Again. Another family fractured by religion, again. My heart sank as I listened to the story of Kaitlyn, a 19-year old put out by her Mormon parents for being- an atheist?
I have children. I have a life-long commitment that I made the moment each of them was born. That is a responsibility I take very seriously. Sure, sometimes kids can be challenging, from toddlers to teens. However, from spilled milk to missed curfews, there’s simply not enough to get me to turn my back on them.
Her parents told her “You have 11 days to move out”, then continued “I’m tired of the disrespect”.
Disrespect. You refuse to comply with their demand to go to the church and its viewed as disrespectful. As a former Christian, I actually understand that. For parents, particularly believers steeped in tradition, its difficult to divorce the belief from the believer. Many cultures have adopted this as a survival method to sort out the outsiders, but… this is your child.
How can a parent put their love or FEAR of their religion, above their child’s safety? And make no mistake, there’s no love in doing this. Its fear and selfishness.
You want a better afterlife based on what you believe your deity demands, what a book tells you, and what your ministers have convinced you is true. However, by doing this her parents are bypassing their biological imperative to protect, all in the name of a God. If there were a hell and you told me I had to enter it to save my children – light me up. How many parents (atheist or not) wouldn’t step in front of a car to save their own? We are selfish by nature. That’s how we’ve survived. Saving the life of your progeny is an instance where we override our natural biological imperatives for self-preservation for the sake of another. Although not unique to our species, that level of selfless love is what theists claim as the tennets of their religions.
Miss me with the “its tough love” noise. If you’re forcing your child to attend church “because I said so” its bullying.
If you’re putting them on the street because they will not comply with your demands for submission, if you’re placing conditions on how you will love or support them, while accusing them of not respecting your specific beliefs, because they won’t adopt them, its manipulation.
What happened to unconditional love?
And yet I have a hard time solely condemning the parents, because its a learned behavior. “Love me the way I want you to love me, or you’re going to hell”. They’re modeling the behavior of their celestial father. Its bad parenting and you don’t get to excuse bad parenting “because god”. My atheism certainly doesn’t give me that out. Its “my” responsibility.
What they’ve shown their daughter isn’t strength in the face of a staunchly defiant child, nor is it strength in their religious convictions!
What they’ve shown her is that love has a price.
And that ain’t love.
Kaitlyn needs help. So lets see if we can show her (and her parents) what love looks like.
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