Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
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27-03-2013, 05:11 PM (This post was last modified: 27-03-2013 05:18 PM by Misanthropik.)
Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
So I dropped my brother off at my parents' today and decided to hang out for a bit. Having been made aware of my arrival, my dad began to go on one of his usual uber-right-wing conservative rants. He went off about gays "trying to change the definition of marriage" and eventually to whatever new abortion nonsense is going on in another state. I'm not much of a news guy; I'm not 100% up to speed with what's going on.

Anyway, he was in the middle of ranting about how "you can not be a God-fearing christian in America; you must have abortions and kill your babies. You must murder them. The lib-dems are trying to make sure you cannot carry a little baby - a poor little developing baby - to term. You must kill it."

All of this is being said while he's watching Fox news - as is his daily (some might say "religious") ritual.

Now, I didn't really care about the abortion thing. It was stupid and ridiculous and I made a few comments about it, but we didn't really go in-depth about it. He was a firefighter/paramedic for over 25 years, and he's seen many dead fetuses (what he would call "little puppy-dogs I could hold in my hand") on numerous occasions; so I'm nearly powerless to convince him that fetuses aren't really "people". The images have been rooted much too deeply in his already-unstable mind, so I just let it go.

For some reason, though, the conversation reminded me of the story I heard recently of the young girl who's Jehovah's Witness parents refused a life-saving blood transfusion and had to be overruled by a judge. I don't remember where I heard it, but I feel like it was here on the forum somewhere. (If anyone could cite a source, it would be appreciated) Anyway, the parents were subverted by the law; the girl received her transfusion, and she survived. With that in mind, I decided to relay the story to my dad. I pitched it as though it were just another news story; not connected to him in any way. I told him that the girl was very sick, and that her parents flat-out refused the proper medical treatment for her. Being a former paramedic, he seemed angered by this. So I went on to explain that the judge stepped in and allowed for the girl to receive her treatment. Dad was relieved.

I then explained that the reason for the parents' refusal was that they are Jehovah's Witnesses, and that the life-saving treatment was a blood transfusion.

All at once, the light drained from my dad's eyes and he shook his head in disgust. The very next words out of his mouth?

"So the fucking lib-dems are taking away freedom of religion? It's really happening?"

I was going to insert the little "shocked" emoticon here, but such colorful illustrations do not accurately reflect the absolute rage that I felt at that moment - and still feel as I retell the story. I had no immediate words with which to respond. I just stared at him. After a moment, I finally blurted out: "Yeah, that's right; they're taking away your religious freedom to kill your fucking kid. Sorry about that." I then proceeded on a mocking rant - in an impersonation of his voice - about how "You can not, you can not kill your own fucking kid; you can't! The lib-dems say you can't do it. No no, you must allow your child to live. You must!"

My sister - a fellow atheist, who is slowly becoming active on the scene - chimed in with an excellent point about how you must keep the unborn "babies" alive, but you can not be allowed to look your own daughter in the eyes and tell her that you're not going to give her the treatment which will save her life. What a horror to take away religious freedoms like that.

What ensued was a heated argument about blood transfusions, the convictions of the Witnesses, the nature of what makes an abortion not murder, and a bunch of other shit that I can't remember because I was blinded by the utter stupidity with which I was being bombarded.

In the end, today was the first and only time I've ever been asked outright to leave my parents' home. Now my sister and I are hanging out at my place; trying to decide if a lengthy, much more reasonable explanation would be worth sending to the folks via email.


And now that I'm typing this, I am reminded of the horse-shit request that my dad made in the midst of the argument. As I was going off about intentionally killing your own child by denying proper medical treatment, he requested that I "show a little respect for his beliefs" in regard to blood transfusions and his spiritual convictions. That was in fact the final straw; and my response of "FUCK your beliefs; you have no right to demand respect for your infanticidal mindset" is what ultimately lead to our being asked to leave. Was it hostile? Sure. But by no means uncalled for, and I do not apologize for venturing momentarily from the path of civilized discourse.

This was yet another experience which reminded me that I and any others who are capable need to step up and do our part to ensure the death of irrational, immoral religious belief.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
Ridi, Pagliaccio, sul tuo amore infranto! Ridi del duol, che t'avvelena il cor!
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27-03-2013, 05:32 PM
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
A former coworker of mine had been dis-fellowed or whatever the term is from the JWs. Her mother's side of the family was JW, her father's was not.
When we met she was still struggling with the things that had been pounded into her by the JWs.
We talked one day about the blood transfusion issue. Her younger brother had been in a horrible accident at about age 19. Part of what saved him was blood transfusion that her father approved over the wishes of the JW side. I asked her one day what she would do if her daughter ever needed a transfusion...all she could say was she hoped she never had to make that decision (the daughter's father was staunch JW). I asked, what about your brother, he would be dead had it not been for that transfusion. Her response was yeah but he wouldn't have hepatitis either. (He had a history of drug usage and could easily have contracted Hep that way.) At the time of our conversation, she still couldn't shake the indoctrination. That was years ago, I sure hope she is more in touch with reality now.

Sucks about the fight...you know you aren't going to change your parents, right? You have to break contact, accept that these disagreements are going to come up, or simply refuse to engage in those topics with them. Any way you slice it, it sucks.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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27-03-2013, 05:36 PM
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
(27-03-2013 05:32 PM)Anjele Wrote:  A former coworker of mine had been dis-fellowed or whatever the term is from the JWs. Her mother's side of the family was JW, her father's was not.
When we met she was still struggling with the things that had been pounded into her by the JWs.
We talked one day about the blood transfusion issue. Her younger brother had been in a horrible accident at about age 19. Part of what saved him was blood transfusion that her father approved over the wishes of the JW side. I asked her one day what she would do if her daughter ever needed a transfusion...all she could say was she hoped she never had to make that decision (the daughter's father was staunch JW). I asked, what about your brother, he would be dead had it not been for that transfusion. Her response was yeah but he wouldn't have hepatitis either. (He had a history of drug usage and could easily have contracted Hep that way.) At the time of our conversation, she still couldn't shake the indoctrination. That was years ago, I sure hope she is more in touch with reality now.

Sucks about the fight...you know you aren't going to change your parents, right? You have to break contact, accept that these disagreements are going to come up, or simply refuse to engage in those topics with them. Any way you slice it, it sucks.

Ugh. I know. We've had fights before; it's just annoying. I have an extremely low tolerance for stupidity. Especially when I know there's nothing I can do to change it.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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27-03-2013, 05:39 PM
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
Woof. Lots to talk about there. Won't touch on your relationship with your Dad, that's for you to gauge. But I'll hit respect for beliefs.

Is it important to have respect for beliefs? Sure. Or, rather, it's important to let people have the room and freedom to believe as they are inclined, without coming down too hard or too critically on them. You can think the beliefs themselves are hogwash, but you should also hesitate to say it in quite so harsh terms. This is less because the beliefs themselves are worthy of respect, or even necessarily the believers. Rather, it's because that's the sort of code of conduct that allows us to continue as a (somewhat) civil society. Witness our own reactions, both internal and external, when someone does not respect our own stances on religion. Disrespect breeds conflict and a very ugly breakdown of civility. Sometimes we can actually respect beliefs as admirable, such as the valuing charity. But even when that's not the case, we recognize should charged issues (such as politics and religion) and respect them as we would a live land mine. Maybe that means avoiding them, maybe defusing them, or maybe detonating them in a controlled manner. But the respect is necessary if you want to get out of there with all your toes and fingers. Remember, respect and admire are not synonymous.

So, yes, respecting religion and beliefs are important. Does that mean respecting belief trumps everything? Of course not. Other values are important -- saving lives, sheltering the oppressed. Respect the belief until the cost of respect is greater than the cost of disrespect, and telegraph where that line lies in advance. JW beliefs are not worth the life of a sick child, any more than KKK beliefs (religious as they are) are worth lynchings, murders, or other forms of oppression. Etc etc. Now, whether bringing the point up with your father, when there wasn't actually a dying child involved, was worth the lack of respect (and if you were dropping f-bombs like that, then respect was lacking) and the consequences thereof, that's a question you have to decide for yourself.

"If I ignore the alternatives, the only option is God; I ignore them; therefore God." -- The Syllogism of Fail
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27-03-2013, 05:49 PM (This post was last modified: 06-04-2013 12:37 AM by Doctor X.)
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
******

Those who administer and moderate in order to exercise personal agenda merely feed into the negative stereotype of Atheism
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27-03-2013, 05:50 PM
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
The only, singular thing which bothers me about my reaction(s) is the fact that my brother has recently been introduced to the fact that I do not believe in the god he is being taught to believe in. My dad and I have always tackled our issues like a couple of neanderthals, but I don't want the kid to conclude that this is how non-believers act.

That is something I'm regretting.

Through profound pain comes profound knowledge.
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27-03-2013, 06:01 PM
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
(27-03-2013 05:50 PM)Misanthropik Wrote:  The only, singular thing which bothers me about my reaction(s) is the fact that my brother has recently been introduced to the fact that I do not believe in the god he is being taught to believe in. My dad and I have always tackled our issues like a couple of neanderthals, but I don't want the kid to conclude that this is how non-believers act.

That is something I'm regretting.

It's really hard sometimes to walk such a fine line.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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27-03-2013, 06:18 PM
RE: Dad, JW's, and Blood Transfusions (FML)
Oh boy, this reminds me of the fights I had with my dad about Feminism, many, many moons ago.

When I grew up, women were mostly house servants. They had no rights and no money and were stuck in a life long situation, putting out and working for a person they once felt some hormonal stirrings for. There were no divorces because women had no place to go, most jobs for females were sales jobs and these were only for the young.

Dad was an employer, and he employed a couple of the first female engineers. And then one became pregnant and was unable to work for a few months.

This had him ranting and raving about how women were just not fit for the work place.

My dad was a very smart man, and he raised me to be a skeptic without ever interfering in what I thought of religion.

But when it came to the societal status quo he was completely indoctrinated.

Luckily as fate would have it I became a successful entrepreneur. And - low and behold - he was proud of me a would have defended my rights in the work place to anyone.

Funny how that can go. Like all the people who were condemning gay marriage, until their kids/relatives/friends came out to them.

I think that is what it will take for atheism also - every religious person needs to have someone in their life who professes to be atheist. Then, and only then will we see change.

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Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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