This morning I headed down to the university where I am receiving my Master's Degree (It's Spring Break in my school district, so no teaching this week). I wanted to find out if I could get my sheepskin without having to walk with the entire school. I won't name the university (to keep them anonymous, though I really am not a fan of the program). I usually park outdoors at this lot in downtown Minneapolis and then walk a few blocks to the school. It's exercise and it's Spring, so it's gorgeous outside. Unfortunately, Minnesota is a largely religious (though more liberal than most) state. I have no problems with other people's beliefs. I want to make that very clear. However, I DO have a problem when a person thrusts their beliefs on me and will not allow me to continue on my way unless I believe like they do. One thing I love about the Jehovah's Witnesses is that they say their piece, and then they move on to the next person. If you don't want to agree, they don't get agressive (At least here they don't). In fact, they'll even give you time to convince them to convert (should you want to try for giggles).
Ok, on to my point. After I parked, I immediately ran into a group of people who were (I guess) having a pro-Pope rally and mourning session. I'm not a very religious person, so the fact that, after talking about the Pope last night, I ran into this was quite ironic, at least to me. So, as I passed by these mourners, one of them turned to me and asked me to join them. When I politely passed, this person became slightly agitated. The following script is true, the names have been changed because I got pissed off, and I shortened it a little for time:
Crazy, Religious Lady: Would you like to join us in mourning his holiness?
Me: No, I have be somewhere. Thanks though.
CRL: Fine. We don't really want a Jew joining us anyway.
At this point, I have walked by, but after her comment, I had to stop.
Me: Excuse me!? How do you know that if I'm Jewish?
CRL: Well, you look like a Jew.
Ok, I shouldn't have lost my temper, but it was morning, and I was angry about having to return to the university about the graduation after having been there the previous two days. So I responded very improperly:
Me: I'm not Jewish according to the rules of Judaism. I just don't feel I have to waste my time morning a man that wasn't really the cornerstone of my religion.
CRL: But you should. Jesus is our savior, and if you don't open your heart to him, you'll burn. His Holiness was closer to God than anyone else. He should be mourned for the hero he is.
Me: Look lady, that's your belief, not mine. Jesus was a guy. He may have done great things, but he isn't my savior. And the Pope. Well, he's just a guy as well. Did some great things, did some not so great things. Now have a nice day.
CRL: Well.....You're going to burn in hell!
Me: At least the parties will be fun.
CRL: Your family and friends will burn too. All for knowing you.
Me: (As I walk away) That's your belief, lady, not mine. But the way you're acting isn't very Christian, so I look forward to having you as a roommate down below.
CRL: God, this is (CRL), strike down this non-believer.
Me: God is not on call. He won't strike me down because that would be wrong. He doesn't work that way. Re-read the bible.
CRL: Go to hell, Jew!
Now that, to me, is the problem. She wouldn't let me have my beliefs. Because I wouldn't mourn the Pope and accept Jesus, she called on God to kill me? That's a little extreme, isn't it? Wouldn't that be like using your car to kill a spider? In the end, I just feel sorry for the lady. She uses religion as crutch to help her get through the day. Feeling lonely? Talk to God. Feeling angry? Talk to God. Me? I just believe that God is not a cosmic bellboy here to carry our baggage for us and grant our every whim. That's just my belief, don't crucify me for it.
I'll try not to talk about religion so much in the future. I just found it funny that after talking about the Pope, I'm getting in trouble again.