Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
Jesus Land (A Memoir) , Julia Scheeres. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2005. e-book, 274 pps.
Julia Scheeres is from a white fundamentalist Christian family. They lived in Indiana, mother, father, a coupla kids. Dad made a good living as a surgeon. Her mom and dad wanted to adopt a kid, but the agency said the kid they wanted was already taken. The agency pointed out that there was a bunch of black kids in need of a home. Being Christians and all, mom and dad felt like they could not refuse to adopt a kid on the basis of his skin tone. First they adopted David, a child a year younger than Julia. Then they adopted an older black boy so David would have someone else in the family who was black.
Prejudice runs deep even in religious places. David and his brother attracted their share of nasty comments from the other school kids. Julia and David stuck up for each other and were fairly inseparable. Eventually there were several falling outs and the Scheeres adults decided to dump David at a fundamentalist Christian school called Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic. This school was run with the assumption that all of the teens attending there were messed up and evil and had done stuff like having premarital sex and thus deserved to be there. Julia was astonished to find her mother clearing out David's room one day. That was the day that Julia learned that David was being x'ed out of her parents' lives on a permanent basis, good Christians that they were.
After a bit, Julia's parents discovered that she had premarital sex with a boy. She wound up being dumped off at Escuela Caribe as well. The school sucked. There was abuse there, just as there had been at Julia's home in Indiana. Julia and David both got out after a time. Julia found that she was no longer a Christian. I won't tell you what happened with David.
sapphoq reviews says: Jesus Land is an outstanding memoir. It illustrates what happens when religious dogma becomes more important than loving others. Highly recommended.