Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Religiously motivated abuse helped prepare me for life among the Fundies


Recent comments I got on two editorials have made me think about this topic more than usual. I've gotten hate mail and death threats as well as many unpleasant comments on my atheist writing. I even named my blog after what a particular Internet "critic" called me - That Atheist Bitch.

I knew what I was in for, writing about atheism. I grew up in a small religious town and got the shit beat out of me by schoolmates after I was outed as the child of a non-theist. I was physically and emotionally abused by students and staff ever after, only not quite so severely. So I grew up knowing exactly how some American Christians feel about atheists. I'd seen it written in my own blood and bone and reinforced in words, kicks, and punches.

Even when I moved 90 miles from that small town, I knew enough to keep a low profile. All I had to do is listen to hear bigoted sentiments aimed at non-Christians in the workplace and even in the casual conversations of strangers overheard. So it came as no surprise to me when people reacted like screeching, scat throwing monkeys to my atheist writing. I already knew that people burst out of their civil veneer when they feel their religion threatened and behave in ways they'd otherwise never consider.

If I'd grown up in a slightly more civilized, slightly less religious place I might not have been prepared for the anger, venom, and hatred. Other people I've conversed with have been blind sided by the reactions they have received. So, in a way, I'm glad I grew up in one of the "bad pockets" without the illusion of a rational populace.



6 comments:

uzza said...

Wow, talk about looking at the upside; what a heroic attitude to take. Kudos.

That's so very Christian of you...uhh... no, wait...

Cheryl said...

I hear you. I thought, well, after all, they do need more of us here.
15 years later my head is bloody....
No, not surprising.
Yet-"christianity is a PEACEFUL movement" he bleats...
yeah right

BUDA20 said...

Very good!

Honkmofo said...

I know how that feels to a degree. I haven't had my ass kicked yet, but because of where I live, I know to keep a low profile. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

arthurseverythingblog said...

You know, I hate to say it, but this is exactly why I live in a big urban area...
I mean, I'm a gay, furry, geeky, atheist, minister of the ULC (so that I can offer non-religious marriage services for those of my friends that don't want a bare-bones ceremony, but don't want religion involved) who is also a gamer, and in a relationship with a very nice boy who was raised to believe in god... (we've agreed to disagree; he says I can raise the children to question anything he says, lol) . . . where else would I be able to SURVIVE but a large city? I'm like an exotic orchid (albeit much less pretty) - I need the large forest around me to live... My heart goes out to ya.

Recycled Envelope said...

I'm quite lucky it seems to have been raised in a slightly more secular environment. The Christian belief system was still there, but rational discourse was accepted and actively encouraged.

Your experiences really show how much a self-protecting meme Christianity has really become.

Your story is inspiring, keep up the good work :)