The Trouble with Religious Bullies

Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character.  In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned.   My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.
Lilandra is a username from a little known comic book character. In real life, I named my children after comic book characters, so my geek credentials cannot be questioned. My husband is a large biker, cyber-viking ape, that opines about religion, and knows his place in a cladogram. Read the comment policy before posting.

Sometimes it must be hard for religious bullies to punch down as hard as they would like to on despised minorities like nonbelievers and LGBT especially when they’re asked to stop.  It seems no matter how politely you phrase it; the mere act of the mildest resistance to their authority is met with denials, outright fabrications, back peddling, character assassination, and even counter-accusations rather than a decent apology and an attempt to make amends.

I won’t go into the shenanigans Aron and I have been faced with pleading with the Rowlett City to stop using public meetings to promote Jesus in this post. That is a separate post related to the same sort of trouble with Christian privilege as this one. They don’t get that their religion doesn’t give them special authority, and sacred immunity to criticism. It is because of these conflicts with the religious majority that I am posting in solidarity with Amanda Brown and her father Roger Gorley.

Not all domestic partnerships are respected equally.
Not all domestic partnerships are respected equally.

She writes here about her father’s run in with hospital authorities and his partner’s family for simply wanting to hold his gay partner’s hand. The family had no authority to ask him to leave as he has power of attorney. Gorley should have the same rights as heterosexual domestic partner to care for an ailing spouse. The reality of the situation is that that only works when people respect those rights. He was eventually handcuffed and dragged out of the hospital by the police.

You may have already heard of Amanda Brown from her work on We Are Atheism. A project that encourages nonbelievers to come out. She also helps organize Reason Fest every year in Lawrence Kansas.  Reason Fest is going on this weekend if you can make it. I’d like to say a brief thank you to Camp Quest for providing children’s activities. It helps my family make this trip more doable. Kudos to the people that sponsor Camp Quest.

Many of us are already aware of this story through social media or blogs. In this digital age, the hospital’s inappropriate actions in interfering in a patient’s legal wishes brought them unwanted attention. Did they own up for their discriminatory actions and apologize?  Heck No.

Instead they blamed the victim whilst claiming their own fairness, which is not demonstrated by their actions.

Research Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in Kansas City to offer domestic partner benefits, which have been in place since 2005, and we have had a policy specifically acknowledging domestic partners’ visitation rights in place for years.

This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care.  The hospital’s response followed the same policies that would apply to any individual engaged in this behavior in a patient care setting and was not in any way related to the patient’s or the visitor’s sexual orientation or marital status. This visitor created a barrier for us to care for the patient. Attempts were made to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to involve security and the Kansas City MO Police Department.”


Amanda has already made a good defense of her father on her blog detailing what has been going on. I can’t imagine my reaction after caring for Aron for years being forced to leave his side against his wishes. It wouldn’t happen, because we are a heterosexual married couple with a marriage that is recognized by the state. Despite the assurances, legal partnerships do not get the same respect as a legal marriage.

I’ll be seeing Amanda this weekend, and will podcast from Reason Fest with Youtube Atheist Shayrah Akers formerly of Dogma Debate.  We are hoping to connect with her to help her spread the word of this injustice. She is raising money to help with her father’s legal fees. Hopefully, she can find some time while she is helping Reason Fest run smoothly. We Are Atheism is also promoting Atheists Giving Aid‘s efforts to do something to help the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing. At this time they are 4 dollars shy of 12,000 dollars.

This will be our first podcast of “The Nones“. We are shooting for Sundays at 12:00 PM. Our goal is to talk about issues that concern the 25 percent of us that are nonreligious. Right now, the nonreligious are practically ignored despite our numbers in this country. We are also hoping the show coming from the point of view of women will add more diversity to our community’s discourse.



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  • smrnda

    I don’t believe anything these people write alleging that they simply *had to* call the cops. It’s a cover-their-ass move meant to cast someone whose rights they were infringing on as the villain. I’m hoping enough people see through this and give them as much bad press as possible.

    All said, I agree that the problem with legal rights is that people who don’t like the fact that you have them will find ways to make your life difficult. They can always behave in an arbitrary and capricious fashion and then invent a justification later. It’s kind of employers can usually find a pretense to get rid of a worker, and only if you look at patterns of complaint and discrimination can you build a case, but this is after lots of people have already been screwed over.

  • As I understand it, there were three relatives arguing over the patient’s care. So the hospital ordered the one the patient was asking for, the one with power of attorney, to leave. Not the brothers, who were bugging the patient.

    There’s no point having a policy on domestic partner benefits if you’re going to ignore it. Or perhaps the point is to say, “We have a policy.”

  • Aratina Cage

    Thank you for writing about this terrible act of bigotry and for pointing us to Amanda Brown’s wonderful work in the atheist community.

  • L.Long

    I would say I hope he sues their asses off!!!

    but that is a waste of time based on his location.

    Try and get an impartial judge and jury in the middle of gawd’s country.

  • Pingback: Linking arms with Amanda Brown and Roger Gorley » Butterflies and Wheels()

  • Cornell

    I would think that ALL Bullies are troublesome, not just religious bullies…

    Bullying in general needs to be taken care IMO

  • The post doesn’t say you should just take care of religious bullies and ignore other bullying.

  • Shiresh

    Well I’m glad you’ve assumed that they’re lying about his disruptive behavior. Empirical rationality can suck it. Believe whatever suits our beliefs about what “probably” happened!

  • It is very possible they are lying, but if you read the post I didn’t say that. What I did say is that they blamed the victim. I don’t know if you are married or have a long term partner. If a family member that had not been a part of your partner’s life told you; you had to leave would that not upset you? After taking care of your partner for years, and against your partner’s legally specified wishes. It wouldn’t happen to a heterosexual married couple.

  • rnilsson

    Well Shiresh I must say I’m much impressed by your clairvoyance. Were you there?

    Oh wait, maybe you were and are one of those accused of this outrageous assault on Roger’s legal rights? See, it’s actually easier than I thought! So where do I sign up as tele-preacher?

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