An Ultimate Supernatural Guilt Trip1 December, 2009
One of my frequently frequented grocery stores is closing. Sunshine Mart, which has been around since the 1940s or earlier (Chappie, did you ever shop there?) is in the process of shutting down.
The store was a popular one in the valley. One woman (((Wife))) knows remembers shopping there when she was a kid. The family running the store understood tight budgets (nine kids in the family and dad had died in a coal mining accident) and, if mom was a little short that week (or month) they put it ‘on her tab’ which, oddly, never came due. Good people.
It was also a fun place to shop just because some of the overheard conversations were, well, interesting. Today, I overheard another conversation which brings up the old question as to whether religion does more harm or more good. Over at the Spanish Inquisitor is an article about the Catholic Churches problem with child abuse and child rape. Crimes which, if done by any non-mainstream-religious group, would have seen people in jail rather quickly.
Even on a personal level, religion can cause harm. Today’s overheard conversation is a case in point.
A yuppie mom was walking through the store with her 4-year-old daughter. Cute kid. Red hair (there may be more redheads in the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys than anywhere else in America), green eyes, freckles, cute dress, and she was wound up with a typical preschool temper tantrum.
Mom sighed loudly, told the person on the cell phone, “I’ll call you back. She’s at it again.” Then she turned to her daughter and told her, “Stop it. Now!”
Being a typical 4-year-old, she went right on with her tantrum (which really was not that bad (my kids have pulled far worse)).
Mom then got down on one knee and said, “You are bad. Baby Jesus hates it when you are bad. Do you know why? Because when you are bad, it hurts Jesus. You are twisting the nails holding Him to the cross.”
At which point my jaw fell and the little girl cried harder. Mom looked at me and asked, “You got a problem?”
I said, “Yeah. I have a problem with religious zealotry masquerading as parenting. Why not just threaten her with Santa?”
“Because Santa is a myth. And the pain of Jesus is real.” And she glared at me. Then she took her little moppet by the hand and walked out, whipping out the cell phone and dragging the girl along.
Weird. Beyond weird. I know some of you grew up in Christian households (of various levels, of course). Do any of you remember a threat like this one?
So how many therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists would be out of work if little parents actually dealt with the child rather than feeding them a supernatural guilt trip?
And, more important than that, now that Sunshine is closing, where will I get my smoked hocks and scrapple?