I feel your pain, sister.
Like Rice, I developed a deep faith later in life and, like her, I brought with me liberal views that aren’t normally associated with devout Christians. I also brought a dim view of organized religion, and a particular hostility to evangelicals, who I viewed as anti-intellectual bigots. The truth is, had I known the day I tagged along with a new boyfriend to his church, that it was evangelical—and not merely Presbyterian—I would never have set foot in the place. But I did, and as much as I tried to resist, my life was ultimately radically altered. With time, I came to call that church my spiritual home and today many of my closest friends are evangelicals who have turned my stereotypes on their head.
Nonetheless, Rice’s story is all too familiar to me, and I suspect many other people. American churches are too often hotbeds of intolerance and cruel condemnation.