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‘My daughter’s turned atheist – her dad wants to hand her over to the FBI!’

'Agony aunt' Margo

'Agony aunt' Margo Howard

HERE is a letter written recently to “agony aunt” Margo Howard, daughter of Ann Landers.

Dear Margo:

Our daughter started college a year ago, and we’ve noticed during her visits home that she’s not the sweet, innocent girl we sent away for higher learning. We raised her with strong Christian beliefs, but lately she’s saying that she’s joined an atheist club on campus and is questioning everything we taught her. Now my husband refuses to let her in the house and is threatening to turn her in to the FBI. I’ve tried to cure our daughter and reconcile with her, but nothing seems to work. I’ve prayed over her at night while she sleeps, enlisted friends in a phone prayer tree and even spoken to my priest about the possibility of an exorcism. I’m at my wits’ end. How can I recover my daughter and keep her from hell? — God-fearing.

Margo replied:

While I am sympathetic to anyone’s devotion to their religion, you need to realize that your daughter is a sentient being with the right to reject your religious views if she so chooses. Your husband is pathetically misguided if he thinks he can call the FBI to report the “crime” of your daughter joining an atheists club. Ditto for the exorcism. This young woman is not possessed, demonic or doing weird things; she is merely thinking and questioning the religion she grew up with. I would encourage you to understand that all people, your daughter included, have the right to think for themselves, particularly about something as meaningful as religion. As for hell, well, she appears willing to take her chances.

Commments P Z Myers, over at Pharyngula:

There’s a regular stampede of young people doing exactly what “God-fearing” describes – isn’t it wonderful? This is exactly what happens when you send your kids off to college: if it works, they start thinking for themselves, develop surprising new opinions, and aren’t afraid to share them with other people. Hooray for college students, some of my favorite people!

As for these poor parents, they shipped their daughter off to college with the wrong idea. They thought college would just confirm them in their same old traditional beliefs. We really ought to send little information packets to the parents of our students, carefully explaining that there will be little shocks like this, because their kids will come back as smart, independent human beings.

18 responses to “‘My daughter’s turned atheist – her dad wants to hand her over to the FBI!’”

  1. barriejohn says:

    The woman in Pharyngula`s video is the frightening Becky Fisher of "Jesus Camp" fame. I would urge all readers of this blog to acquaint themselves with this appalling woman on YouTube, though I do apologize in advance for the sleepless nights you may experience! Another lump of excrement featured on the Jesus Camp documentary was Ted Haggard – hahahahaha!!! I`m sure I don`t need to expand on HIS activities (they`re now referring to him as Ted Faggard), but just check out his personal website ( http://tedhaggard.com/ ) if you haven`t seen it before – it is quite unbelievable!!

  2. Matt Osborne says:

    Which is why the Quiverfull movement tells young Christian women to skip college and go straight to makin’ babies for Jesus until their wombs fall out. Because the uterus is God’s own birth cannon and ignorance is its ammunition. Huzzah!

  3. Har Davids says:

    I guess the girl is lucky her parents didn't have her burned at the stake, as they used to do in the good old days. This once more shows that morons should refrain from reproducing, so much beter for the gene-pool.

  4. barriejohn says:

    Thanks for your post Matt! Living in The United Kingdom, where the majority of folk are of reasonably sound mind, if not exactly bright, I had never actually heard of the "Quiverfull" organization; so, intrigued by your comment, I decided to look them up. What a revelation! I really thought, until I saw the Wikipedia reference, that this was another spoof site a la "Landover Baptists", but it`s not, is it? What on earth do these people have in their heads for brain cells? I used to be an evangelical Christian myself, but never in my life have I come across anything as bizarre as this. Can you just imagine some goon actually boasting about the number of children he has fathered – in the twenty-first century – as if that`s some sign of the gods` approval? It`s neanderthal! There is even a book – "The Full Quiver" – which evidently contains "lots of humor". Well, it would need to, wouldn`t it? And as for family planning being an "anti-child philosophy" – I am, for once, lost for words!!

  5. Stonyground says:

    I know that this blog quite obviously deliberately seeks out silly stories about the godly for our entertainment and so by its very nature it is going to be somewhat biased, but even so I think that these stories absolutely justify the smug air of intellectual superiority that we are sometimes accused of by our detractors. I once saw on TV a distraught Christian guy literally in tears saying that he had been up all night crying and praying, Why? because his kids had been reading Harry Potter Books.

    "I've prayed over her at night while she sleeps, enlisted friends in a phone prayer tree and even spoken to my priest about the possibility of an exorcism."

    This is the twentyfirst century you imbecile not the middle effing ages, Hells Phucking Bells!

  6. ccubeman says:

    This story was posted at Fark last week. A commenter on Fark astutely pointed out the writer was probably trolling. The mixture of evangelical fundamentalism(prayer lists) with catholic specifics(priest/exorcism) seems to suggest a dogmatic mish-mash. Personally, i'm not sure either way, but a troll posting seems plausible.

  7. barriejohn says:

    The letter doesn`t sound genuine to me either, ccubeman – the reference to the FBI is just too ridiculous even for fundamentalists; but it`s still funny!!

  8. barriejohn says:

    I think it`s a spoof Stonyground, but it`s only parodying what really goes on. I have a Christian friend, and she has a rather more extreme friend who is constantly phoning her and telling her how evil the Harry Potter books are: how it is all the work of the Devil; and how they need to really pray that our society will be delivered from this demonic influence!

  9. Broga says:

    Had me laughing. Can't be serious. Then I read about Tony Blair, still lecturing the planet despite his religiously deranged mind, and I think maybe it is for real. Why doe these crazy christians always have to be so cruel? If Brown or Cameron want to be taken seriously they are going to have to get Blair, a liar and deceiver and cause of so many lives lost, before a court. One fell swoop and their ratings go through the roof.

  10. valdemar says:

    Perhaps the whole thing was a put-up job by the agony Aunt so she could say something decent and rational, then get an invite to the White House to meet those nice Obamas?

  11. bob says:

    Maybe her dad was hoping the FBI would waterboard her until she accepted Jesus as her personal savior.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Well said Broga – and when will Bush be brought to justice as well? You`re not going to believe this, but over at http://www.mediawatchwatch.org.uk/ this very morning there is a report that atheist and secular societies at British universities are facing increasing threats of violence from Muslim and Christian groups, and have, on occasions, had to have police protection at their meetings! What hope for the future if this is how the "intelligentsia" are behaving? No wonder it`s so easy to parody them!!

  13. Stonyground says:

    Oh dear, so it looks as though I'm the idiot, I've fallen for it twice now and I'm obviously not learning from my mistakes. To be honest I have read articles that have been lifted from Landover Baptists and got part way through before the penny dropped, but at least it did drop eventually. The problem is that so many of these people really are that loopy. A colleague at work had some relations in the US and their church operated a "Prayer Bank" you prayed on a regular basis to make prayer deposits and then if you needed to pray about something really important you could make a withdrawal and bombard God with several years worth of prayers all in one go. These people were the real deal, he showed me some of their letters and they were totally in the twilight zone.

  14. barriejohn says:

    "By all means save some" (I Cor. 9:22) – see, they`ve even got that covered!!

  15. barriejohn says:

    There is a "Prayer Bank" site on the net which sounds very similsr to what you are outlining here. I thought that prayer was supposed to be like talking to God, which would seem to make some sense if He was really there to listen, but this idea of storing up prayer seems totally bizarre and somewhat unchristian to me! However, one of these weird sects (and I can`t remember which just now, but it could even be Scientology) have boxes around which their members gather reciting prayers, and these can then be transported to world troublespots, or disaster areas, and the power of the prayers can supposedly be released where actually needed!! The whole idea is so nonsensical, even if you did believe in the "power of prayer", that you wonder how these people manage to function properly in their everyday lives!.

  16. barriejohn says:

    There is a "Prayer Bank" site on the net which sounds very similar to what you are outlining here. I thought that prayer was supposed to be like talking to God, which would seem to make some sense if He was really there to listen, but this idea of storing up prayer seems totally bizarre and somewhat unchristian to me! However, one of these weird sects (and I can`t remember which just now, but it could even be the Scientologists) have boxes around which their members gather reciting prayers, and these can then be transported to world troublespots, or disaster areas, and the power of the prayers can supposedly be released where actually needed!! The whole idea is so nonsensical, even if you did believe in the "power of prayer", that you wonder how these people manage to function properly in their everyday lives!

  17. dave says:

    Ann Landers, Dear Abby, and their ilk have a long history of "making up" letters from their readers out of whole cloth. It's a lot easier than dealing with reality and these hacks aren't really interested in reality, just interested in pushing their own agendas.

    Crazy Christians disowning their atheist children? Sure, it happens. But this "letter" doesn't pass the laugh test. How is this mother "praying over" her daughter while she sleeps, if her husband is not letting her daughter into the house? Major contradiction, there.

    Anyone batty enough to try exorcism (what is there to exorcise? she's an atheist, not demon possessed!) or the FBI would have been batty enough to send their daughter to a Christian institution in the first place to keep her away from those "evil atheists".