Saturday, April 01, 2006

My Daughter, the Apostate: A Father’s Lament at his Child’s Enlistment in the “War Against Religion”

By, Mark W. Bradley

I was shocked and dismayed beyond words the other day to discover that my own beloved daughter, the filial fruit of my loins, has been enlisted as a soldier in the vast swarming army of Godless atheists fiendishly plotting to smother the last dying gasps of religion here in America. This melancholic revelation was not something I learned of through, say, malicious family gossip or a poison-pen letter slipped into my mailbox at midnight by a scientologist neighbor I barely know. No, this untoward utterance issued forth from the mouth (or rather the keyboard) of the blasphemously blogging Baal-worshiper herself. Truth be told, ever since she took on the urban terrorist persona of “the liberalgirlnextdoor”, I’ve lived in constant fear of just such an outcome. Still, my morbid anticipation did little to cushion the staggering blow to my solar plexus. I am, as you can imagine, emotionally debilitated.

Mollie was, after all, raised in a devoutly religious household. Our family were strict practitioners of the original “Old Tyme Religion” - Fundamentalist Scandinavian Polytheism. The deity to whom our ancestral clan-grouping owed its traditional allegiance was Svenhart the Sword-wielding Berserker of Mercy, but during my early youth, I found my true calling as a high priest of Thunderbolt-thrusting Thor, Creator of Bloody Stumps. Over time, the god opened my heart, and I began to read the Nordic sagas (especially Beowulf) with a new and faith-based understanding. I adopted Thor as my personal deity, dropped out of junior high school, and started my own polygamous family.

Eventually, after eight arduous years of neighborhood plundering (not to mention the entrail-reading of other people’s pets on the sacrificial altar of a specially-constructed plywood temple in my basement), Thor came to me in a thunderous and terrifying dream. His scarlet mane and braided beard were as the fiery flames of an Icelandic volcano, and he bestrode the heavens on the back of a man-devouring osprey clad in silver chain-mail and golden helm. With the ear-splitting voice of a thousand tornadoes he issued unto me commandments that I was loathe to refuse, lest I be cast from Valhalla into the Pit of Doom.

When I awoke that night (on the eve of my twenty-first birthday) drenched in a cold sweat, I immediately bestirred my nine-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, and the three of us began the nocturnal felling of dozens of telephone poles in our small-town with which to build a Towering Temple of Thor’s Testimony in the driveway of a local Unitarian minister. Upon completion of the tower, I allowed my darling Mollie the honor of climbing up the seven-story façade and crowning the structure with a double-headed bronze battle-ax engraved with the words “He Will Crush the Bones of Little Children with a Wave of His Bloody Hand”…I will never forget the look of pride on that angelic face, awash as it was in the brilliant blue of Pictish woad, even as I watched it get smaller through the rear window of the ambulance that transported me away from the scene and toward my new lodgings at the State Hospital, where I spent several confusing and turbulent years…

But never mind that. Part of the disappointment I feel at my daughter’s recent fall from grace stems from the fact that she adhered so faithfully for so long to the somewhat unusual (but surprisingly mainstream) religious values I painstakingly instilled in her. This, of course, in contrast to my treacherous son Charles, who (at the tender age of thirteen) inexplicably fled the bosom of our family as we toured Norse religious sites in Sweden. In a willful act of disregard for the wishes of Odin, that obstreperous ingrate declined the prestigious honor of ritual strangulation and posthumous submersion in a peat bog, preferring instead the coward’s way out - a cheap bid for political asylum! I tell you, you try to raise your kids right, you give them all the advantages you never had, and in the end they turn right around and kick you in the teeth…

But enough of my personal tribulation. What all these trials have taught me is that religious faith is the foundation of a truly meaningful life. I’m just sorry my wayward children have lost sight of that timeless truth. Now that they’ve made a conscious decision to join the forces of atheism, I can only view them as mortal enemies - minions in the army of darkness arrayed against those us who remain steadfast in defense of institutionalized religion.

In that light, and in spite of our superficial differences, I call upon all God-, goddess-, and gods-fearing people of faith to join in a united defense of our collective religious principles against the overwhelming onslaught of Agnosticism, Atheism, and all other forms of insidious godlessness that threaten to swamp our sacred churches, our sacrificial ziggurats, our monolithic stone burial chambers, and our mysterious crop circles in an unholy tidal wave of secular rationalism…

Mark W. Bradley is a schoolteacher and political satirist in Sacramento,
California. He can be contacted at:


Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Where do I sign up? Finally, religion makes sense.

Umm, did Mollie have any other adult influences during her childhood. If not, I fear I may have to relocate, having revealed to many personal details in the past.

Mollie, I have gained so much insight today. Your childhood must have been hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! Frabjous!

1:42 PM  
Blogger FireCrow said...

You are an excellent writer. I wonder how many wingnut fundies will venture here and not "get it".
Keep up the fine work.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo (Brava?)

7:52 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Yellow Dog--Yes it was, but definitely more hilarious than terrifying (although having hippie parents breeds its own horrors).

Geocrackr--Frabjous indeed.

Firecrow--Yes he is a gifted writer and I'm sure there will be plenty who don’t get it. Recognizing satire is not exactly the strong suit of the extremely religious.

Anonymous--I'll pass on the praise to dear old dad.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell Dad the only reason I fled was that I was upset that he let you put the Double-Headed Axe on the Telephone Pole Temple. I ran crying, and when I came back you guys were gone! The deep religous values that were instilled at such a young age allow me to forgive you both.

Does Dad know that a little commissary now and then wouldn't hurt? Prison ain't nothin' nice ya know. The tattoo of Thor on my back that Dad did with a broken guitar string is the only thing that keeps me safe in here. However, the tat was much more intimidating on my 5 year old back than it is now. It's a bit smaller looking and the scarlet beard has faded
Look forward to your letters,

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thorsday, April 6

I am sorry to hear that prison life does not agree with you. The electroshock treatments I underwent at the State Hospital were no picnic either, I assure you. We all have our little axes to bear, and you obviously still have a cross to grind with me. No matter. May Odin bless you and crush you in the palm of his hand...

Your Loving Father

P.S: I'm sorry that I didn't let you crown the monument, and gave the job instead to your sister, but I was only trying to protect you. If you had fallen in the process, you might have incurred a scar or other flaw, which would, of course, have made you an unfit sacrifice for the gods...

9:14 AM  

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