Politics and Religion Should NOT Mix

Everyone I know is sick of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk, and so am I, but I want to share a couple of stories about her religion and Mr. Huckabee's, as well.

He's Southern Baptist and she's Apostolic/Pentecostal which is more rigid in their edicts for women and their boisterous rituals.

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When I was seven I witnessed a Pentecostal church service with a crazy woman, my step-father's step-mother. She was an alcoholic who kept a bottle of beer under her bed every night so she could drink it before her feet hit the floor in the morning.

I don't remember why I ended up alone with her one evening, but I will never forget the evening. I sat quietly in front of the TV hoping my mom would pick me up before Hazel got drunk. I wasn't at all prepared for what happened.

She went upstairs and I was sure she would pass out and that would be the end of it, but she came downstairs all dressed up, including a big flowery hat.

"Get in the car kid, we're going to church," she said.

I didn't dare argue. We got in the car and drove a little ways before turning onto a dirt road. A small building came into view all lit up and full of people.

It wasn't like any church I'd seen before. It seemed to be under construction, and maybe it was, but the inside had a pulpit and pews. They were just getting started, so we sat in the back.

I tucked into the corner of the pew and took in the scene. It was quite a spectacle of bright colors and crazy hats. The minister was a woman with hair about as long as Kim Davis'. They all started singing and things got rowdy, but the minister quieted them and began her sermon.

I understood some of it until she began to speak in another language. I later learned she was speaking in tongues. Soon others piped in with their own versions and it got crazier.

Within a matter of moments there were people leaping down the aisle doing acrobatics like I'd never seen. The entire scene scared me to death. I hid under the pew but kept a close eye on Hazel, in case she might leave me there. She didn't, thank God, but it seemed an eternity before we got home.

I never stayed with her again.

My grandfather was a Southern Baptist minister. He never had his own church in Ohio, but he went every Sunday. Since I lived with them often I went, too.

I remember my fear of 'altar call' like it was yesterday. At the end of the service, the preacher would ask the congregation if they had been saved and if not to come and accept the Lord as their savior.

Granddaddy would put his big hand on my shoulder and say, "You been saved girl?"

I would nod my little head so hard it hurt. There was no way I was walking up the aisle while the congregation sang, "Just as I Am." I cringe when I hear it, to this day.

The hypocrisy of altar call is at the heart of Kim Davis' story. You see, when you prostrate yourself at the altar and repent your sins in front of everyone, all is forgiven. Even if you cheated on your husband and got pregnant, then divorced your husband and married again...and again...and again.

Being 'saved' is what it's called and you can do it over and over again. My uncle was a master of this game.

Uncle Chuck was a truck driver. He was gone a lot while my aunt raised their kids. One evening, while watching the evening news, she saw a story about a truck stop raid outside of Atlanta. Seems there was a prostitution ring and several truck drivers were arrested during the raid. Guess whose face made the evening news?

He came home and cried like a baby and swore he was going to beg God to forgive him. He marched up the aisle Sunday morning to 'Just as I Am' and sure enough, all was forgiven.

The righteousness of those freshly saved is nauseating, to me. I've seen it more times than I can count and, in my opinion, it's a crutch. Catholics go to confession. At least their sins are between them, a priest and their God.

Davis, Huckabee and their ilk are religious when it's convenient. I believe in forgiveness from your God when you are genuinely repentant, not when it serves your ulterior motives.