Hiding Behind Religion

A few months ago, there was a child that came to my office to be interviewed. She was going to an extremely small private school, like 25 kids total in K-12 small. Like most private schools, this school was centered around a religious group. While she came to disclose sexual abuse, the female PRINCIPLE had grabbed her breasts insisting that she must be stuffing her bra, the other things she told me were just as disturbing, if not more so. This school was simply not a school by any stretch of the word. These kids were not being taught anything besides that everyone in public school was a Satanist and going to hell. This “school” was essentially a little cult. The worst part was that even though CPS reported our concerns to the state board of education, nothing has or will come of it. The school will not be investigated or shut down. The offending principle will not even be removed or prosecuted.

Ever since I met that poor, sweet girl that day, I’ve been thinking about that school. Thinking about it looming on a hillside in my very own town, brainwashing children, robbing them of an education. It makes me sick, but there is nothing that I can do. Even more disturbing, I know that this child’s story is not at all an isolated incident. How many other small private schools like this exist in the country? More than I’d like to know, I’m sure. But not only schools are using this religious excuse to shield them from the consequences they’d otherwise have to face for their atrocious actions.

The past few nights I’ve been watching Cults and Extreme Beliefs on Hulu. Even though I had heard about what goes on inside most of these organizations already, each episode exposed even more horrors I wasn’t aware of. From what I can tell, every single religious organization uses this status to get away with abusing children. Despite the majority of the country as well as local and federal authorities understanding the abuse taking place, nothing is being done about it.

I theorize that this is solely due to the government feeling hesitant to attack any religious sect. They fear negative publicity and the legal battleground that freedom of religion has created. The United States was founded on the idea that our citizens are free to practice any religion that they like. It seems obvious that it would only be a matter of time before people with nefarious motives would take advantage of that. What I once thought was an unfortunate side effect of isolated religious communities is now seeming more and more like the whole point behind them. The focus is child abuse, the method just happens to be through religion. Religion is an afterthought, cleverly used as a shroud to conceal these monsters from the law.

Not only am I becoming more and more informed about the way religion shields sexual predators, we see every day in the news how religion is also used as an excuse to endanger public health. Long before Covid-19 made it’s debut, churches were using their beliefs as a reason to not vaccinate their children. This has led to viruses once thought to have been totally eradicated in the developed world, to raise their ugly heads once again. Children are dying. They are being raped and beaten and brainwashed. All in the name of religious freedom.

At what point will the world start to realize that a parent’s rights cannot and should not overshadow the rights of their children? “Your personal liberty to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.” This has always been one of my favorite quotes. Yet it has never seemed to apply when it comes to children. Despite avowing to “protect our children,” in the eyes of the government, children still seem to be considered property. You’re allowed to hit them, you’re allowed to rob them of an education, and if you’re “religious” enough, you’re also allowed to rape them.

I understand the historical events that have created this fear of targeting different religions, but that fear cannot be allowed to result in religious organizations and leaders acting with impunity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t believe procreation is a “right.” Especially when you do not have the physical, mental, or emotional competence to raise and protect that child. How can it be your right to create a life of suffering for another who is helpless and at your mercy? I suppose I should be happy about how much progress we have made toward installing protections for children within the law. I realize in the past things were much worse. However, I cannot find any peace when I know that the progress we have made is not nearly enough, that children are still being subjected to unimaginable abuse each and every day.

6 Creepy Cults You Never Knew Existed

Blocking Your Own Energy

Premium Vector | Buddha meditating in the single lotus position. hexagram  representing anahata chakra in yoga on a background.

Yes, I am still going on about energy and chakras. I was thinking as I drove to work this morning about my normal pattern of energy. I wake up, I generally feel pretty good, calm. But from the moment my alarm goes off, I can feel my body recoiling at the smallest things. I have already begun the processes of closing myself off from the world. I’ve begun the process of impeding my own flow of energy.

My mind immediately begins running through all the things I’ve got to do. Let the dog out, feed my pets, make coffee, take my vitamins, brush my teeth. My chest tightens, my breath gets shallow. I don’t want to workout, I don’t want to shower, I don’t want to drive to work. Tighten, close. I resist the idea of all my responsibilities. The day has hardly started and I’m worried about the evening, the next day. Tighten, close. I think about everything that went wrong the day before. I doubt myself. I am filled with fear. I agonize over what has already happened and everything that will or could happen. Tighten, close.

No wonder I am so exhausted by the end of the day! Whether you believe in the idea of chakras or not, all of this resistance, all of this worry and dread and regret and fear, no doubt has an effect on the body and mind. Whether you imagine it as cutting off or blocking an internal source of limitless energy or just using up the finite amount we have to draw from each day, it’s easy to see why there is such a huge difference from the way we feel in the morning to the way we feel by the evening.

The reason this idea of closing off the chakras, namely the heart chakra strikes me so much, is because it helps me understand why I usually feel like a totally different person in the morning and at night. Being tired just didn’t seem to fully satisfy as an explanation. It’s not just that I’m tired. I am also more stressed. I often even feel hopeless, uninspired, like no amount of beauty or passion can reach me, like those things never existed for me at all. When I view this phenomenon from the lens of the chakras, this drastic shift in perspective makes more sense to me.

When I first wake up in the morning, I have just returned from a wonderful period of total rest and relaxation. All the tightness and blockages I’ve stored up from the following day have released in the night. My heart is open. And as a result, for the first few hours of the day, I feel open. I am happy, excited, passionate, inspired. I can feel the energy from my heart space rippling out from my body, driving me onward into my day. But as I move through my routines, I start to block off that energy source little by little. Until nothing is left. My heart is closed. I am tired. I feel desolate inside.

Viewing things this way also helps me because it allows me to have hope. If I had expended all of my daily allotment of energy, what more could I do beside accept that I will always revert to this awful state of mind by the end of each day? Yet if it is simply a matter of unblocking the limitless source of my energy, I actually have a chance, regardless of what transpired earlier or how much stress I experienced. I always have the choice to open myself back up. To breathe and release. To let that energy flow through me once again.

I realize this all sounds like hippy-dippy nonsense to a lot of people. In fact, just a few years ago I would have been one of the people scoffing and rolling their eyes. But even at my most cynical and skeptical, I understood that there is a huge power in just truly believing something. We’ve all heard about the placebo effect. So even if none of this is true, it’s all about what works for you and what you find to believe in. I don’t really care if this can or can’t be proven for once in my life. I can visualize my heart opening. I can use this imagery to release tension in my chest, in my neck, my shoulders. I feel better. I can breathe more deeply. I am discovering ways in which I am able to live with more ease. And that’s all that really matters. I hope that sharing this new perspective is able to help at least a few other people live with ease too.