The Daily Hate

Will Wheaton notes the hateful Christian demonstrations at San Diego Comic-Con this year, and wonders what the point is and why they bring their kids:

… many of the sign holders are children between the ages of (I’d guess) 8 and 16. Some of the older kids read the script into their megaphone, while the younger ones try to shove tracts and leaflets into the hands of people who — if they take them at all — immediately throw them on the ground.

These children looked miserable. They looked sad. They looked like they’d rather be anywhere else than shouting at thousands of joyful people who are celebrating things they love. [...]

I feel like these kids are in a cult, and their parents are robbing them of their childhood. I feel like these people show up where large groups of us are being happy, so they can tell us that we should feel bad. I’m not entirely sure what they hope to accomplish — I’ve never once seen a person engage them in a thoughtful way, much less convert to their particular flavour of religion, and they don’t seem to be interested in soliciting money — but whatever it is, it isn’t happening.

I think Doctor Science at Obsidian Wings has it right that this is about reinforcing the tribal boundaries rather than evangelism or growing the church. By going to these events and behaving in this fashion they draw the line ever sharper between the sheep and the goats. By exposing the kids to the indifference and mockery of the general population it will force the child ever deeper into the group.

This also helps us understand why the Church of Latter Day Saints sends every young man out on missionary trips. Consider a young Mitt Romney, sent to convince the French that Jesus made a special stop in America and that therefore they should give up their wine and coffee. The chance of success there is negligible, but it forges ties between the young Mormons as they face an indifferent, or even hostile, audience.

I doubt that there is a plan for this, it’s simply a matter of evolution. Churches that have these sorts of evangelism manage to survive by holding on to their members.

All Cycles Come to an End
Where the Fire Comes From
You Can’t Keep a Bad Man Down
Being Agent Scully
  • Mel Johansson

    Hehe you said “holding on to their members.”
    Yes, I am 12.

  • KevinKat

    Most of those kids are probably thinking “man, I wish I would be allowed to go to the con instead of protesting it.”

  • gadlaw

    Interesting look into how cults work. With this sort of information counter demonstrations/dialogues that talk directly to the children could help. Rather than reinforce the feeling of isolation they are getting thanks to their parents, actually being reasonable and informative puts the lie to the nonsense their abusive parents are spewing.

    • Jeff See

      I would hypothesis that if a person who approaches a group like this, and actively engages the children, they would find their discussion cut short immediately. Their parents don’t want anyone or anything else risking the imposed restriction of faith they’ve locked their children down with. Especially while they are making spiritual warfare.

      • wombat

        Having been in a similar situation to those kids, I would say that it’s wouldn’t necessarily be cut short immediately. You conversation would be very closely monitored, and if the kid starts running out of approved talking points and answers, or starts getting confused or upset, then you’d be swooped in on. Many of these parents want their kids to ‘experience the world’ in this semi-controlled way, so they can practice their talking points and reinforce the pathways they’re supposed to guide discussion down. A child that ‘does it right’ will get high praise, and one who gets tangled in knots will ‘need to learn more’.

        Honestly, the best thing you can do (IMO) is tie them in knots with with reason and information – they’ll have the pressure of having ‘done it wrong’, but they will have heard information that doesn’t fit into their world, and it plants a seed of reason in their mad world.

  • Bruce Wright

    I once sat at a lunch counter and overheard two young evangelical Christian men attempt to convert an old Jewish man they were having lunch with. He was very polite and conversed with them for awhile, but was plain about them not having changed his mind one bit.

    I realized while listening that the old man wasn’t the one on the hook. The two young men were. The act of sending them out on door-to-door conversion attempts was what kept THEM in the fold.


    • Hitch’s Apprentice

      I’m an old Jewish Atheist… If two evangelical Chrustian men sat down next to me and tried to convert me. I’d ask for assistance and attempt to jam their new testaments up their asses!!!

  • Hitch’s Apprentice

    These people can’t get it through their thick skulls… Jesus didn’t die for anyone elses sins but his own, as he preached SEDITION against Rome.. Now forgive yourselves, christians, and get on with your lives…………… and STFU!!!!

  • Mike W.

    It’s a pyramid scheme. 10% tithing is real income for the LDS and the missionaries are recruiters.

    • Hitch’s Apprentice

      Not only is Christianity a pyramid scheme, which is crimminal. The real crime of Christianity is the twisting of MINDS for 2,000 years!!!! It’s more like a cruel, debilitating disease…………

  • kessy_athena

    Sorry if this is off topic, but I thought you guys would be interested and the forum seems to be totally defunct…

    Apparently East Memorial Christian Academy in Alabama (where else?) has decided that making sure people go to the right church is more important then a winning football team. (!) They recently fired Scott Phillips, the coach that led their football team to the state championship, because he didn’t attend the school’s affiliated church.

  • Sauls Thomas

    what’s the harm of little lying blaspheming IDI*TS!

    how we won the James Randi Million Dollar Paranormal Prize


  • Ted Thompson

    Well this one’s easy. Buy a stack of comic books and hand them out to the kids. :D

    • stop2wonder

      That’s a brilliant idea. Offer to trade each kid his tract for a comic book.