other cheek. He doesn't like people to talk about their religion and doesn't like the idea that they seem to work God into every conversation about anything. He thinks preachers are charlatans and fakirs and users and ne'er-do'wells....thiefs....molesters.....everything bad.
I say they're human, like all of us.
He thinks that people here who choose to follow any religious path do so because they might not have a high degree of education. I remind him of all sorts of people that we consider intelligent, are religious-minded folk.
He says that "these people" have not experienced the world, but only their narrow spot of ground called Smallville, or Greenville, or Aiken, or Anywhere USA. But, again, I say to him, look at all the extremely religious people who live in New York and LA....Miami....who following the teachings of their Bible. They are subjected everyday to all sorts of thought and ideas and yet they choose to follow the path of the church, a church, any church.
So we continue our, ahem, discussion, outside, on the deck, noshing on grilled chicken and potato salad and sippin' on some wine--and just a reminder, nowhere in Smallville County, or many other counties in South Carolina, can you buy alcohol on Sunday--and Carlos ranted ad nauseum about "these people."
I reminded him that he is just as ferocious in his view, as I believe Karl Marx said, that religion is the opiate of the masses, as these religious folk are in their belief that religion is the be-all and end-all to life.
I reminded him that it doesn't make a difference what others think; he'll never know if they're right until he dies and gets to heaven and God says, Oh, it's you Carlos...the non-believer. And "these people" will never know until they die and, well, don't get to heaven, or anywhere for that matter, except maybe a plot of earth or a silver urn on a fireplace mantel somewhere.
We went round and round, debating...arguing...laughing....almost shouting and then......it happened. It began to rain. As I scooped up the plates and wine glasses; the salad and the candles, I looked at Carlos and said:
You pissed off God. Now he's spitting' at you.