A Brief Open Letter to the TNDP


Here’s the thing.  I suck it up and go to church with my parents because they are my parents and I have a duty to them.  An obligation to them, which I take very seriously, even though it often causes me heartache.

But I will not pray to your god with you.  And I am annoyed that I have to in order to participate fully in the Democratic Party.

Here is my question.  If I find myself present for a “Welcome: Opening / Pledge of Allegiance / Prayer / Acknowledgements & Recognition” or a “Prayer Breakfast: Led by Ordained Legislators” will there be a moment when we all respectfully pray to my gods?

So why should I be forced to respectfully pray to yours?


Aunt “Obviously Not a Unitarian” B.

18 thoughts on “A Brief Open Letter to the TNDP

  1. You’d think there would not be many pagan Unitarians, given the name and all, but there are quite a few. On the other hand, a Unitarian shindig would do something like “honoring all that we hold holy” — praying together rather than praying alike is the important part of the ritual.

  2. You live in an exceptionally benighted state*, in an exceptionally benighted region, of an exceptionally benighted country**. If one has to mutter prayers to a non-existent deity to get the opportunity to usher-in progressive reforms, then mutter, mutter, mutter.

    * My state is in the same region, and some of our legislators just tried to get Creationism back into science class.

    ** For the First-World, anyway

  3. I thought they just gave us that time so we could mentally make grocery lists or study everyone’s taste in shoes.

  4. Cathy, ha, you have a better attitude about it than I do. I’m sorry that I didn’t see on the agenda “We all sit around and take 15 minutes to actually feel some contrition and apologize for acting like massive tools.”

  5. Gah, Aunt B. Do all of the Christians have to sit through your wand pointing caterwauling to some forgotten Pagan diety? Just do what I do. Whisper your pentance to the God of your choice with your inside voice, and when everyone else is done, just say Amen. Amen is Tennessean for “We’re through playin’ nayowah.”

  6. Oh, Christian, I know. It’s always so much easier to politely go along with what other folks are doing because they don’t really mean anything bad by it, even if it makes you uncomfortable.

    I will, from now on, just take that time to do something constructive, like ask the Universe to give you so much butt hair that your pants all look weird.

    And I will eagerly await the announcement of your pending wife. Shoot, when I think about what woman on this planet could possibly make you most uncomfortable, I realize that it’s me.

    Christian, if you marry me to keep other Tennesseans from being uncomfortable with you, I will pray to the Christian god to prevent other Tennesseans from being uncomfortable with me.

    It will be great fun.

  7. AuntB, it’s sweet that you don’t want to make people praying to “God” uncomfortable by forcing them to also pause for your wand-waving incantations. If there is any reason you should not get involved with the Democratic party, that’s got to be the best reason I’ve seen from you.

    You are clearly leading by example here by complaining on a blog about how Democrats are forcing you to keep your Pagan beliefs quiet rather than actually making people uncomfortable by stopping the moment of prayer to start your Pagan caterwauling. ;) That said, I do understand you not wanting to make people feel uncomfortable and choosing to stay at home and complain. The way i see it, you are way better than those who do that with no reason at all.

    As for marriage, shouldn’t we at least date first?

  8. Oh, Christian, if I had to date you, I would never be able to bring myself to marrying you.

    As for not participating, yes, I know. I know. I get it. If people don’t participate exactly how you’d like them to, then they aren’t participating.

    What is it this time that I’m not doing right? Is it that I have a job that won’t allow me to play gabfest with the Democrats at 3:00 in the afternoon?


  9. If there is any reason you should not get involved with the Democratic party, that’s got to be the best reason I’ve seen from you.

    What? I’m really not sure I’m understanding this. Are you saying that because she doesn’t want to “go along to get along” she has no business in politics? Are you actually advancing that Old Guard stuff and nonsense?

  10. Well, I forgot how I came across the word caterwauling, Kat, but as soon as I knew what it meant, I knew I’d find the right post for it. I’d been holding it for two days.

    I’d love to see AuntB involved in politics. I think AuntB should consider running for Governor. I’d give $100 to that campaign, but it sounds like AuntB has been frightented away from the Tennessee Democratic Party by praying thugs.

    AuntB sounds like she cares way too much about praying Democrat’s feelings to just show up and interrupt the party prayers with wand-waving incantations to Pagan gods.

    You know what I did when 200+ Democrats started praying on Saturday? I video taped. There were at least 30 Buddhists in the room just watching people pray. And we all lived to tell our story. You can see some of them in the video i posted to YouTube. I cut the prayer out. Do you think they’ll hunt me down and kill me for that? ;)

  11. But you know what? That’s not the point at all. I don’t care if only two people prayed and everyone else stood there and pointed and laughed while yelling “look and the dumb superstition dummy heads.”

    The point seems to be that the TNDP has a developed over the last few decades a culture of exclusion. They have many ways–both big and little–of making that exclusion evident.

    Now much of what I’m hearing about is inside baseball. Not being a Democrat I’m not directly affected by who says what, who goes to what meeting and who refuses to volunteer for whom.

    But when I see an organisation that is purportedly for all the people–like, say, a FREAKING POLITICAL PARTY–THE ONE IN POWER IN WASHINGTON AS WE SPEAK–i expect that organisation to not blatantly exclude.

    And having an official function include as part of its official operations an activity designed to exclude a portion of the society is wrong on its face.

    All the archys–patriarchy, oligarchy, etc.–got to be in their positions of power by designing cultures of exclusion. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen important decisions handed down in my companies and in politics that were made during obviously guys-only activities like standing and talking at the urinal while they take a piss or a guys’ golf foursome.

    This is more of the same. This is saying to all the atheists and non-prayers that they aren’t part of the inner circle and never will be.

    It’s tacky and it’s wrong. And I suspect you either know that and are trolling or are so full of joy that the TNDP has thrown you some kind of grassroots activist bone that you’re willing to bootlick.

  12. Okay, time out. Before this conversation devolves into a fight, I’d like some clarification. Christian, I don’t live in your county. How do you know how I did or didn’t spend my Saturday. For all you know, I was confabbing with Bredesen. Right?

    Because if you’re checking in on my off-line activities, and keeping tabs on me, you and I are going to have problems. And not the cutesy kind.

  13. Because sometimes it’s necessary to step back and make sure that everyone is clear on things. If I have not specifically invited a person into my off-line life, I expect to be left unscrutinized. There is no reason for you to know or not what I’m doing on a Saturday if I don’t talk about it here.

    I’m not mad or anything. I just want to be clear that this is a boundary of mine that cannot be crossed without me understanding it as an act of extreme hostility.

    I have reasons for that and those reasons have been made abundantly clear to anyone who has read me at any length.

  14. Understand your boundary-setting, but maybe he made the same inference that I did — that you spent the day gardening — since that’s what you said you did. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that blogs are selective representations.

  15. Well, and bridgett, I have a feeling there is a fair bit of judging going around in certain circles about who is doing what and whether they are appropriately “involved,” especially with regards to some TNDP-related efforts. This is just one more thing on top of that, in addition to the problem of trying to tell B how other people have better responses than hers and she should just get over it. Blech.

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