Interview with Annie Laurie Gaylor Follow-up

After my interview with Annie Laurie Gaylor, Devika posted the following:

A question for Ms. Gaylor:

When you mentioned your religious side of your family in your interview with Mr. Mehta, I couldn’t help but reflect on one my own conundrums. My family is staunch Catholic and although I don’t live with them, I often have to interact with their social circle, which includes a great number of priests, nuns, etc.

I have no issue with addressing nuns as “sister”, but I really am bothered by the idea of calling the priests “father”. I think I am insulted by the whole notion that priests are a “middleman” to a god. Do you know of any reason-based writing about this topic? As a humanist, I don’t feel I should have to acknowledge religious titles, but I also wonder if I’m just being petulant and immature about this. Any thoughts on this?

cheers,
Devika

Here is Annie Laurie’s response:

Can’t you just ask your priest-relative to let you call him “Uncle
Chris?” as a member of the family? Or first-name only if it’s cousin,
nephew, etc.?

If you can simply couch your request as a family member or in the name
of informality rather than as a philosophical objection, perhaps you
will get cooperation. Otherwise, try “hey you” and drop the name
altogether! Good luck!



[tags]Annie Laurie Gaylor, Freedom From Religion Foundation, atheist, atheism, Catholic, Christian, Humanist[/tags]

  • Devika Keral

    thanks for the response! The priests and nuns aren’t actually family members – just people in my family’s social circle. I’ve been avoiding forms of address so far, as you suggested. I think I’ll just continue that, since no one seems to get offended and I don’t feel oppressed by their religion. The nice thing is that I’m Indian, so I can get away with using the generic “hello uncle” or “hello auntie” for all family friends. I should test out if I can do the same with the clergy that comes around my family’s home. Thanks again, Ms. Gaylor, for the response!

  • QrazyQat

    My advice: start wearign a cowboy hat and touch your hand to the brim, saying, “Howdy maam” and “Padre”. Then ride on out to the sunset.

  • Devika Keral

    My advice: start wearign a cowboy hat and touch your hand to the brim, saying, “Howdy maam” and “Padre”. Then ride on out to the sunset.

    ha ha ha!! I love it. We can’t take ourselves too seriously!

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org/ Ebonmuse

    If you’re an atheist, you definitely shouldn’t refer to priests as “Father”. They have no authority over you! Why defer to them as if they do?

    I wrote about this once before:

    For the same reason, I would not address a priest as “Father”, or any other title that would imply I recognize them as holding some special or privileged status, since in reality I recognize no such thing. (I would find it very amusing for an atheist to address the pope as “Mr. Ratzinger”, should that chance ever arise.)

  • Devika Keral

    I agree with you. I think I try to make nice for the fam. But forget that!

    (I would find it very amusing for an atheist to address the pope as “Mr. Ratzinger”, should that chance ever arise.)

    My husband and I playfully refer to “Pope Benedict” as Ratzie. I’d love it if someone called him Ratzie to his face! Not in a mean way, but in the spirit of fun. But I suppose that they would need to establish a friendship with him first – and something tells me Ratzie doesn’t have a lot of time to make new friends.


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