03 June, 2008

Fun With Proselytizers

I hear a lot about "evangelical atheism" from Christians in a snit. It's ridiculous to me - I've yet to have an atheist show up at the door preaching the Good News about non-belief. There's no atheist church churning out atheist missionaries and making the rest of the atheists cough up tithes to pay for their efforts to convert the world.

No, when there's a knock at my door and two anxious-looking folks in awful suits standing there, I can be pretty sure I'm not dealing with one of those damned evangelical atheists. No, it's going to be some earnest deluded person wanting to tell me about Christ.

And then the fun begins.

Door-to-door religion salesmen are much like telemarketers: you may have sympathy for them as human beings, but when that bell rings, their common humanity flies out the window and they become That Fucking Asshole Annoying the Bugshit out of Me When I Had Better Things to Do. And it's not enough to merely not answer the door, oh, no. That's cowardice, that is. That's hiding. No, you've got to be creative. Ensure that the bugger not only knows you're displeased at the interruption, but make it so they never have the guts to ever do it again.

My friends are creative. They're also evil.

Take Russ. He calls me one day, laughing so hard he can't speak. After five minutes of this, I threatened to hang up on him.

"No, wait," he gasped. "I have to tell you what happened." And he bursts out laughing again. It's some time before he can relate the story:

The Jehovah's Witnesses had shown up on his porch, along with their kids - starting them early, apparently. Russ, who is Wiccan, answers the door. They give their perky greetings and ask, "Do you believe in God?"

"Well," Russ said thoughtfully. "I'm a witch, if that's what you mean."

They grabbed the kids and ran away. Russ swears they were crossing themselves as they fled.
Jehovah's Witnesses were fun, but somewhat rare in our little town. The Mormons had dibs. We had a missionary infestation, being so close to the Utah border: the Latter Day Saints would send their wet-behind-the-ears missionaries out into the community to ferret out the few non-Mormons by way of practice before getting sent to places like China, which treat missionaries rather more shabbily. They didn't always get the gentle treatment, but at least we weren't throwing them in jail... much.

They once made the mistake of visiting J.T. on a very bad day. He'd spent the entire afternoon battling a recalcitrant dryer, which had decided that jeans were not part of its job description. His Rottweilers were trying to devour each other. He got the dryer drying and the dogs calmed down after an hours-long battle. He breathed a sigh of relief, popped open a beer, lit a cigarette and - DING-DONG.

Chaos. The dogs bolt for the door, barrelling into J.T. along the way, simultaneously trying to fight each other and announce to the newcomers that today is Visitors Get Ripped to Bloody Chunks Day. J.T. wades through them, trying to keep beer and cigarette safe, yanks open the door whilst kicking dogs aside and shouting "Lady Death, Killer, get back!" And he beholds the sight of two rather stunned missionaries. "What?" he bellows.

They look at the beer. They look at the cigarette. They look at the Rotties trying to fight past J.T.'s legs, not knowing that Lady Death and Killer are more likely to drown than devour them. They look at the thunderstorm that is J.T.'s face. "N-nothing!" they stammer before pulling a Sir Robin and bravely running away.

I think they were the same buggers who showed up at my door on another very bad day. Aunty Flow was visiting. The chair I was sitting in had lost its bottom, dumping me on the floor and scraping my back in the midst of a very angry letter to the school board explaining why they should keep Superintendent Dan Dodds off the radio saying fuckwitted things about how we didn't need no stinkin' AIDS education - even though the majority of the student body seemed pregnant that year. And Dodds was still on the radio, spouting bullshit, when the doorbell rang.
I stomped into the living room, yanked the door open, looked at the missionaries, and did my best J.T. "What?"

That phrase only makes 'em run when there's Rotties involved. They beamed at me. "We have a message for you," they said.

"I don't want to hear it," I said, and slammed the door in their shining little faces.

I stomped back to my room, finished my angry letter, then headed down to the post office to mail it - where I ran into the missionaries. And that's what makes this story funny: the poleaxed looks on their faces when I held the door open for them and said, "Have a nice day!" They both gave me a sickly little smile and edged past, keeping themselves as far from me as physically possible, and scuttled through that door as if I'd slam it on them again. I saw them looking back in absolute astonishment from the parking lot.

Yup. I am Hyde when you try to convert me, and Jeckyll when you're just out checking your mail. Indeed.

I hope the poor buggers toughened up later, because if slamming a door in their faces rattled them that much, I imagine they needed psychotherapy after two years of missionary work to tougher audiences.

Tomorrow, we shall continue our Fun with Proselytizers, and thee shall know how we got them arrested once.


Anonymous said...

I have a friend who had a pair of Mormons crying as they left his house one Saturday morning. It was after an all night card game and they came ringing the doorbell, now Steve being the good atheist soul that he is invited them in for a cold drink and some time out of the hot Summer sun. First mistake :-) they proceeded to enter a house filled with filthy atheists. After the pleasantries were exchanged they went into their spiel and and when they finished blessing the house etc Steve started to ask them some questions about the "Book of Mormon" and then proceeded to make a point by point detailed comparison to the King James Bible (imagine a filthy atheist actually knowing more about BOTH bibles than those professing to follow it)And that was their second mistake, after the first couple of points were raised and soundly trashed they should have packed up, as they were clearly out gunned. Instead they decided to stick it out and probably see if they could score at least one point, no such luck :-)
Suffice to say by the end of the lesson both were probably questioning their faith and as previously mentioned both were visibly shaken and teary as they left the house. the moral to the story is don't ever enter a bear cave armed with a rubber chicken.

Webs said...

The Mormons wouldn't leave us alone one time. We got the Ding-Dong and my sister answered and politely said no and closed the door. The next day same thing, but this time it was me. I politely said no and we do not enjoy being bothered. The next day, Ding-Dong and my sister looked out the window to see them yet again (every time it was a different person but they were hitting the neighborhood hard). Finally my sister getting pissed opened the door and stated in a rather boisterous voice, "Look we're a bunch of devil worshipers and we don't want your information!"

The Mormons left with a shocked and surprised look upon their faces. Later that night my father scolded my sister and told her NEVER to do that again. "Because that only makes them want to come and bug us even more!"

I thought it was funny my father didn't really care my sister proclaimed us devil worshipers or that she had yelled at the Mormon. That is when I started to realize my family was different.