Denied a birth certificate and SSN# by her fundamentalist parents

(I got in this letter last night, and thought I’d share it here.)

Hey John, I hope your novel is going well. I saw your latest post about it and I sympathize with the feeling of trying to juggle several big activities.

I thought you might find this case interesting. Another story of patriarchal fundamentalism gone wrong, and this time it’s happening to one of my close friends, Alecia. She left home at 18 to escape the oppressive and manipulative environment. But she has no ID and no way to prove her citizenship. Her parents, who never got her a birth certificate, SSN, or anything, are refusing to help unless she agrees to their unreasonable terms (basically, they’re using her civil rights as leverage in an attempt to control her). They’re whining about how she betrayed them by moving out.

She made the video below to ask for help with figuring out what to do, because she’s tried a lot of ways to get documentation and it isn’t working. I figure the more publicity she can get, the sooner and easier she can get the legal help she needs.

Alecia’s mother, Lisa, writes a blog she calls The Pennington Point, featuring “lots of tips on Parenthood, Mothering, Home and Faith.” She titled the post she wrote about Alecia running away from home The Hardest Post I Ever Wrote.* In it she (of course) cast herself as the victim:

On Wednesday, September 24th my life was changed forever. My 18 year old daughter left home. She gave us no warning, no signs that it was coming. She didn’t try to talk to us about it or work with us. She, with the help of my parents, just left. And with her she took pieces of my heart that had been torn to shreds. I cried harder that day than I ever knew was possible. So hard that it scared my little boys and I had to go in my closet and put a pillow over my face to muffle the sobs. … Yesterday she came and got all of her things. That tore out more of my heart and if I am being completely honest, threw me into a tailspin that it feels like I will never recover from. I can’t stop crying and I can’t turn off the thoughts of pain and desperation.

If you’re unfamiliar with the terrain, welcome to the toxically insane world of Christian fundamentalism. It’s the gift that just keeps on ruining lives.

* About an hour after I published this, Alecia’s mother deleted this post from her blog. UPDATE: Reader/commenter Emily Barney points us to the still-viewable archived post.

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