Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Lately I’ve been posting less humor and more serious pieces. I think this is partly because my muses are mostly out of the house and partly because of all the drama and heartbreak going on in my life. Whatever the reason, I’m going with it.

Today I’m taking on religion.

I’m not really interested in debating the premise of each religion, we all believe what works for us and I defend everyone’s right to do so. I know that there’s a sense of right and wrong in terms of the differences in the beliefs of religions. I disagree. When it comes to beliefs there’s only right and wrong for any given person.

But more and more I see people who want to belong met with rejection. I see people of all different faiths openly and deliberately looking to exclude others. This isn’t high school, this is organized religion.

Religion should welcome | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

I do see the value in age old traditions. I understand that religions don’t operate by constantly changing their doctrine. One of what I think is the primary roles of religion is to provide a moral compass. A staunch and unchanging moral compass. There has to be stability in terms of right and wrong. A religion cannot survive by being totally reactionary to societal changes.

But there is nothing wrong with progression and growth in terms of how we interpret the breadth of what is right. If we say that G-d loves all of his children, but in the past those of certain lifestyles have been excluded, excommunicated, shunned even, we do not lessen the tenet by coming to the conclusion that we need to exclude none.

Further down the slippery slope of exclusion are religious groups dedicated to discrimination, negativity and hate. We give them validation by calling these groups a church. They should not have tax-exempt status. In fact, it’s an insult to our society that they do.

Please excuse the simplistic baking analogy, but if you love chocolate chip cookies, only make chocolate chip cookies, are only friends with people who eat chocolate chip cookies, even if you decide that you will never try a lemon cookie, how do people who love Limoncello Cookies lesson your love of chocolate chip cookies?

Limoncello Cookies | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies

Limoncello Cookies

Limoncello Cookies | www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #cookies

And with increasing frequency we’re moving this issue out of the chapel and into the political arena. Following the analogy, to then seek to pass laws based on our belief that G-d only loves people who eat chocolate chip cookies, are we promoting the values of our religion, or are we really just using our religion to promote our own prejudices?

Bullying in the name of G-d. Isn’t this blasphemy?

Although I’m not exclusively speaking of homophobia, it’s a good example of what I’m trying to say because:

*A representative in one state has proposed a bill that will do away with all marriage licenses unless issued by a member of the clergy. Legalized exclusion.
*Another state is talking about a legal way to be sure that their state employees are not traumatized by forcing them to go against their religion in issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Legalized exclusion.
*I think we’re up to 20 states now using laws to “protect religious freedom”in the workplace that are so vague and poorly thought-out that they could easily be used to discriminate against entire groups of people. Legalized exclusion.

And by the way, anyone around here heard of separation of church and state?

Beyond that, I don’t even understand these positions in terms of the workplace. If you believe that gay marriage is wrong, don’t marry someone of the same sex. But how is taking money from someone who is married to a person of the same sex against your religion? You’re a business set up to provide a product or service in exchange for money, they’re asking you to provide that product or service in exchange for money. Their legal tender money, not their gay money.

And how can someone be sure that they’re not doing business with people of whose lifestyle they disapprove? Should we all have to fill out a personal questionnaire before we’re allowed to order coffee?
1. Are you gay? Sorry, no coffee.
2. Are you affiliated with a religion other than that of the proprietor? Sorry, no coffee.
3. Have you lived with someone before marriage? Sorry, no coffee.
4. Have you ever accepted government assistance? Sorry, no coffee.
5. Are you a high school drop out? Sorry, no coffee.
6. Are you of mixed race? Sorry, no coffee.
7. Have you ever been accused of a crime? Gotten a parking ticket? Sorry, no coffee.
8. Have you ever lied? Sorry, no coffee.
9. Got an overdue library book? Unpaid fines? Sorry, no coffee.
10. Do you like Limoncello Cookies? Sorry, no coffee.

Seems to me we’re going to end up a far less caffeinated society.

My bottom line is this: if the love of a person whose identity includes a religious affiliation is stronger than the love of that institution for all who seek to worship, there is something truly wrong here. We, as the human beings who make up organized religions, have lost our way.

Religion is a blanket not a sword.

 Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

PS: I'm all over the place this week. Where you can read more by me:
My recipe roundup Fifty Recipes: Mother's Day All Day was published on The Huffington Post Taste.
My piece Ancestry: Do you Really Want to Know Who you are? was published on BLUNTmoms.
My post Holding On While Letting Go was published on Felicity Huffman's website What The Flicka?

Limoncello Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
¾ cups sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp lemon extract
¼ cup limoncello
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 TBSP white sugar
2 TBSP yellow colored sugar
*Cream the butter, margarine and sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg, lemon extract and limoncelo. Beat in the flour, baking soda and salt starting at the lowest speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
*Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets in parchment paper.
*Mix together the 3 TBSP white sugar and 2 TBSP yellow colored sugar.
*Roll the dough into approximately ½ inch balls. Dip the top of each dough ball into the sugar mixture. Place on the parchment paper, sugar side up.
*Bake for 11 - 13 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to cool completely.


  1. Oh, gosh. You're on my soapbox. Here's the thing. I attend a traditionally "strict" church. Years ago, they couldn't dance, or wear shorts, or any number of things, so you can only imagine that today's society has really bumped them on the head. Thankfully, the church we attend isn't quite as strict, but the pastor still wouldn't marry my girl because they had been living together. Oh, I'm sorry. You only marry virgins. Uh huh. How's that working for you? Whatever. Her best friend (who actually is the children's pastor at the church) married them, and it was the most touching ceremony I've ever witnessed. So, yeah. But here's the thing. So, you can't marry gays because God doesn't approve and it goes against the traditional man/wife. Ok. I get that, but what about the people that don't even believe in God, but get married in the church because of tradition. Is that ok? See what I'm getting at? Actually, I think I'm rambling, but maybe you can make some sense out of it. Jesus (and God) taught us to love each other. WE aren't supposed to be judging them. I'm a sinner of the first degree (I try not to be, but that's our nature). So, how is my sin any different from someone else's. IT'S NOT!! I just want to confront those people and slap them into tomorrow and ask them how perfect they are and how they think that they can judge someone when they are doing things that are sins (like judging! HA!). Ok. I'm done. Thanks for letting me vent. ;) And I'd take these cookies over a chocolate chip cookie any day. Please bring me a plate. I have the coffee pot going.

    1. You and I are thinking along the same lines. The more we judge each other, the more society takes giant steps in the wrong direction,

  2. Coming from NY to the bible belt is getting progressively stranger
    I am the wrong religion
    Last week I went to an alt health seminar at a chirorprachter's office. They began by talking about no vaccines. Not the way to win me
    I actually had a good excuse not to go this week so...
    The cookies sound incredible but I roast lemons just because I can....

    1. Yes,I know exactly what you're saying. Coming from the East Coast to the Midwest I'm the wrong religion, political party and pretty much everything. If we could all jut take a step back and open our minds a bit.

  3. I think I love you, Karen BakingInATornado. Will you be my friend? We have the same ideas about this religion/exclusion/hate/no coffee for you! stuff. I was going to write about this, but I think you said it best.

  4. I love this new aspect to your writing! I think we feel so helpless about a lot of the things that are going on today that writing is the only way to get our point across. There is so much hate and discrimination it's sad. It's so elementary, but can't we all just get along!

    1. Agreed.And the first step to getting along is to just stop thinking that we have the right to judge each other.

  5. You are so my hero today. I couldn't agree with you more. It's puzzling, what we see out there. Just puzzling. And also infuriating.

  6. I love your recipes don't get me wrong-but I love this serious, straightforward part of your writing.

    Wonderful points and beautifully written. Definitely agree the biggest offense/blasphemy is hating in the name of a person's God(s) and religion.

    1. Glad you like it, because I seem to be doing more of it. Appreciate the support, Jenn.

  7. Here, here, there are too many so called churches around calling themselves a church just to get a tax break

    1. We do need to be clear as to what is a true religious organization and what is not.

  8. I love that. 'Religion is a blanket, not a sword'. My son uses an analogy of a party. 'It doesn't' really matter how you get there (happiness). The only important thing is that you do get there. And that you help a friend along as well'.

    1. I like your son's analogy too. Especially the part about helping a friend along as well.

  9. I couldn't agree with you more if I tried.
    See, this has been a HUGE issue with me since I was raised in church. My personal values tell me to be kind to everyone, not just the people that think, act, and do as I think, act and do.
    I now actively boycott those businesses that use religion in order to push their agendas (Hobby Lobby, Papa John's, Chick Fil-a).
    I have even had to block family members because of my viewpoints. They were harassing me. Can you believe it??? Family members harassing me because I stick up for others and because I said God doesn't care what church you go to. It's crazy.
    The world would be SUCH a boring, bland place if we were all the same.
    I love this - "Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate."

    1. I boycott those businesses too. My kids keep telling me that it doesn't hurt them, and I know that. I don't do it to hurt the businesses, I do it for me.
      I think I could have skipped all the words I wrote in this post and just written "promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate." That says it quite well.

  10. 100% agree with this post (especially the cookies, haha).

    1. Glad that you agree. I know that not everyone does, but to me it's just common sense.

  11. You have just succinctly explained every single issue I have with organised religion. I was raised as part of a fundamentalist religion as a child, but because we were products of a second marriage, my brothers and sisters and I were never really accepted into the fold. We were outsiders in our own religion, which was incredibly hard to deal with, because you were meant to be made to feel welcome at church. I had to get to the point in my life where I accepted that I am a christian, but that I don't associate with any particular religion anymore, simply because I cannot cope with the hive mindedness that happens within the walls of church. Having said that I have many friends of various religions, and also many atheist friends. I love them all, even when the religious ones try to get me to join them at church (because it is coming from a place of love, and not a concern for my everlasting soul), and their personal views never stop me from being a good friend to them. I wish it were that simple for others. And I may have to get Miss K's nonna to make me some of those limoncello cookies, she makes her own limoncello, and it is amazing. Putting it in a cookie would just make a perfect thing even better.

    1. I am so sorry you suffered through that. The only thing worse than making adults unwelcome to worship as they please is making children feel like outcasts. Your attitude is admirable considering all you went through.


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