I deliver things to people. I do this for money. Sometimes in the form of tips.
Sometimes I get an extra little surprise:
That’s right, bible tracts. Who doesn’t appreciate those?
Me. I fucking hate them. I mean, I can perfectly ignore them if they are strewn like perverse litter all over the doctor’s office. I can ignore them if they are slid into my door when I am not home. Bible tracts are everywhere I turn. Most of the time I can ignore them, or if I am lucky, I get the rare chance to tell the proselytizing pinhead to fuck off.
What about the times I can’t?
Well those are the times I get angry.
This weekend I delivered to a home and along with the generous tip (I give credit where it is due) the home owner gave me a gospel tract from a local church. I recognized the church. Hell, I used to go there way back when. I recognize their methods and they are vile.
So Mr. Customer signs his receipt and goes and gets me the tract. Then he proceeds to inform me of his church. All I can do is stand there and smile. I have no manner for recourse. Not only does the receipt I gave him have my name, I wouldn’t sully the reputation of my employer anyway. Certainly what I wanted to say to Mr. Customer would have crossed every line of polite discourse between strangers. I wanted him to know about the decades of psychological torture, bigotry, and indoctrination his church had so casually inflicted upon families in this town. I wanted him to know how much better my life was when I gave up the very brand of god he worshiped. I wanted to tell him about how his church strives to maintain ignorance in society so that his daughters will grow up thinking of themselves as subjugates to their fathers and eventually their husbands. I wanted him to know that and so much more.
But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even say “No thank you.” I should have been able to. I can say “no thank you” when someone offers me candy. I can say “Nah, some other time” when someone invites me to stay and play a round of poker. I can say “I’m not interested” when a customer suggests a local event.
I cannot say “No thank you” when someone offers me a piece of paper and recommends I attend their church.
I have to smile and take it.
Now if I came into their place of employment and offered them literature to join the local humanist organization, I assure you they can say “No thank you.” They could even refuse to serve me as a customer and not risk harm to their business, but I cannot do the same to them.
Why is that? The answer is simple, and we atheists know it well. Religion has been given a deference in society that it does not deserve.
Faith, religion, have not earned their deference. They took it by years of force and oppression. They took it by fear, by wielding the almighty hammer of overt privilege over those who have it not. Faith has stolen its deference from humanity.
And that makes me angry.
*I shouldn’t have to tell you the inspiration for the title of this post but just in case, you should go read Greta Christina’s new book: Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things that piss of the Godless