Don't Pray For Me

If I had a nickel for every time a Christian asked me, rather pointedly, “What do your parents think of what you do?” Sometimes it’s even a sarcastic, “I bet your parents are so proud of you!”

Perhaps this email exchange will answer the question of how my parents feel about my chosen lot in life. My father participates in the forum of our local newspaper back in Smalltownville, Arkansas. One of the people he frequently locks horns with sent him the following email.

John,

FYI (I’m afraid I’ll forget to tell you later on!), “An Evening of Shakespeare” will be April 20-21, 2012 at Harding. Was there this weekend for their fabulous Homecoming Musical, “Annie”. All through the years their drama and music departments have presented Broadway quality productions and they didn’t disappoint this time either! One of my college classmates has been the Dept. Head for Drama for decades.

I’m praying that you’ll be safe tonight. Our Father cares about you, whether you ignore or spurn Him or not. I care too.

Here is my father’s response:

Glad to hear the show was good and will keep Shakespeare in mind.

Please do not pray for me. I have no interest in help from a god that is too busy to help the the millions of starving, poor, and suffering people in much worse shape than I. Also, there is no “our father” and I’ll not pretend that there is. If you think you have an invisible father, work out….but there is no invisible “our” father. The only father I have died several years ago.

I suspect that was clear enough. If he had told her he would rub his lucky rabbit’s foot for her, she would have been insulted. She knows damned good and well he’s an atheist, but would be shocked that he would be equally insulted.

I hope this adequately spells out how my parents feel about my activism and vocation. My parents are damn proud of me and I’m damn proud of myself. There is no shame in rooting out bullshit and challenging it without remorse, nor should there be. I regret tearing down religion as much as I regret volunteering at a soup kitchen, i.e. zero. I enjoy making the world a better place.

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