Honorable mention — BIPOC essay contest: Daphne Moon

Daphne Moon

Firsts

By Daphne Moon

Dear Father,

The first time I realized religion was not for me was when pastors preached that God wanted everyone to treat each other kindly, and then I met my childhood bully at Sunday School.

The second time I realized religion was not for me was when the women of our church talked about how proud they were of their children, and then beat them over the smallest of mistakes behind closed doors.

The third time I realized religion was not for me was when our church claimed that God loved everyone, and then jeered at the body count of Pulse.

The fourth time I realized religion was not for me was when I saw a woman at a friend’s church walk around with bruises and then completely disappear. I still do not know what happened to her.

The primary reason why I reject religion is that almost everyone I have met that does choose religion has never been pleasant to be around. There are always multiple somethings in their behavior that never match with what their bible preaches. Religion breeds a sense of moral

elitism. Anyone who does not choose to believe is inherently an awful person. That mindset is why I think religion should never be used as the golden moral guideline. No one needs religion to be a good person, and no one should be able to commit heinous acts “in the name of God.”

I have found plenty of kind people at church. However, that does not detract from the horrible things that I witnessed during my childhood. Things I know still occur. Rejecting religion has opened my eyes to the complexities of our current society. I’ve become an infinitely better person than I ever would’ve been had I stayed in the church. It has been incredibly humbling to experience a people outside of the box religion creates. To meet LGBTQ+ people, sex workers, ex-addicts, and other atheists/agnostics and treat them how they deserved to be treated, deserving of respect as everyone else. Ironically it seems the group that preaches kindness is the primary perpetrator of the ostracization of these groups.

Since rejecting religion, I’ve developed a far more open mind and a stronger sense of kindness. I am no longer controlled by the whispers of religion to look at certain people as unclean. I no longer have to deal with the internalized homophobia that religion drilled into my brain. I no longer subscribe to the idea that women are meant to be quiet and subservient.

Daphne, 18, is from Gotha, Fla., and attends school of the Art Institute of Chicago.  “I hope to do work in character design, book illustration, game illustration, background design, and much more,” Daphne writes. “Apart from visual arts, I also enjoy playing the piano and watching videos about topics like calculus, physics, and space. All the good nerdy stuff.”