Apparently I'm in mortal peril

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.
Me: …

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.



  1. says

    “I’m not running around Iraq in a bikini…”Well, now that that image is in my head, I will be having a pleasant weekend. Thank you.You are beautiful and amazing. That is all.

  2. says

    So “No Doubt’s Just a Girl” is how you feel, eh?Well, let me tell you about the story of Nicole Smalkowski. Actually, I don’t have to tell the story. You can google and find out.Being a girl is not a good excuse.

  3. says

    Oops. I forgot something on my previous comment. Add the song “Hoist The Colors” to the end.The song is used in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.”If you understand why I wanted to do that,nod. If you don’t understand, let me know. ;-)

  4. says

    Heh. My little sister has the same problem too. Our father tends to be a bit overprotective of her, worrying a lot, especially since she’s out in the middle of nowhere in West Texas.I’d worry too, but the woman has been able to break me over her knee since I was in high school. She’s built like a football player (hates it, though) and can wrestle thousand-pound horses and punch steers hard enough to make them think twice about standing in her way. If she gets angry enough, she could probably snap some guy in two.And yet our dad still worries over her. It’s just… yeah.

  5. Don says

    I think you’ll be fine. But your post made me think of this episode of Top Gear where they go out of their way to provoke the natives in Alabama.

  6. mcbender says

    I doubt there’s any danger. However, good luck trying to convince a parent of that when he or she thinks otherwise… irrational parental paranoia seems more difficult to dispel than religion sometimes.I do have to say that I don’t think it’s entirely a gender thing, though. My parents (who are non-theistic but don’t identify as atheists, to my dismay) are always trying to get me to be less outspoken about my atheism/antitheism because they’re afraid I’ll anger the wrong people; I’m male and have trained extensively in self-defence, for the record.Of course, a lot of that could be motivated by belief in belief as well.

  7. Brandon says

    Easy on the anti-Alabama comments. There are a few of us rationally-minded folk down here ‘mongst the ignorant. I enjoy the comments. It’s nice to know that there are others who think like me.Sorry for the 10 month late response :)

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