Why I don’t go to church
11/29/2018, 6 a.m.
I don’t go to church because I find it irrelevant.
When I went to church, even good ones with a message and an active congregation, I found serious issues were omitted.
There is no discussion about raising good children. There are no sermons about how children don’t listen to what their parents tell them to do and, instead, do what they see their parents doing.
Are there sermons about reading to young children every night? Are there sermons about domestic violence and the damage done to children witnessing such behavior and what that teaches?
Are there warnings about and exposure to the idea that a criminal conviction and a criminal record are not rites of manhood?
When have you ever heard a minister telling parents that a young man impregnating a young girl does more to limit the opportunities of that burgeoning woman to navigate the river of life than tying a cinderblock around her neck? The limitations on the child born in that situation are equally as crushing.
Sure, a young woman with a toddler can go to school and gain meaningful employment with benefits and potential for advancement, but she is the exception rather than the rule. Pregnant at 15 normally limits career potential to Happy Meals and fries.
Our neighborhoods are rife with assaults, shootings and murder. I have seen too many trials marked by one mother whose child was killed and another mother whose child will spend decades — or even his or her entire life — incarcerated for the murder. The only time some children see their mother or father is on visiting day at the jail or prison.
You can visit too many neighborhoods in the summer and see children — some still in diapers — running around outside at 10 and 11 o’clock at night.
Some “leader” needs to lead.
Who or what better to undo the reality that hopeless people have hopeless children than ministers and churches?
Churches need to address serious issues like domestic violence, crime and children getting up and going to school. Ministers and congregations need to tell city leaders that Richmond does not need another roundabout, Diamond, Coliseum or bike race. We need a world-class school system to educate our children.
A world-class school system would attract new taxpayers, businesses and investors to the city. Until we have a world-class school system, we are wasting our time.
Until every pulpit teaches that every child has the potential for greatness and happiness that isn’t limited to going to the NBA, NFL or rapping, the messages are trivial and irrelevant.
DAVID P. BAUGH
The writer is a former federal prosecutor, longtime criminal defense attorney and legal expert.