Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sweet Old Lady Morphs Into Hateful Christian Fundamentalist.

There I was, approaching the entrance of Wal-Mart earlier this afternoon and acquiring a shopping basket. An older woman of diminutive stature entered just before I did. She retrieved a sanitary wipe to cleanse her basket's handlebar, then passed me a wipe out of courtesy. It was quite nice of her, I thought; I was going to get a wipe anyway.

She complimented me on the color of my red hair, to which I gracefully responded and explained that it's gotten darker the older I've gotten. Explaining further, my hair used to be a brighter shade of red than my beard is now. Carefully ruffling my beard, I pointed out that my chin hair is starting to turn white. I'm getting older!

Turning to Crystal, the granny asked if she was my girlfriend. I confirmed that she was my spouse, to which the older lady complimented her elegant beauty. I tend to agree; Crystal is gorgeous.

And then... our friendly rendezvous all fell apart.

Her next question was "Do you two have a church at home?"

I felt a lump of disappointment swell in my throat. In an effort to side-skirt the question and politely escape from her crafty claws of entrapment, I stated that there was indeed a church near our home. In this, I did not lie; there are multiple churches within a mile of my house. What followed was a frightening, uncomfortable and altogether unpleasant series of questions and diatribes.
  • Crystal and I must uplift each other to better serve the lord.
  • We must have children.
  • Our future children must have the message of Jesus Christ DRILLED (she said this very emphatically) into their minds, no questions asked. They MUST go to church and they MUST believe, or else.
  • We must not have friends whom aren't Christian, otherwise they will drag us to hell.
  • Non-believers are definitely not to be tolerated and should not be allowed to live. They're a one way ticket to hell.
  • Judgment day is coming, sooner than we think.
  • The time for Christians to stand together and defend God from all sinners and non-believers is coming, too.
  • We must spread the word of Christ wherever and whenever possible.
I could go on and on, but you get the picture. She transformed from a sweet, innocent old woman into this hateful, fire-and-brimstone witness.

Now you probably know me... I'm an atheist. Typically, I'd have countered this sort of venomous hatred and put her in her place. Considering how old and frail she was, I simply couldn't do it. Honestly, I was worried that anything I'd say in response would literally give her a heart attack or stroke. Imagine how terrified of me she might have been if the nice guy with red hair turned out to be a blasphemous non-believer! The sudden shock could have sent her into cardiac arrest!

So, I bit my tongue, swallowed my pride and nodded in agreement. Slowly inching my basket farther and farther away, I finally saw an opening in her spiel and escaped with a "Have a nice day!" Boy, if she only knew the truth about who she was talking to.

I find it strange how so many people accept this sort of activity as acceptable. Let's swap the roles in this encounter. Pretend I was the one who used a friendly opportunity with a stranger to spread the 'word' of atheism. I'd be held before a judge for disturbing the peace, chastised by the local news and practically run out of town. Thankfully, I can discuss such matters on the world wide web without fear of persecution.

Who really exists behind the mask?

Consider all of the unknown people whom we walk by every day. While out shopping, eating lunch, visiting the library, at school, at work, at the dentist -- how many of those people are Christian? How many are Jewish, Hindu or Muslim? How many are agnostics or atheists? There's a disturbing facade of normalcy that provides refuge to monsters and marauders of free thought from all walks of life. Yet, their particular brand of reality makes it all okay.

I tell you what... I'll never look at another sweet old lady again without wondering if she's a vile fundamentalist whom would rather see me dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment