I recently posted an appeal for help for Minnesota’s Camp Quest, and one commenter noted that atheists should not have summer camps. Others have chimed in with reasons why that commenter was wrong. Here, I’d like to tell a simple story of one girl’s experience and why it may have been better for her to attend an atheist summer camp than the camp she did actually attend. This story was told to me by a good friend who’s name I’ve slightly altered.
I’ll call her Diane. When Diane was about 11 years old, she went off to summer camp for the first time. On the first day of camp, when all the girls were getting to know each other, one of the questions that came up was “What church do you belong to?” All the kids seem to be Christian, but they were from a diversity of churches. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Catholics, and so on.
When they got to Diane, and she was expected to say what church she went to, she didn’t know what to say. Her parents were, she later understood, atheists, and she was raised in the absence of religion. But she didn’t have a ready answer for the other girls. She didn’t know to say “I’m an atheist” and she didn’t even know to keep her mouth shut and her head down and to lie to protect herself, which is really what godless children typically learn to do. So she said, simply, that her family was not in a church, that they didn’t go to church. A few more questions from the other girls established clearly that Diane was not religious. At all.
Later that night, Diane woke up in a panic. She could not breath. There was a heavy weight on her chest, and her airways were blocked. She realized there was also a weight on her face. Eventually, in a matter of seconds, really, she realized that one of the girls from her dormitory was sitting on her chest and holding a pillow down on her face, in an effort to smother her to death.
There was a scuffle, and someone pulled the girl off just as Diane was about to slip into unconsciousness. There were adults, there were conversations, and there was a confession.
One of the religious girls was simply trying to kill the daemon.
Trying to kill the daemon. If you know Diane as I do, your jaw would drop to the floor. The daemon indeed.
Camp Quest. It’s not about atheism. It’s about not getting your ass smothered to death because you are not part of somebody’s sorry excuse for a belief system.
This blog, and the snark therein, is not directly connected with Camp Quest or its affiliates.