Whether we're an atheist or a religious veteran, at some point in our lives, we've all looked up at the sky and questioned the existence of God, Allah, the Big Kahuna, or whatever name we choose to call that life force energy that resonates with so many of us . For eons, humankind has battled with the belief in the existence of the man or woman upstairs, and no matter how long and hard we debate, we have yet to come up with an answer that we can all agree upon. In fact, our debates about religion have gotten so extremely destructive that we've deemed it inappropriate to even bring up the topic in basic conversation. But, what about prayer? Many religions pray, even those of us who choose to live absent of religion might affirm, or meditate. Some may even do all three. No matter what you call it, it's a centuries old practice we've used to connect us to our higher selves, or to a higher power we believe exist outside ourselves. It's a way to tap in and offer a few minutes of focus to our desires, alone or collectively.
This Netflix Original, "The Most Hated Woman in America" sent a billion questions surging through my head around the topic of prayer. Based on the life of Atheist, Madelyn Murray O’Hair, this picture does an excellent job capturing the many layers of the most famous Atheist this country has ever known. Strong and fearless, out spoken and unrelenting this story depicts the life of the woman who took on the Baltimore School Board and moved the feet of the Supreme Court with her fight to take mandatory prayer out of public schools.
While her progressive state of mind had the potential to add comfort for the population of Americans who were Non-Christian believers and Atheist, many Christians on the other hand, were furious at her attempts alone and deemed her evil, wicked, hateful and just about every other label you could imagine. One would think she'd give up her fight against the majority for something so simple as prayer, even if it was just for the comfort of her children. But this fight would go on to become the bane of her existence in the years to come. and the more she was hated the harder she pushed.
I pride myself on being the type of progressive that believes in our right to believe in whatever the hell we want to. Nonetheless, I found myself questioning the motives of this woman who was just the type of tough ass I admired. While, I completely understood the reason behind taking prayer out of public schools, what I couldn't wrap my head around is not replacing it with something else. Something neutral that could bring us all together. Her fight was worthy and her argument was more than valid but it was obvious that she had absolutely no understanding of the benefits around the "idea" of prayer. And although her view was completely opposite from her most ignorant opponent, her solution was just as jaded, because there was no solution. Just a banishing of something she didn't agree with.
My question is? Where's the middle? Is there some connecting tradition that could bring us all together, no matter what we choose to believe? Checkout the movie and let me know what you think.
MAMA'S FAVORITE QUOTE
"You can still keep the faith people. Just keep it to yourselves."