Maggie Flynn, an agnostic, moved to Nashville after college for a job with Americorps. Turns out it’s not easy dating when you’re an agnostic in the Bible Belt.
I ended up going out with a few other guys who referred to themselves as “good Christians.” One of them called the day after our date to say he felt guilty about the lust we’d acted on. I wondered if he was confusing me with another girl. All we had done was kiss for a few minutes while he’d rested his hand on the small of my back. I was flattered that our PG date had stirred such emotions, but his enthusiasm did me little good. His so-called contract with Jesus rendered his lustful feelings void where prohibited, which was outside of marriage. Though he did offer to take me to church if I ever wanted to improve my relationship with the man upstairs.
God even invaded my professional life. To supplement my paycheck from AmeriCorps, I took a job in the children’s division for one of the biggest names in Christian publishing, proofreading evangelical teen series and creationist-themed picture books with names like “God Said It and Bang! It Happened.” No one there questioned me about my religious beliefs — my colleagues operated on the assumption that the whole office was Christian.