Sometimes my dad is a giant downer.
Tonight I came home for the weekend for his birthday, and I was excitedly telling my parents about the SSA conference in Columbus, OH and the trip to the Creation Museum. He didn’t know what it was, so I briefly explained it to him and laughed. He turned very serious and looked at my sternly.
Him: I don’t know if that’s a good idea. You can get yourself killed. Think of all the crazies there.
Me: …Dad, that’s ridiculous.
Him: You’re my daughter, I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.
Me: …Dad, it’s a family museum where people take their small children to indoctrinate them, not the ghetto. And I’m going to be in a huge group of more than fifty people. And I know people who’ve gone alone or just with another friend and they were fine.
Him: Well that’s worse that you’re in a group. Who knows what they’ll do when they find out you’re coming. They’ll go after you.
Me: I’ve seen signs where they say “Welcome *Insert Atheist Group Name Here*.” They don’t care. They just want money and to convert people.
Him: There are still crazy people there and it’s a bad idea. When I was in the south in the 60s I didn’t go around sticking up for black people because there was always a guy with a shotgun outside waiting to blow your brains out.
Ugh. I know I’m my dad’s little baby girl, but I’m getting sick of this. I get this sort of “don’t go and get yourself killed” lecture any time I ever bring up club stuff. My dad’s basically an atheist, so it’s not that he disagrees with our message – he just thinks I’m going to get murdered for saying I’m an atheist…which I find a little bit ridiculous. I mean, yes, we have discrimination, and I’m sure some people have suffered physical harm…but what are the odds? I’m not living in rural Alabama and waving a giant sign that says “There Is No God.” I’m not running around Iraq in a bikini going “ra ra atheists rule!” I live on a freaking college campus.
And you know what, so what? What if there was some minutely slim chance that someone’s going to beat me up, rape me, kill me? Is it better to sit down and shut up about something that’s extremely important to you because of the fear of being harmed? If anything that shows that people need to stand up and shout their atheism from the rooftops. If it weren’t for the brave people who did stand up for the rights of blacks, and did take the risk of getting hurt, and did actually get hurt, where would we be today? Where would gay rights be if people didn’t speak out and march and take the chance of being harmed by crazy bigots?
I don’t want to be a martyr. I don’t want physical harm or even the fear of being harmed. I don’t go out of my way to ruffle feathers, nor am I ever looking for a fight. If the atheist movement is going to need some big violent act against them in order to get national attention, I really hope it’s not me. But if I happen to be part of that generation that needs to speak up in order for future atheists to not be paranoid when wearing a scarlet A or a FSM necklace, then so be it.
The most annoying part? If I had a penis I probably wouldn’t be even getting this talk. And while I don’t want to go all EmoJournal on you, No Doubt’s Just a Girl pretty much sums up how I feel.