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Dear Evangelicals, I’m Not Interested in Your God Talk or Jesus Blessing

force beliefs

Snark ahead! You’ve been warned!

Several years ago, I made one of my countless pilgrimages to my primary care doctor’s office. We discussed how the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns are doing and we talked about how difficult it is to sit on the sidelines as our adult children go through life’s difficulties. It was also time for prescription refills, one sent to Meijer, three to Caremark, and three written controlled substance scripts. I also got a flu and pneumonia shot.

After my visit was over, we exited the examination room and headed for the clinic waiting area. As we walked through the door we heard the loud voice of an Evangelical Christian. An obese man, wearing a shirt with a gaudy Halloween pumpkin on it, was going from person to person, often touching them, blessing them in the name of Jesus. JESUS LOVES YOU, he told several people, and he told the receptionist, KEEP DOING A WONDERFUL WORK FOR GOD!!

Really? I thought to myself. While I’m sure this man was well-intentioned, thinking he was just paying everyone a big compliment, his behavior and words were quite offensive. I wanted to say to him, shut the fuck up . . . I’m not interested in your Jesus blessing. But, I didn’t. You see, I’m polite and don’t engage people in unwanted discussions about religion or politics. I respect people enough to keep my opinions to myself. If I’m asked a question or someone wants to engage me in a discussion, I will gladly do so, but I think it is rude to blather on about religion or politics uninvited.

jesus fart
Cartoon by Robb Mirsky

Unfortunately, many Evangelicals think they have the right to go into a room and rip the loudest, foulest fart and everyone is supposed to inhale deeply and love it. They are oblivious, it seems, to the fact that most people do not want to listen to their God-talk, nor do they want a Jesus blessing, a prayer, or any of the other things Evangelicals love to force on others. Why do Evangelicals think this kind of behavior is appropriate? Entitlement? Calling from God? Jesus Gas® that must be expelled lest the Evangelical implode?

The receptionist smiled, but as the man turned to walk away, she rolled his eyes and frowned. She’s probably a Christian, but even she was embarrassed by Mr. Evangelical’s God talk and Jesus’ blessing. Fortunately, he didn’t address me directly, nor did he touch me. If he had, since I was having a don’t touch me pain day, he likely would have not liked my response. Count me as one person who is tired of Evangelicals who think they have a God-given right to invade the private space of others. When I am at the doctor’s office, I intensely feel my mortality. Every checkup is a reminder that things are not well for me and that death is closer than it was the last time I was at the doctor’s office. I don’t need a  loudmouth Jesus freak saying anything to me. Save it for the church house or for those who are part of the Evangelical tribe.

Imagine for a moment that a Satanist, a Muslim, or an Atheist was loudly and indiscriminately broadcasting their beliefs. Imagine the Satanist going up to an Evangelical, laying their hand on them, and saying, BLESSINGS IN THE NAME OF BEELZEBUB! Imagine the Muslim going up to the receptionist and saying, KEEP DOING A WONDERFUL WORK FOR ALLAH!! Imagine the Atheist going from person to person in the waiting room and, with a loud voice, telling them THERE IS NO GOD!  We all know how Evangelicals would react, right? Why can’t they see themselves in the same light and realize that such behavior is patently rude and offensive?

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    And I detest being someone’s “friendship evanglism” project. I am not a prodigal, I am a deconvert NOT looking to reconvert. Take me as I am or don’t get into my business at all.

    I know what it’s like Bruce. I hope your health gets a lot better. Here’s to scientific cures for your pain.

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    Well this atheist may have spoken up and played the roll of a believer and rebuked the man in the name of Jesus and pointed out it was probably guys like him that caused Jesus to get in a boat and tell the disciples with him to row to the other side.

    Today, I’m not sure I could stand for it. Like you, I don’t speak about being an atheist without being asked but in this situation from my vantage point today I could see me standing up and telling the man to keep his hands and his prayers to himself and go find a closet.

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    I’m guessing this guy wasn’t fighting his socially ingrained personal spatial limit. I’m guessing he was some sort of social retard, but if he wasn’t then I wonder if he got that creepy nervous smile that only comes when a person is resiting social norms for the holy spirit.

    I’ve only been scared once by an evangelical person. I was doing astronomy at a local deserted elementary school’s playground (so I’m alone and it is dark). A noisy black muscle car came into the parking lot of the school blasting Christian heavy metal and obviously changed its trajectory off the near by road because the driver spotted me. Through the fence the driver dropped some fundy tracts near me explaining he wanted to give these to me. I looked up astonished and probably muttered out an “OK”. And he left the same way he came in with car revving and Christian rock blaring. That’s no way to get converts, let me tell you.

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    Thank you times seven for teaching me the “Games Evangelicals Play”. I’ve been engaged with a died in the wool christian who is haunting another site and he is… disappointing really. I thought maybe this person would really listen only they do not.

    The commentator is using the Bait and Switch, God is the Only Rule That Counts, and my favorite – the False Inquiry as to How You Were So Hurt and We Aren’t Like Those Others Who Hurt You. Blech.

    While the battle is intoxicating, the results are flat. Ultimately the only way I can win is if he renounces his literal faith in his holy book. I’m not sure I’m ready to push that hard on this individual. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye – amirite?

    Going forward I can only point out the glaring hypocrisy and challenge the prejudices that make living in an integrated society difficult.

    You do battle with physical issues every day – and you take on the evangelicals who like to dive bomb your site. Not sure how you do it all but amazingly grateful that you do. Thanks again. 🙂

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    dale m.

    “Why can’t they see themselves in the same light and realize that such behavior is patently rude and offensive?”

    Simple. They feel entitled by what their teachings tell them.

    I went to a lovely Christmas party recently at a swank hotel. The camaraderie was excellent. The food and service were top notch. It was a club of fellowship. Jews, atheists, Christians, a couple of Wiccans. But before the party started, one of the organizers got up and commanded everyone to stand. Everyone stood, yours included. The evangelical among us ordered a prayer. I did not bow my head or utter “AMEN” at the end. The shocked expressions on everyone’s face said it all. Is this a party or a revival meeting?

    Then, because she could, she played a mournful Christian hymn on her musical instrument. She had set the mood. It wasn’t what people expected. Everyone politely applauded and sat down asking themselves … WHY ?!? Unfortunately, she had brought in a singer from her local church which inundated us all with good Christian music. Unfortunately, he couldn’t hold a tune. Everyone was dressed to dance that night. No one did. It would have been a perfect evening.

    That phrase came whipping through my mind while I sat there. “THE TYRANNY OF RELIGION”. If WE can’t have fun. YOU can’t have fun.

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    A couple of years ago, we had to go to a food bank. Across the street, a woman would scream-preach through a megaphone for an hour. Most found it stressful and rude. A few made excuses for her, saying the preaching was for our own good and that she cared about us. The neighborhood residents didn’t agree (this was at 7a.m.) and had her booted for disturbing the peace.
    Funny how nothing is rude if you do it in the name of Jesus.

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    That kind of Jesusing is like flashing people – keep it private, if we’re interested we’ll ask to see it, but don’t just whip it out willy-nilly.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Last week, my bike ride took me past a Planned Parenthood Center. Not suprisingly, some fundies stood by the entrance, holding signs and tracts, exhorting the (mostly young) women on their way inside to reconsider and repent.

    I stopped and got in the faces of those evangelists. “Leave those women alone” I bellowed. “You don’t know why they’re here!”

    “The enemy has tricked you!” one of them intoned.

    “Nobody tricked me. Have you ever asked anyone why she’s here?”

    “They’ve been led astray. But they can repent, just like you can.”

    “Leeeave thooose women alooone,” One, with a sign about protecting the unborn, started at me. I parted my lips to start an explanation of how some of the women–some were girls, actually–might be there because in low-income neighborhoods (like the one we were in) as well as other isolated and underserved areas, PP is the only place where women can get the care they need. I also wanted to tell them–though they wouldn’t listen–that some of women and girls may have been raped or incested.

    “Judge not lest ye be judged,” I yelled. They turned away, out of fear, I believe: They may have sensed my rage, which wasn’t just a reaction to their self-righteous sense of entitlement. I expect as much from their ilk. Rather, as someone who was sexually abused by a priest as a child and who experienced sexual harassment and assault as an adult, I was angry at their indifference or cluelessness to the fact that at least some of the women and girls entering that PP center had just experienced the most traumatic event of their lives.

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      MJ, thank you for defending those who need defending. It is interesting how many will shrink away when confronted with their hatred and judgement. Sadly, the damage they can do to others is much greater that most realize.

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    Jaqen H'ghar

    A man told an Evangelical Christian relative recently, “Please take your shit and tell your Jesus to turn it into solid gold, then you can go on Oprah and Fox and announce it for all the world to see. A man will instantly follow your Jesus if he will do the same for a man’s bucketload of shit.” Still waiting, but not holding.

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Bruce Gerencser