So. My daughter, her best friend, and I were at a hibachi-type restaraunt recently. The man sitting directly across from us had on a motorcyclists-for-Jesus type tee shirt. Awesome.
The table was full. There was Jesus motorcycle guy, a family of a husband and wife and two little girls (toddlers), and the three in my party. Jesus motorcycle guy (let's call him JMG) asked whether everyone was local or from out of town. The other family was local; we were traveling.
I have a point. Be patient.
The next question JMG asked was where the family next to him went to church. Not whether they went to church; where they went to church. Of course, as the odds would have it, they belonged to a big local church and so that was cool with JMG. I started to sweat. "Oh, dear fuck. I hope he doesn't ask us about church" kept going through my head over and over and over. I am not one for public debate, but I'm also not a liar. So if he asked, I was screwed.
He didn't ask. What he did ask was where my "other half" is. He assumed, since I'm eating with two preteen girls, I must be married.
Well, I am married, but I'm in the process of a divorce. Kind of. It's complicated. But I had an out.
I told him that he was on his way to Iraq. Which is true. JMG immediately asked for his name and said that he would pray for him, and that he would put him on their church's prayer list.
Well, 1) I'm a wimp and I hate confrontation, and 2) my husband/soon ex husband is a christian, so I suppose he would be happy that he's on the prayer list of a group of total strangers. So I just say thank you.
Then, JMG starts talking about his motorcycle evangelist group and how they are mostly veterans. I just really want him to stop. Please, just stop.
I nod politely. I thank him for his service to our country. I don't mention that I don't believe in prayer, Jesus, or his (or any) god. My daughter and her friend are just as sweet as they can be, and don't say anything either (they are both nonbelievers as well).
So, as we left, we were all three just very happy to be out of there.
So. What if I had been the vocal one? What if I had openly discussed how proud I am to be an atheist, and how the atheists in the military suffer gross discrimination, and what a wonderful thing science is and how much it has improved our daily life, and how ignorant and damaging it is for people to deny science and try to defer its progress because of silly superstitions and ancient books filled with vile stories and gross inconsistencies? All of those things are true; all of those things are valid. Would I have been treated with as much respect?
I can tell you. NO. No, I would not. And that makes me angry. It does not make me angry enough (yet) to cause a scene during my vacation; but it does make me very, very angry.
I'm sure many of you have read Greta Christina's blog post on why atheists are angry, but I am just now starting to get it. Really get it.
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