I thoroughly enjoyed your story, Charlie. As a Catholic raised in rural Virginia where most residents were Methodist, Baptist, or Jehovah Witness, I completely understand. The small number of Catholic children in our community were constantly told we were going to hell, that we were not Christians, and that we worshiped the Pope — not true for those who don’t know. We were blamed for fish stick school lunches on Fridays when the Friday no-meat rule for Catholics was still a thing. Teachers tried to subtly say what students and many parents and neighbors boldly said. We were unsaved Papists (I didn’t know what that meant) bound for hell.

I no longer consider myself to be a Catholic or even a Christian, for that matter, but I marvel at Christians of all the various denominations who proclaim to know the one and only true God and the singular and narrow path that leads to him. What arrogance! Attempts to convert others who have their own faith is nothing more than bullying.

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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