Megan Doesn’t Want Your Public Prayers. Thanks Anyway.

Megan, 22, is a recent Duke University grad and a gifted writer. Because she was born with a rare connective-tissue disorder called epidermolysis bullosa, she’s had to get used to people asking “What’s the matter with Megan?” Hence the name of her new blog.

Sometimes, strangers pray on her. Not just for her. On her.

”Having a visible disability is like shark bait for ignorant people lacking scruples,” she explains. “I swear, the mere sight of crutches is like blood in the water.”

So when she’s out and about, the faithful approach her. Well-meaning folks. Kindness in their hearts. Filled with the spirit. And they really, really want their Lord to perform a miracle. One time, Megan got caught in what she describes as an “unholy prayer sandwich”:

The woman and her mother placed one hand on my back and one on my chest and right there, in the middle of the Ft. Lauderdale airport, began to feverishly pray on my body for Jesus to heal me. Between shouts of JESUS CRISTO! and HEAL HER FATHER GOD! their bodies shook violently, as if wracked by father, son, and holy ghost all at once. I looked at my mother’s sheet-white face and mouthed “MAKE. THIS. STOP.” She looked helplessly on, unsure how to make the scene come to a swift end without seeming rude.

(***UPDATE***: To clarify, one of the women had first approached Megan’s mom to ask “May we pray with your daughter?” and the mother had mumbled consent. See also the comments.)

Another time, a man approached Megan and asked if she believed in prayer:

I choked out a yes and picked a spot on the pavement to stare at and waited until it was over. He held out his hands and prayed for God to heal me, but with the added twist and flourish of asking God to take the Devil’s hands off me.

Megan, despite her sense of humor, is somewhere between puzzled and upset when things like this happen:

Do I really seem that broken to people when I walk out the door? Does my body project a fate so grim that I actually need saving? Every once in a while I have to actively remind myself that what happened to me was an objective case of a genetic splicing error — not the Devil’s handiwork.

I’ve always wondered why faith healing requires touching, or at least the invasion of someone’s personal space. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with some unspoken requirement on God’s part. If he’s all-powerful and listens to prayer, there ought to be no difference between a faith healer being ten inches away from his target, or ten thousand miles, right?

So what I’m left with is that, for wannabe faith healers, this is mostly a public performance, a chance to wrap themselves in their religion in such a way that their supposed virtuousness is observed by others. At the same time, I guess, it’s an advertisement for the Lord, a reminder to others that Jesus’s followers are out in force again, loudly purporting to do good.

No matter how you slice it, it surely goes against Matthew 6:5-6:

When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

This doesn’t mean that these people can’t also have genuinely good intentions. Megan recognizes this:

There are days I appreciate the feeling that people are out there rooting for me. The problem is that someone at first glance makes an assumption that my life is so bad and full of suffering and miserable that I need immediate holy intervention. What people should really be praying for in this situation is to have their good intentions supplemented with good judgment, because I think that’s what God probably would have preferred.

Amen to that.

***Update 2***: Raw Story has more information about and background on Megan on their website.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    ” I looked at my mother’s sheet-white face and mouthed “MAKE. THIS. STOP.” She looked helplessly on, unsure how to make the scene come to a swift end without seeming rude.”

    Rudeness wouldn’t have entered my mind at a moment like that. I would have pushed those maggots away from my daughter and let them have a large (and very rude) piece of my mind.

    • SeekerLancer

      That’s what really annoys me about situations like this. If anyone else had come up and grabbed her for any other reason there would be hell to pay. However because it’s prayer and religiously motivated they get a free pass due to fear of insulting someone’s religious beliefs.

      I don’t care if they’re “just trying to be nice” or whatever. People need to be called out for their unwanted personal invasions.

      • The Other Weirdo

        To borrow a phrase, amen to that. Be nice? In a situation like that?

    • Terry Firma

      Ah, shoot. I messed up here, guys. (This is Terry, the writer of the post.) I forgot to include what, in retrospect and given this understandable response, was a vital detail: the two women who laid their hands on Megan had asked her mom for permission (but, tellingly, not Megan, who was 15 at that point, and old enough to be asked for consent).

      In her blog post (I linked to it a few times), Megan writes that this happened before the women started praying:

      “May we pray with your daughter?” The woman asked. No stranger to such inquires at this point, my mother mumbled “Sure” and motioned for me to follow her.

      Sorry for the oversight. I will append a clarification to the post.

      • Stev84

        The point is still valid. Her mother should never have consented and instead told these assholes to fuck off.

        Megan should really have a talk with her mother and tell her to not allow this in the future.

        • Mairianna

          I’m sure Megan and her mom didn’t expect these freaks to actually have to touch her to pray for her. I’m sure her mother learned a big lesson with that!

          As an aside; we’ve come a fairly long way from the days when people used to scold my mother for bringing my physically handicapped sister out in public. The site of her disgusted the physically perfect.

  • sunburned

    My 14 yro son has cancer, almost done with his 3+ years of chemo. He has a full head of hair and aside from the port in his chest looks like any other kid.

    *However* in the early days it wasn’t uncommon for him to be in a wheel chair whenever we had to take him out. At one point he was down to 49 pounds, and barely had the strength to walk. It wasn’t uncommon for the faithful to interject themselves when we were out.

    Meghan has much more patience than I did after the first few encounters. Finally I ended up just telling people point blank that we are atheist and what they are doing is insulting, awkward and unwanted. “Have you heard of Jesus Christ” isn’t the best way to start up a conversation with someone while they are buying a video game and loaf of bread.

    • SeekerLancer

      “Have you heard of Jesus Christ” really grates me like nails on a chalkboard due to its sheer absurdity. Do they actually believe there are people out there (in western civilization especially) who will respond, “No, who’s that?”

      • sunburned

        They are looking for the small minority who closely guard their super secret shortcut across town to avoid the 12 or more buildings who have that name lit up on their marquee. We always wondered what is with those strange buildings and their over-compensating lower case t’s.

        My son is too polite. I couldn’t get him to respond with “Jesus Christ? Isn’t that the f**kwad who gave me cancer?”.

        • Machintelligence

          The rest of us might want to use “Christ? — hey, isn’t he the dude whose churches are overrun with pedophiles?”

      • Octoberfurst

        You gave me a chuckle because I feel the same way when I hear that insipid question: “Have you ever heard of Jesus?” Christian tracts like the ones made by the infamous Jack Chic are full of nonsense like that. The stories usually have some devout Christian approaching your average man/woman on the street and asking if they have ever heard of Jesus and they respond by saying, “Jesus? Who’s that?” Then the believer goes on explain who Jesus was and how he “died for your sins” etc. Of course the non-Christian has NEVER heard any of this before. Uh-huh. Right. Only in crazy Jesus-land do they believe such people exist.

        • SeekerLancer

          The Jack Chic stuff is funny because in reality explaining Jesus to someone who knows very little about him doesn’t usually work that way.

          In college my girlfriend explained Jesus to a Taiwanese student who knew very little about Christianity. She thought it was the weirdest thing she ever heard and had no idea why other people were taking it so seriously (this was in Texas if that gives you any indication of the culture shock this student was experiencing).

      • The Other Weirdo

        Actually, sometimes I want to reply exactly that way, just to see what would happen.

        • Matt

          “I’m not really sure, could you spell it for me?”

          “J-E-S-U_S”

          “Oh, you mean HeyZeus, yeah, he lives next door”

          • The Other Weirdo

            Out of curiosity, how do you pronounce the difference between the dashes and the underscore? :)

            • Charles Honeycutt

              The dashes are smiling winks and the underscore is a mouth, of course! -_^

        • Miss_Beara

          Then you better pull up a chair because it is going to take a while. And you might get dizzy with all of the eye rolling and head shaking.

          • The Other Weirdo

            Huh?

            • Michael W Busch

              Anyone who would ask the question “Have you heard of Jesus Christ?” to an adult in the US and expect the answer “no” is likely to have some extended and not-terribly-accurate answer.

              • The Other Weirdo

                Might be good for a laugh.

    • GCT

      Finally I ended up just telling people point blank that we are atheist and what they are doing is insulting, awkward and unwanted.

      Yes, thank you. What they are doing is full of religious privilege as well, in that they think they can push their religion on everyone around them with impunity. I’d go so far as to deny that they have genuinely good intentions.

      • Willy Occam

        I think the majority of these folks do sincerely have the best intentions in mind. They’re just ignorant twits.

        • GCT

          They are intending on pushing their religion and their religious privilege on others. That’s not a good intention.

          • Hat Stealer

            Not to us it isn’t. To them it’s the best thing since Jesus. In their eyes, the more they push and shove, the more they’re helping.

            • GCT

              Would you accept an argument that someone who really believes that blacks are inferior and it’s best for them to be slaves is acting with the best of intentions when they try to enslave blacks?

              • Michael W Busch

                They could have the best of intentions. But intent is not magic, and would not justify their actions in any way.

                • GCT

                  I understand that intent is not magic, and I’ve not implied that it is.

                  Would you claim that the racist in the example above (yes, I’m aware that it may not be all that realistic) has the best intentions?

                • Michael W Busch

                  If someone honestly thinks “If I don’t do [horrible thing X] to you, you will be tortured for all eternity”, they could have the best of intentions and do horrible things. This is one big reason why it is important for wrong beliefs to be challenged – wrong beliefs lead to wrong actions, far too often with good intent.

                • allein

                  The road to hell is paved with good intentions…

              • Hat Stealer

                If they really do believe that blacks are better off as slaves, then sure. If they´re just using that as an excuse to enslave a group of people then no. It´s not an entirely fair comparison, because the Christians in this example ARE being upfront about what they want; they want to push and shove their religion in someones face in the hopes that it will magically heal her. We don´t think those are good intentions, but they do.

                • GCT

                  I disagree, and I use your own words as the reason. They want to push and shove their religion on others. Those are not good intentions. And, before you claim I’m quote mining, whether they actually believe they can heal this girl (most likely they don’t actually believe that) it’s still not a good intention to shove their religion down other people’s throats.

                • Hat Stealer

                  I don’t think you’re quote mining, but I still feel that you’re missing the point. You’re right, those aren’t good intentions, they’re terrible intentions held by terrible people. But they think they’re good intentions.

                • Willy Occam

                  “…they’re terrible intentions held by terrible people. But they think they’re good intentions.”

                  This is exactly the point of my original comment above, which spawned an interesting sub-thread discussion. Whether or not we think their intentions are good is irrelevant; in their own minds, they sincerely believe they are doing a good deed. Yes, it’s fucked up, ignorant, and patronizing… but that’s all part of their delusional character.

  • ErinneTheAuthor

    I’d have been rude. Sorry, but they were rude to do that (the airport scene). I am not a ‘turn the other cheek’ kind of person and letting that stuff ‘just go’ does nothing but perpetuate the myth that everyone agrees with/believes in it.

    • allein

      I can’t think of anything much ruder than someone presuming to pray (prey?) on someone like that. I think asking a stranger who appears to have a disability/disease “can I pray with you?” is far enough out of line, but when you then proceed to put your hands on that person without having made it clear that was your intention, you can’t even see the line anymore. Appearing “rude” would be the least of my concerns at that point.

  • A3Kr0n
    • Space Cadet

      Oh man, I forgot about that horribad video. The music, the delivery and of course the awkward applause when the slide that looks more like Gumby than a cross is presented.

  • Space Cadet

    I’ve always wondered why faith healing requires touching, or at
    least the invasion of someone’s personal space. It couldn’t possibly
    have anything to do with some unspoken requirement on God’s part. If
    he’s all-powerful and listens to prayer, there ought to be no difference
    between a faith healer being ten inches away from his target, or ten
    thousand miles, right?

    Have you seen Gods aim with things like tornados? I think God (or it’s proxy) needs to be about this >-< close to be "effective".

    • SeekerLancer

      So that’s why we never see any miracles. He keeps missing and healing perfectly healthy people so we don’t notice!

      • Hat Stealer

        That’s what these gay conversion therapies need to start doing. Tell gays to be perfectly still so that God can actually manage to heal them.

        • baal

          States and conventions don’t move much but god still gets hurricanes 1-2 states off when punishing folks.

    • BelleStarr

      Didn’t Alex Jones tell us that President Obama created and steered the recent tornado? What? You don’t believe it? Or how about ‘god is angry because of that black athlete coming out of the closet so he sent a tornado to Oklahoma’.

  • Prem Lojong

    So it seems that someone needs to have a condition obvious to the average observer to inspire these “performance artists” in their self-serving acts of “caring concern,” right? I wonder how many amputees get this treatment? I suspect a number very close to zero. Why? Because even those who believe in the “power of prayer” and even “miracles” know full well that regenerating missing limbs and digits is a miracle their deity CANNOT or WILL NOT (why not?) perform.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Oddly, though, Jesus did raise people from the dead(according to the Bible, anyway), and regenerating a limb should be much easier than that. Unless, of course, people weren’t as dead as everyone thought or were plants.

      • BelleStarr

        Gotta go with the ‘plants’. I accidentally started watching one of the televangelists doing the ‘hit them in the forehead real hard and have two people standing by when the force of the forehead blow knocks them over, then they get up and are healed’.

    • enuma

      Since my disability isn’t immediately obvious, I never got the laying of hands treatment. I just got a lot of people following me into buildings to chew me out for using what they assumed was my parents’ handicap parking permit.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        I haven’t yet seen that in person, but it pisses me off so much that people can be so dumb as to not realize that nonobvious things like respiratory problems necessitate using handicapped parking, and that those same people use their ignorance as justification to hurt someone they assume is being inconsiderate.

        I had a lumbar sprain earlier this year, and could barely pump my own gas. Walking from my truck to buy groceries was excruciating. Although I was taking slow, careful steps, it wasn’t obvious that I was injured until I got a shopping cart, which I would then have to lean on to walk because holding my arms out and forward shifted my center of gravity too much to withstand. If there had been an open handicapped spot, I damn well would have used it.

        • enuma

          My hip joints are deformed so that my legs can dislocate at the drop of a hat. So I’m in a weird position where I’m pretty mobile most of the time, but I can become completely immobile nearly instantaneously.

          I initially applied for the handicap permit after dislocating my leg in an icy college parking lot, and then nearly getting run over by multiple cars who couldn’t see there was a person lying prone in the lot until they literally were almost on top of me.

          • Lorelei

            Oh hai! I’m not the only one, then! (With the wierd-ass congenital hip issues, that is.)

            /hugs

      • allein

        My grandmother lived with us for several years, and every few weeks I would drop her off at the library for an hour or so and then run some nearby errands. She would get a bag of no-due-date paperbacks and I was able to get shopping and stuff done without worrying if it was too much walking for her. When I picked her up I would park in the handicapped spot with her tag then run in to get her. I was always expecting someone to say something but no one ever did. I don’t know if this shows that no one in my town cares, or that anyone who noticed was just waiting for me to come back out to yell at me, only to see that I was coming out with an 80-year-old woman with a walker.

        • enuma

          The bulk of the comments happened at the same place: the office building where I worked. What I really didn’t understand is why people were so upset about me using the handicap space there when the office had over a dozen handicap spots, and I was the only person who ever parked in one of them. Even then, I always used the non-van-accessible spot furthest from the entrance.

          The rest happened at my college campus, which is where I needed to use handicap parking the most, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who’s ever been on a college campus.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          It’s legal if the handicapped person (i.e. the person the permit is issued to) is getting in to or out of the vehicle.

          • allein

            I know, but I would get out of the car by myself, and run inside to get her. So anyone who saw me arrive would see a perfectly able-bodied 20-something hop out of the car and jog up to the building. I was just always surprised that over probably 3 or 4 years of doing this no one ever said anything. (Especially since I’ve heard a number of horror stories of busybodies getting on people with hidden disabilities.)

  • Machintelligence

    What is wrong with a polite “Please go away”? And a follow up (in a very loud voice) “Get your hands off of me!” I can almost guarantee that the latter would attract attention in a public place, and leave the one doing the praying with some serious explaining to do.

    • Machintelligence

      OK. My mistake. I see her mom gave permission. Someone should have had a talk with her mom, but seven years after the fact, I guess it’s a little late.

  • C Peterson

    I just don’t get this need to pray for people. If you believe that your god is an interventionist, there’s no getting around the problem that it should have simply prevented the problem in the first place. A god that creates or allows problems in order to demand prayer to remove them is evil, pure and simple. A somewhat more rational way of thinking, still compatible with theism, is that the god isn’t an interventionist. That gets rid of all the problems with evil, but it also means there’s no point in praying for something.

    If somebody came up to me and literally laid their hands on me to pray, I’d hit them in the face or kick them to the floor and consider it self defense. I’d consider filing physical assault charges. Nothing… absolutely nothing justifies such offensive actions. Nobody should feel compelled to remain “polite” in that situation.

    • Stev84

      On the one hand god has a Plan[TM], and on the other hand his grande, cosmic plan can be changed by sending him telepathic messages. Who are people to think that they can influence god’s Plan[TM]?

      • busterggi

        The same can be sid for the Great and Powerful Oz.

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

      The thing is, the New Testament seems to show clearly that prayer should work. The world was broken (not because of God, who is righteous and perfect, but because people are bad *rolls eyes*), and Jesus came to fix that– and not only did he supposedly perform miracles and heal many people, but he assured his followers that anyone with faith the size of a mustard seed could do likewise. The real wonder is that Christians haven’t noticed IT DOESN’T WORK, and insist on believing Jesus really did all these things, and on trying to make miracles of their own happen in a sadly miracle-free world.

      IIRC, touching someone against their will isn’t assault, but battery. It’s still against the law, and I agree that there is absolutely no reason anyone should feel obligated to remain “polite.” Screaming loudly for help would be a perfectly reasonable thing to do in that circumstance.

      • C Peterson

        The real wonder is that Christians haven’t noticed IT DOESN’T WORK

        That’s because, in their eyes, it DOES work. In their delusion, they are perfectly prepared to attribute every positive outcome around them to the power of prayer. That the cause-and-effect-engine of the human brain can play some serious tricks on us is well known. Some of these prayer fanatics take it to a whole new level, though.

        • Space Cadet

          And the negative outcomes are attributed to the mysterious ways of god. So mysterious that we simple humans can’t possibly understand them. Until those mysterious ways happen to align with personal opinion, then god is very clear on what it wants.

          And ’round and ’round we go.

          • C Peterson

            ‘Round and ’round, indeed. Pretty much by definition, crazy is hard to fix. The most powerful tool humans have for changing minds is reason, and that’s precisely the tool that doesn’t work on crazy people- the ones most in need of having their minds changed.

            • kagekiri

              “Crazy” is not a great word to use; it makes it sound like it’s not a choice when it really is, and it’s ableist to boot.

              Most Christians are capable of reason and having their minds changed by reason for things unrelated to religion, but they’re willfully ignoring their reason in regards to their claimed religious beliefs. They literally believe their lives depend on that ignorance (aka faith).

              I agree that this is a place insulated from the application of reason, and the circular, self-supporting series of beliefs is deviously effective at protecting itself from counter-evidence and counter arguments. It’s a system that makes you a willing participant in your own brain-washing, and calls that blindness faithfulness to God.

              But it’s not the same as a mental illness.

              • C Peterson

                “Crazy” works for me. It has a wide range of colloquial meaning beyond the purely clinical. And I think it sums things up pretty well.

                I’m not sure it fully is a choice. Maybe a choice like smoking is a choice (to a smoker). Yes, religion is something that people can turn away from. Yes, outside the compartmentalization of their theistic views, most Christians can reason, and respond to reason. Nevertheless, it usually involves a lot more than a simple “choice” to reject the nonsense of Christianity (or most other religion), given the degree to which the dogma is embedded. And unfortunately, reason isn’t very effective at changing religious minds most of the time.

              • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

                Down vote me Ten to the 11 power for all I care but according to wikipedia:

                Psychosis may involve delusional beliefs, some of which are paranoid in nature. Put simply, delusions are false beliefs which a person holds on to, without adequate evidence. It may be difficult to change the belief even with evidence to the contrary. Common themes of delusions are persecutory (person believes that others are out to harm him), grandiose (person believing that he or she has special powers or skills) etc. Depressed persons may have delusions consistent with their low mood e.g: delusions that they have sinned, or have contracted serious illness etc. Karl Jaspers has classified psychotic delusions into primary and secondary types. Primary delusions are defined as arising suddenly and not being comprehensible in terms of normal mental processes, whereas secondary delusions may be understood as being influenced by the person’s background or current situation (e.g., ethnicity, religious beliefs, superstitious belief).

                • kagekiri

                  Why would I down-vote you for putting out a definition argument?

                  If you want to stick all religious people in the category of clinically insane (I assume that’s your implication given that you’ve bolded being things related to religious beliefs), I think you’re stretching that word way too far, well beyond the definition you’ve posted.

                  That definition claims that delusions are sometimes influenced by religious beliefs; that’s very different than saying “all religious belief is psychosis or delusional”. By that logic, the “ethnicity” bit in that definition next to “religious beliefs” would mean everyone who has an ethnicity is insane.

                  And practically speaking, do any psychologists treat religious belief like it’s equivalent to psychosis? The ones I’ve seen certainly don’t.

                  Are we supposed to campaign to get Christians and other religious people committed? Wouldn’t that be the obvious response if you really accepted this as true? Wouldn’t anti-psychotic medication just cure all people magically of faith if faith was linked to psychosis and delusions? I’ve never heard that this was the case.

                  I think there’s a difference between being wrong and a clinical delusion. Reinterpreting and redefining common events as God’s work is just a wrong way of looking at the world, a self-reinforcing mental habit.

                  The things that happen to religious people, the voices they interpret as God: they’re actual phenomena in most cases. Feeling better after prayer isn’t madness; it’s the placebo effect, but that’s not the same as delusion. The “Holy Spirit convicting them” is just calling their internalized morals and verses from the Bible the “Holy Spirit”, little different than internally simulating your parent’s critical voice and knowing they’d be disappointed in you. Good things happening to them actually happen in most cases, even if they’re mentally redefined as providence from God. Prayer feels good because meditation feels good regardless of spiritual beliefs.

                  It’s almost all just totally crappy mislabeling of actual phenomena, giving certain occurrences too much agency, rather than imagined or non-existent phenomena for most Christians.

                  Edit:
                  Example: Blaming thunder on God isn’t having a delusion, it’s mis-attribution of causation. The thunder exists outside of your mind, but your interpretation is based on bad assumptions.

          • kagekiri

            When I was Christian, I remember trying incredibly hard to make sure that I didn’t confuse my own internal voices with God’s when praying.

            Turns out, when you ignore your inner voices and refuse to speak for God, you hear nothing, not after hours of meditation, after years of altar calls trying to suss out your “calling”. God’s total silence during pivotal decisions in my life was a pretty big blow to my faith. It was almost like he wasn’t there at all…

        • BelleStarr

          Their answer to the “it didn’t work” problem is that the prayer was answered, just not the answer we wanted.

          I worked at a church for years and got prayed for constantly. Never fixed a thing in my life, but it made the christians feel better and I couldn’t protest – or tell them I’m atheist. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

          I’ve never liked organized religion, but after that stint working with christians, I totally despise it.

          • allein

            Of course…sometimes the answer is just “no,” right?
            .
            (Another forum I belong to has an eye-rolling smiley. We need that here.)

            • BelleStarr

              An “eye-roling smiley” could be the mascot for this forum. There is so much BS in god, the bible, organized religion, we could wear out an eye rolling smiley in just a couple of days.

    • Sue Blue

      Exactly. I don’t see how this is any different than being groped on the bus or subway. It’s unwanted, intentional physical contact. If done by anyone but some religious nut, it would be illegal. And, once again, these Christbots assume that children are property of their parents instead of individuals with their own rights when they asked Megan’s mother for permission to pray instead of asking Megan. Viewing children as property parents own is a pervasive problem with the religionuts.

      • C Peterson

        After reading a little about the condition, it sounds like the act of physically laying hands on somebody with EB could actually lead to serious bodily damage.

        • allein

          Good point. My cousin and his son both have a very mild form of this condition; their biggest issue is huge blisters on their feet. (When his son was little, he used to wear sandals, with socks if necessary, most of the time because regular shoes just killed his skin. I don’t know if it’s something that gets less severe over time in some cases, but he’s 15 now and wears normal shoes most of the time.) Someone with a more severe form probably could have real problems from something like this happening.

      • grindstone

        Different situation, but I was once in a very crowded store with my niece, whose mom is a Joel Osteen nut. The niece was wearing an Osteen “masterpiece” t-shirt, and some woman leapt across people to grab my niece by the shoulders and yell, “Yes, you are a masterpiece!” into her face before hugging her and moving on with the crowd in the other direction.

        Freaked us both right out. Who does this shit??

      • baal

        It’s not illegal to touch people. It is illegal to assault them, however. What counts as assault varies from place to place but the ‘lay on hands folks’ would probably count in some jurisdictions. I’m not including sexual touching here – that’s not at issue. Cops are a special case.

        That being said, it’s certainly rude and plain offensive to have someone touch you with out your consent.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Unwanted touch IS illegal.

          • baal

            Could I have an example of what you’re talking about and maybe a case or statute that deals with it?

            If unwanted touch was illegal, public transit and amusement parks (or anyplace where people queue) would have an endless stream of complaints / arrests or civil cases.

            Edit: I think you might be mis-reading common law battery.
            from wiki:

            Battery requires (1) a volitional act that (2) results in a harmful or offensive contact with another person and (3) is committed for the purpose of causing a harmful or offensive contact or under circumstances that render such contact substantially certain to occur or with a reckless disregard as to whether such contact will result. Assault is an attempted battery or the act of intentionally placing a person in apprehension of a harmful or offensive contact with his or her person.

            Offensive (legal meaning) touch can be any touch if it’s clear to the person doing the touching that you’re not ok with it. Statutes don’t usually deal with the crowds situation but the commentary allows for implied consent as a defense to inadvertent (still intentional (legal meaning again) touching. It’s generally considered offensive (legally) for touches from folks you’ve already told to stop touching.

            • JSC_ltd

              An unwanted offensive touch constitutes the common law tort of battery, and is illegal (generally). If a touch was unwanted but not offensive, it is not battery, and not illegal (generally). Whether the touch was offensive is determined by an objective standard, which is to say that a reasonable, prudent person in the same or similar circumstances would find the touch offensive. Here ends the (hopefully) helpful clarification.

              • baal

                Yes, this is my point. Unwanted isn’t the right word legally. The right legal word is offensive.I hate it when the person handing me a drink touches my hand but that’s not a legal offense even though it was very much unwanted.

            • Terry Firma

              In legal terms, it’s the tort of battery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_(tort)

  • http://www.facebook.com/katherine.hompes Katherine Hompes

    Hmmm, as a disabled person (I use crutches to walk) I think I’m rather glad to live in a secular country. The most I get is people occasionally talking around me, or (very often) people asking how I “injured” myself- because being young, and without any other obvious issues, it is assumed to be an injury, rather than a permanent disability.

    I can live with those- but if I had to deal with people praying on me? I’d be threatening to press charges.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Personal space violation is part and parcel of the entire shtick. On the one hand, it disarms some people because they don’t know how to react and won’t resist. On the other hand, other people will react angrily and may even lash out physically. This lets them get on with the process of disobeying Jesus’ explicit command and also fondles their persecution complex. This kills two stones with one bird. It’s all about economy.

  • John of Indiana

    Because of disease and a misspent youth I walk with the assistance of a cane. I would not hesitate to THRASH the ever-lovin’ shit out of anyone who laid their hands on me with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/peter.moritz.351 Peter Moritz

    What is wrong with being rude to someone who assaults (do not touch me, arsehole!) me or gives me unwanted attention?

    Nothing against being asked politely and I refusing politely, but coming onto me like a hydro-cephalic dog…is not acceptable.
    Living in Canada, such scenes are unfamiliar to most, in the US the religious seem to have dispensation to uninhibitedly approach anybody they feel like, to thrust their religious fervor in to my face – sorry, I do not want to suck the cock of your religion.

    A hearty “fuck off” might do wonders

    • Artor

      I sympathize with Megan, but if I were in her place, there would be a few Xtians with crutch-shaped divots in their shins. Or if they touched me, I’d let them think they hurt me worse and leave feeling like the reckless, unhelpful assholes they are.

    • BelleStarr

      Gotta go with the hearty ‘fuck off’. That keeps a lot of assholes out of your personal space.

    • Anna

      sorry, I do not want to suck the cock of your religion.

      LOL, I bet that’s one way to get Jehovah’s Witnesses off your doorstep!

  • Timmah

    I”ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is not World of Warcraft, you are not a Paladin or a Priest, and you CANNOT CAST HOLY SPELLS.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Because the Jesus servers are always down for maintenance.

      • fsm

        Jesus saves! Everyone else take 10d6 damage.

        • Hat Stealer

          “I didn’t take damage! I believe in Jesus!”
          “You’re bleeding out your-”
          “LALALA CAN’THEARYOU JESUS”

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            “Come back here, I’ll bite your legs off!”

      • Timmah

        The Jesus server would almost certainly be located in Mississippi, and block anybody from creating a Warlock or Death Knight.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          Oh no, it would just block everyone but you* from being a warlock or death knight. If you want to make one, that’s God’s Will.

          *Yes I know this makes no sense.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Tanner B James

      /drink potion:
      Harvey Wallbanger,
      Item Level 15
      Use: Reduces the damage done from Holy spells by 75% over four hours. Sometimes has random side effects. (Three hour cool down)
      Requires Level 21
      Max Stack 20
      Sell Price 3 50
      AH Buyout price: 1g66s (each)
      Added in patch 2.0

  • Sue Blue

    Weird…and an outrageous personal invasion, no better than sexual assault in my opinion. I don’t understand why Megan’s mother would consent to this. If some strange man came up and said, “Your daughter is so hot. Would you mind if I fondle her breasts and squeeze her ass?” would she have said “Sure, go ahead”?
    Of course not. So why is it okay for some strange guy or woman to ask to touch her daughter for supposedly religious reasons? How does she know that these people aren’t just freaks who get some kind of sexual charge out of pretending to “lay on hands”. When my daughter was a kid still living at home, I got upset if strangers stared too long at her in the grocery store. If someone had asked if they could touch her, I’d have been dialing 911 before they could get the last word out.

    • The Captain

      “Weird…and an outrageous personal invasion, no better than sexual assault in my opinion” Ahhh I don’t think you understand just how awful sexual assault really is. Don;t get me wrong, these religious idiots are bad, but I guarantee you most people going through a sexual assault would much rather the experience have been an awkward pray session in a public place. I’ve never seen someone have to go join a public prayed upon support group to continue on with their lives like a sexual assault victim.

      Just saying, keep some perspective here.

    • Whirlwitch

      They didn’t ask to touch her. The question was ““May we pray with your daughter?” Megan says her mother didn’t pay attention to the “with” part, presumably taking it as the more common “pray for”. In any case, you can pray with someone without touching them.

  • Miss_Beara

    She was 15 with a disability. She can talk. She can hear. They could have asked her themselves. I cannot believe that her mother consented and afraid to seem rude.

    I can’t wait to read more of her blog entries!

    • Space Cadet

      I can sympathize with the mother’s consent. I know I’m not always in the mood for confrontation of any type and sometimes it is easier to “go along to get along”. Plus, they didn’t ask if they could molest her daughter (ableist pieces of shit they are for ignoring Megan), they asked to “pray with her”. The outcome may have been different if they had been honest about what they wanted to do.

  • busterggi

    So why after all this praying for her hasn’t god cured her? Its as if no one is listening to those prayers.

  • BelleStarr

    If there is a god, he’s very indifferent. But then, if there is a god that can do all that the bible says he can do, we may be just a speck of dirt under his fingernail.

  • hys2pid

    They aren’t praying for you, they are preying on you.

  • snoofle

    It’s all about making a show of themselves. I remember riding a bus years ago when I was a child, and a blind teenage girl was sitting down, reading a braille book. Some random woman got on the bus, saw this girl, and immediately started loudly preaching, giving out to everyone, saying something about pitying this poor girl, and giving ourselves to Jesus (yadda yadda yadda) and how the lord could heal this poor blind girl.. she looked mortified! I just felt sorry for her having to put up with this arrogant religious idiot and everyone just tried to ignore it. Religion gives people the excuse to be arseholes.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Lay hands on me, and someone is losing an arm…

    • baal

      Legalities aside, I’ve done more than a little martial arts and am somewhat twitchy. Folks who startle me have found themselves on the ground. I’m definitely a touch at your risk person.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        DV survivor with PTSD.

        It takes a few seconds for my brain to kick in after my body reacts.


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