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An Apology

An overdue apology from organized religion.

We lied.
Those of us who work in organized religion lied to you.
We also might have shamed you.
Some members of the clergy might have even physically abused you.
That these things happened is unconscionable.

We lied. We shamed. We abused.
We hurt the very people we were charged with helping.

On behalf of my fellow clergy persons, I am sorry.

I am afraid this apology is “too little, too late.”
Nonetheless, I am sorry.

We lied when we went along with—and let you believe—the stories about God existing outside of you. Like a supernatural parent.
God isn’t in a chair, actively judging good from bad.

And, we knew it.

Most of us did.

We could have given you other options.
We should have exposed you to mature ideas—like Paul Tillich’s notion God is the ground of our being.
Or Martin Buber’s God as connection.
Or Octavia Butler’s God is change.
Or we could have told you God is a verb –manifest in how you act.
Or that God is the eternal now.
Or, or, or.

But, we didn’t.
I am sorry.

We lied to you to make the Bible seem simple: a book of good stories, dictated by God.

We happily ignored what didn’t serve us. Like how Lot—who we told you was a good man—gave his daughters to be raped. And we ignored later when they get him drunk and have sex with him.

Lot’s daughters aren’t even named! At the very least we could have pointed out the misogyny.

For all of this, I am sorry.
For the shame we brought, both subtly and overtly, I apologize.

We made you question yourself.
We never should have told you or let you believe “You weren’t enough.”
We acted holier than thou and encouraged your dependence on us.
We never should have told you (or let you believe) you needed a cure only available from us.

I am sorry we made you believe you oughtn’t question.

I am sorry we ever, ever, ever made you believe your soul is in peril. It’s not.

I am sorry we led you to believe you are a problem.
Or at fault.
You aren’t.

I apologize that anyone associated with organized religion would ever collude in depraved, immoral, and unethical, abusive behavior.
It happened and we must acknowledge it.

I understand why you might never want to engage with my colleagues (or me).

I apologize.

For the time you just spent reading this apology, I thank you.

With love,

Rabbi Brian

Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer is a very, very, very honest rabbi. He left organized religion and lives in Portland, Oregon. He connects digital age folk with spiritualigious wisdom and re-writes this by-line occasionally. Visit Rabbi Brian’s website:

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