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Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

7th place: High school essay contest 2022 — Lindsey Lopez

Lindsey Lopez

FFRF awarded Lindsay $750.

By Lindsey Lopez

Dear Tia,

I see the look you give me when I walk into the room, inspecting my crisp clothes, looking for a loose string or hair out of place, as if these flaws are the tendrils of your devil sewn into the etches of my clothes, telling sweet nothings of depravity in shorts shorter than you deem fit, shirts tighter around the bust that’ll label me a whore, even though your god gifted them unto me.

In your eyes, the moral rules you have followed make you an angel, protesting in front of abortion clinics while holding signs that vilify other people’s choices. While you dance over the graves of mothers whose choices were stripped away, forcing matters into their own hand, you continue to wave your “children are a gift from God” sign upon them in ignorant bliss.

“How can you be good when you don’t follow God’s scripture?” But, are these words on a page what prevents you from killing, persecuting and bullying another human being? What is it that makes you good? The actions you have made in the name of your God, the people you have hurt in his defense, wrongly justified, in a line you do not know where to draw. Is that your good?

My sense of good lies in the bones of my body, hidden in the crevices of every step I take. I was given the gift of life by my parents, and every experience since then has been cherishing the fragility of life. There is no rulebook to refer to, just my brain telling me wrong from right. When someone yells or hits, it hurts me. I strive to never hurt, only heal. To give my support in actions unseen and quiet, but also as loud as I can muster, straight from the fire in my chest. That is the secret to a perfect moral life and ethical procedures. Be good to others, be kind, and keep your business to yourself. You have no right to dictate the lives of others and neither do they. The decisions you make will affect everyone, but, at night, the only person who can give you solace is yourself. I hope one day you’ll see life as beautiful as I have, unruled with the opportunities of a lifetime, with your own morality leading the way.

Lindsey, 18, is from Houston and attends the University of North Texas, with plans to major in hospitality management. “I was lucky enough to be given a culinary internship at Rice University, where I worked hands-on with some of the best chefs in Houston,” Lindsey writes.