Stop Violating My Rights in the Name of Your Religion

As strongly as you feel about your god and your religion and your freedom to worship whomever you choose, that is how strongly I feel about my atheism.

I respect that you believe you must behave a certain way and be a good person because of what your god expects from you. Likewise, I believe that I must behave a certain way. I’m a good person because it’s how I want to be treated. I am kind and respectful to everyone I meet and I hope for the same kindness and respect in return. I’m this way because I believe in being a good person and trying to make a positive impact while I have time on this earth.

I respect that you believe you must attend church, or temple, or mosque, in order to pay tribute to or worship your god on certain days of the week. Likewise, I believe in taking time on certain days of the week to focus solely on my family and friends. To connect with them in meaningful ways and create lasting memories while my health and time allow. I believe in making sure that the people I love most know how much I love and appreciate their presence in my life.

I respect that the god you believe in tells you that you have to “save” others or convert them to your way of thinking.

You can ask. Go ahead. Ask me if I, or my children, would like to accompany you to church or temple or to mosque.

My reply is, and always will be, “No, thank you.

However, while I respect your desire to ask me, and don’t begrudge you asking once, I have to draw the line.

Ask once.

You are welcome to ask once. If my answer is, “No, but thank you for asking. I appreciate your kindness in extending the invitation, but I have no interest in attending church/temple/mosque/any other religious gathering,” then you need to not ask anymore.

Seriously. Once.

Continuing to ask me, and continuing to pressure me and my children, is bordering on consent violation.

Yes, I said “consent violation.

You’re coming across as “rapey.”

Let me explain, please.

If my teenage son were to ask your teenage daughter to have sex with him, and she says “No,” then that should be the end of it. But if he continues to ask, and pressure, and cajole, until she has sex with him in an attempt to get him to leave her alone, that would be considered a violation of her consent. I think, as her parent, you would agree.

Anytime you pressure someone into doing something that he/she has told you he/she does not want to do, you are violating their wishes and being an incredible asshat.

Even if god told you to do it.

Your continued pressure on me and my family to attend your religious events and subscribe to your religious beliefs will eventually work, but not in the way you might think.

I’m not going to stop being an atheist.

I will, however, stop being nice when I tell you, “No.”

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Originally published at allisonwrites.wordpress.com on August 1, 2016.

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