Christians on Twitter Call for Reform in How the Church Responds to Depression and Mental Illness

Growing up in evangelical Christianity, mental health problems (and even strong emotions) were often dismissed as “needing Jesus” instead of legitimate medical issues. Post-partum depression was written off as lack of faith in God’s calling to motherhood. Bipolar disorder was written off as a lack of self-control. OCD was dismissed as if it was normal. Anxiety was lack of faith and discipline in prayer. Suicide was a sin driven by selfishness. Grief was indulgent. Anger was sin.

As a result, those needing actual help from friends, therapists, mentors, family members, and other potential sources of support were isolated by the stigma and shame of their struggles.



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P.Z. Myers is (Surprise!) Unmoved By Suicide of “Wealthy White” Robin Williams

I’m not exactly Mr. Sunshine, so you might think the curmudgeonly grousing of atheist blogger P.Z. Myers would resonate with me.

It rarely does, and yesterday I was reminded why. In writing about the suicide of comedian Robin WilliamsMyers went from prickly to prickish in three seconds flat. Under the telling headline Robin Williams Brings Joy to the Hearts of Journalists and Politicians Once Again, Myers sneered that

[Williams'] sacrifice has been a great boon to the the news cycle and the electoral machinery — thank God that we have a tragedy involving a wealthy white man to drag us away from the depressing news about brown people.

Myers was referring to the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, this past weekend.

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RIP, Robin Williams

Well, shit. Comedian, actor, and all-around lovable personality Robin Williams is dead. Paul Fidalgo reminds us that no amount of success can overcome depression regardless of what we think, and JT Eberhard offers an additional take on the mental health aspect of his passing.



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Baptist Church Cancels Man’s Funeral After Finding Out He’s Gay

When his husband Julion Evans died at age 42 of a disease called amyloidosis, Kendall Capers (below) did what any respectful partner would do. Honoring his husband’s family traditions, he planned for a funeral service at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida, the congregation Julion’s family belongs to.

But the night before the funeral, Julion’s mother received a phone call from the church. The funeral was abruptly canceled after church officials saw Julion’s obituary listing Kendall as his “surviving husband.” The church refused to hold a service for a married gay man, calling it “blasphemous.”

And they told Kendall and Julion’s family the night before.

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Ask Richard: Atheist with Terminal Cancer Faces Several Decisions

Dear Richard,

Two days ago, I was diagnosed with brain cancer for the 3rd time in 14 years. To make a long story short, my cancer has evolved from a grade II Astrocytoma, to the most aggressive form, grade IV Glioblastoma Multiforme. Glioblastoma is incurable and I probably won’t survive past 15 months.

My family is Lutheran and very conservative. Both of my parents disapprove of gay people, atheists, and non-Christians, so telling them I’m atheist on top of my recent diagnosis, and eldest sister’s recent death will absolutely crush them. Now that the rest of my family has been told of my fate, the ‘I will pray for you’ s and the constant church visits are non-stop. My parents are trying to push herbal treatments on me now and they are trying to get me into the Burzynski Clinic, which is a gigantic scam towards cancer patients. They are also trying to plan a trip to someplace like Hawaii, but I don’t exactly want that. My also atheist brother is trying to help me with everything, but he is scared that he will probably tip off my parents about us.

I need help with a lot of things:

. Should I or should I not tell them about my atheism?
. Should I start college this fall?
. How should I ask for a non-church, non-Lutheran funeral?
. Should I tell the rest of my family?
. Should I accept treatment (survival without treatment is 3-4 months)
. How am I supposed to die with grace?

The last one is most important to me. I don’t want to die with medicines constantly being shoved into my mouth and trips all around the world. I just want to spend time with my family like I normally would: Sitting together around a dinner table, making each other laugh and making google eyes at my brother while we’re supposed to be at church.

Thank you for everything,
The Cancer Chick

Dear Cancer Chick,

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