The Pattersons are, by their own admission, a decidedly secular family. As such, they attend Christmas and Easter services not because of any great religious belief but out of social pressure. That is their right as citizens of a free public. A right they do not have is to secretly mock and deride the sincerely devout for their beliefs as we see them do in the Christmas 2007 strip. Hypocrites, of course, are fair game but the rank-and-file army of decent people who actually believe are not. Why the attack on organized religion? There are two reasons that immediately come to mind. The first is that they really don't get that not everyone is like them or wants to be. Since they aren't especially religious, they assume that anyone who says different is faking it. The second, deeper, reason is that they have a problem with the Christian ethos itself. They, as I've said before, view their needs as all-important. Sating an appetite is good because it makes them feel good and if other people don't like it, that's their problem. Being asked to feel bad about something that makes them feel better is just plain stupid as far as they're concerned. The God they hear about in Church wants to make them feel bad about what they do, feel sorry for the people that get in the way of their desires. He's no fun so they aren't going to listen to him. They believe in a groovy God who wants them to be fat and happy and reassures them that other people are just jealous. The fact that this 'deity' bears a strong resemblance to Satan is just a coincidence that haters point out.
April has recently betrayed an ignorance of the divine that rivals the very Marianas Trench in depth. She honestly believed that praying that the foregone conclusion of the Housening might somehow be stopped and, hey presto, a tree lands right on top of Pattermanse 2.0. Her conclusion: her prayer made it happen. Now, you and I both know that the Tree of Mild Inconvenience most likely died the previous winter and fell down of its own accord. That sort of thing is referred to as an act of God; a phrase which is just gonna ADD more fuel to the furnace of confusion that's consuming April's sanity. Eva's attempts to bring her friend into the reality-based world are gonna boomerang and send the kid deeper into the Land of Pointless Hysteria and Witless Superstition. Why, you ask? In her muddled thinking, Eva just confirmed that God has nothing better to do with his time to screw over her family, that's why! I blame her parents for this; not only have they not given her much of a religious background, what they have given her is both baffling and incorrect. Not only do they not tell her what she needs to know about how prayer works, they indulge her appetite for horror films. The so-called religious imagery in those would work gangbusters if you want someone to develop a warped sense of how prayer works. The combination of Hollywood's feeblewitted attempts at blasphemy and her parent's windy blovations about religion has produced a young woman who'll go the her grave CONVINCED that hexes and curses are real.
Now, I've noticed over the years that the Pattersons don't seem to be all that religious. Sure, they attend services on Easter and Christmas but that isn't exactly what you'd call a season pass, is it? I'm not particularly devout myself so I can't complain about their blowing off church the way they do, but something that does bug me is what they've replaced Christianity with; some sort of amorphous animism wherein they get all the breaks from some kind of Groovy Deity. As near as I can figure out, the prevailing belief in the Pattermanse seems to be in some sort of next life which is sort of a contuation of this current one and wherein every stupid action is all good. I'm not quite sure on that because they get kinda VAGUE with the God question, don't they? Well, vague on what they believe, that is. One of the more hateful sequences in Mike'n'Dee's sham wedding six years ago was Mira's realization that the best man, Laurence, was gay. LJ used this to take a woman with her sincere beliefs and confusion and convert her into a cardboard lampoon of the Church Lady from 'Saturday Night Live'. We have no real idea what she ACTUALLY thinks of homosexuals 'cause they stuck a crucifix in her hand as if that explained fucking everything; all we know is that she's trying to be a good Catholic, which sadly exposes her to a level of scorn and disrespect only matched by the philosophy of Gene Roddenberry. LJ sees herself as given the middle finger to the religious nuts 'cause she thinks she's got all the answers. I think that sucks shit 'cause I don't even know the questions.
Something that seems to clash with Lynn's championing of traditional values is her deep respect and concern for the gay community. This trend is embodied in Michael's friend, Laurence. We ALL remember the controversy that surrounded his coming out, as well as the fact that Homebody Elly had to be the one convincing Working Mom Connie not to reject her son. As a matter of fact, the Patterson family were there for him when nobody else was. This scaenario is based on her brother-in-law Ralph's hardships when he came out and the adjustments she and the rest of the Johnston family made. The reason their healthy tolerance of Laurence's lifestyle seems surprising is that the taboo against homosexuality is basically religious in origin; the essentially agnostic Pattersons don't really care who sleeps with whom 'cause they don't think whatever groovy God they believe in cares, either. The reason I think THAT is 'cause they used his sexual orientation as a cheap way to bludgeon Mira over the head. Remember the stink she made at the wedding when she found out our Mr. Poirier was gay? It was Lynn's cheap and nasty way of giving the middle finger to the religious nuts.