Would You Allow Christians To Pray Over Your Baby? June 1, 2009

Would You Allow Christians To Pray Over Your Baby?

There are plenty of reasons not to shop at Walmart. This one won’t be found in any documentary, though.

Atheist Kelly went to get some groceries and other goods with her husband and baby LuLu in tow. While there, a lady walked right up to the couple and their 15-week-old child. After saying what a sweet child it was, the lady proceeded to say more

“Dear Jesus!” the woman cried out, raising her hand over my precious baby LuLu, closing her eyes and shaking her hips. I froze. My husband froze. I’m pretty sure my eyes got huge. LuLu just sort of drooled all over her “future president” onesie and smiled. “Protect this baby! Guide her and love her.” She started jumping up and down. “Keep her under your wing…”

Kelly and her husband just walked away from it all later without saying anything.

Did she do the right thing? She’s not sure.

What made her think she had the right to just “pray” over my child? Why did I think the responsibility fell on me to keep the peace when she clearly saw nothing wrong with making a spectacle out of my child?

There was no force involved. I could have walked away. I could have yelled. I could have quietly asked her to stop. I could have gotten into a heated debate over whether her god even exists.

But I didn’t. I just smiled after the prayer was over and walked away to the car…

How do you think she should have handled it?

Do Christians ever try to pray over your child (FSM forbid they find out the baby isn’t baptized)? Do you allow them to and just brush it off? Are you offended by it?

(via Rational Moms — Thanks to Julie for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • SkepGeek

    I would treat this the same way as when the mentally handicapped guy waves vigorously at me and says hi when I get on the bus.

  • Joseph R.

    I think walking away without responding would be appropriate. Before I stopped shopping at Wally World last year, no one had ever tried to pray over, under, or around my children. If they had, I suppose I would have had to leave the immediate area in a swift manner.

  • Efogoto

    I am an atheist, my wife is Buddhist. When we were in Walmart, one of the staff handed us some aluminum Christian prayer coins, one of them asking that we pray for U.S. troops in the field. I got the pleading look from my wife for not making a scene, so I merely pocketed the coins and threw them in the trash later. I don’t think I’d have achieved anything other than ill will for doing anything else. I’d have done the same had they been Shinto coins, or Buddhist for that matter.

  • kittycat

    I know when I’m confronted by christians in a public place I get visibly uncomfortable, but I don’t like to make a scene unless they’re really pushing my buttons. I don’t have a baby so I’m not sure how I would react if someone tried to pray over it. I suspect I would be much more protective in that case.

  • That´s like handling patients from the Psychiatric ward. What´s the use in debating over their delusions?

  • littlejohn

    When people start babbliing about Jesus around me, I calmly lie that I am a Jew.
    It lets me shut them up without having to defend atheism. It’s politically incorrect to insult Jews (thanks, Hitler), but atheists, as you know, are fair game.
    (Note to humor-impaired: the Hitler reference is a bit of gallows humor.)

  • That’s a tough call. You can either come across like the jerk that Christians think we are and say “no thank you”, or you can say nothing and foster their false belief that everyone is a Christian and it’s ok to presume.

    While I appreciate that some people don’t want to make a scene, how do you think that Christian would react if you handed their child an atheist book?

    I’m not saying that the mother should have been rude, but don’t we have a right, and perhaps even a responsibility to make it know that prayers aren’t wanted?

  • patientia

    One woman prayed over me in a bus after we talked on the bus station and in the bus. She said something about religion, that she is Evangelical (most residents of Croatia are cultural Roman Catholics) and I said I was an atheist. She placed her hands on me and asked her imaginary friend to save me. I was to surprised to react and didn’t say anything during her prayer. My station was next, so I said “Goodbye” and left. I was 16 or 17, too inexperienced to react properly. I didn’t mind her prayer, but placing her hands on me offended me (I didn’t know her, just met her that day).

  • Ramon Caballero

    I would give a “fake” smile and walk away, it doesn’t do anything, if they try to touch her I wouldn’t allow it (defense against bacteria and stuff) but I think we shouldn’t make a fuss about it…as long as they don’t try to throw at her oil, water or smoke!, but of course if you are in a hurry…keep walking and say goodbye!
    On second thought if they scream near my baby I would run, not walk, away. I mention this because of the “Dear Jesus!”, I guess it depends on the volume and pitch, but I would do the same if a person with a violin starts playing near my baby.
    Also, it would be an instinct to remove the baby from someone that put the hand over her and not knowing their intentions, I would expect anybody to ask for my permission.
    And if this person was jumping around…another accident to happen..mmh, I guess I just changed my entire first comment, but it is not because of their praying and my atheism, it is only about my baby’s safety.

  • SarahH

    When people start babbliing about Jesus around me, I calmly lie that I am a Jew.
    It lets me shut them up without having to defend atheism. It’s politically incorrect to insult Jews (thanks, Hitler), but atheists, as you know, are fair game.

    Wow, that’s a good strategy. If I’m in a situation where I’m confronted by a religious person who is just going to rail at me if I admit atheism and is not the type who’ll have a civil discussion, I might use it.

  • I wouldn’t have frozen. I would have just started walking away. Crazy lady can keep walking if she wants to pray over my (non-existent) kid.

    That’s my general rule. Just keep walking. Don’t say anything, don’t make a scene. Pretend like you didn’t hear them. They simply don’t exist.

  • Mountain Humanist

    She was likely mentally ill so the mother probably did the right thing by simply moving on. This was not someone who was going to persuaded that this kind of behavior is socially unacceptable. If the parents had stopped or rebuked her, she would have simply blamed Satan for “blinding them to the truth.”

  • How is that a reason not to shop at Wal-Mart? If it had happened at the Apple Store, would it be a reason not to shop at the Apple Store?

  • That’s why you need to teach your baby to turn her head around 360 degrees and spit up pea soup whenever anyone prays.

  • I live in Missouri, where it’s not unreasonable to assume most people are Christian. But then I live in University City, MO, where it is nowhere near as likely. Ours is a very mixed community. So far the worst it has been is people saying “bless you” and I just pretend I didn’t hear.

    But if I had a child with me and the person started coming at the child, I suspect my protective instincts would kick in.

    And as to handing me a tract or a token, I say, “don’t waste your money” and hand it back.

  • Reminds me of when I was 17 weeks pregnant with my second child. I went to the emergency room because there was blood in my urine and I’d been fighting a urinary tract infection that was only getting worse. The on call doctor at the ER was a complete quack, and after asking me to “show him where it hurts” when I explained I had blood in my urine, he finally decided that I was miscarrying (although I had no symptoms of impending miscarriage or fetal demise.) and proceeded to take hands with the two nurses, who placed their hands on my belly. The three of them stood there praying that God would “accept” my unborn child in heaven, and comfort my husband and I through our loss. I was absolutely stunned, as they never even asked if I was comfortable with such a thing occurring nor had they actually verified that my child was dying or dead. My husband still jokes that perhaps some crazy guy had snuck in a back door to the hospital and was just pretending to be a doctor.

  • Anne

    I’m with the majority here. I’d just treat them like any other crazy. Smile and back away.

    Last week someone came up to me in the gas station and gave me a “1,000,000” bill. He seemed a little deficient so I smiled and thanked him. Then he told me “there are Bible verses on the back”. At that point, I kind of laughed and said, “No thank you. I’m an atheist so I don’t care to have that,” and handed it back. He just took it and walked away looking shocked.

  • @Cole: Since it’s your “second child”, I assume you delivered successfully?

  • Red

    I think I would have done exactly what she did, and walk away, leaving the woman to her praying all alone.

    Freak me out those Christians!

  • Polly

    I agree with the mentally handicapped/psychiatric comparisons. That lady sounds like a loon. I’d try and keep it all reaalll cool as long as there’s no physical contact.
    If we ever have a kid, it’s a no-brainer that it will be “prayed over” eventually. Possibly even by its mother, who knows?

  • mspeir

    I would appreciate the woman’s good intentions–if she had any. I’ve known people like this. Scratch the surface and you often get somebody who’s out for self-aggrandizement rather than good-doing. They want to impress on you their “in” with God, making them a cut above the average Joe and Jane Doe.

  • Depressed Atheist

    Who cares?

    Do what you want.

    Do what makes you feel good, as long as you don’t get arrested.

    We are all worm food in the end.

    The illogic of my fellow atheists is astounding, acting if it matters a damn what we do.

  • Wendy

    I think Kelly did the right thing. Insane as it may be, everyone has the “right” to pray over whatever they want to pray over… It’s best not to cause a conflict, say an insincere thank you, and walk away. Just walk away.

  • TheDude

    Just look at them and say, “Go home, open your Bible, and read Matthew Chapter 6, verses 5 through 7”

    5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

    That’s bound to shut them up and let you get by them. And if you’re really lucky, they’ll take the words to heart and never bother you again.

  • ZenMonkey

    I agree with Wendy generally. In this case I can imagine it would be kind of scary to have anyone start going to pieces publicly over your kid, for whatever reason, religious or otherwise. Or Cole’s story is something that would make me very uncomfortable if it happened to me.

    But the headline made me think more of people who, when they know I’m going through hard times, say “I’ll pray for you,” and when I say “thank you,” I am sincere. Not because I believe their prayers will directly influence what happens to me, but because I believe what they say translates to “I care about you and you will be in my thoughts.” It is a positive statement of support.

    Just because their caring involves God does not make me any less appreciative of it…as long as it’s done appropriately and not like the above stories!

  • She did the right thing. In the same situation, I would have politely smiled, said thanks, recognizing that the woman had good intentions toward the child, and walked away so as to avoid embarrassment. Just because Christians don’t know any better doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad people. She thought she was doing your child a favour. No harm no foul. And trust me, debating with every Christian you meet is an exercise in futility. As much as I’d like to think we (atheists) were educating the public, the truth is that sometimes the public is dangerously opposed to being educated.

  • This is why God invented pepper spray and rape alarms. OK, perhaps that’s a tad extreme but there is nothing wrong with saying “What are you doing?” when the crazies come to town. I takes some practice to get the right tone of disdain in your voice but it is really worth it.

  • I think if some nice lady offers candy to your baby, you have every right to stop her. The same goes for prayer.

  • I would have done just as Kelly did–walked away–quickly.

  • “Who cares?

    Do what you want.

    Do what makes you feel good, as long as you don’t get arrested.

    We are all worm food in the end.

    The illogic of my fellow atheists is astounding, acting if it matters a damn what we do.”


    I’m sorry, but every one of my “troll” flags just went up.

    Where have I heard these arguments before? I’d almost bet my posting rights that this is some troll pretending to be an atheist.

    If this person is really an atheist, s(he) needs help. Do what makes you feel good, as long as you don’t get arrested? That is moral poverty. This straw-man atheism is clearly the product of non-atheists. I can’t believe that this post is entirely forthright.

    I call POE.

  • TheDeadEye

    Depressed Atheist Says:

    Who cares?

    Do what you want.

    Do what makes you feel good, as long as you don’t get arrested.

    We are all worm food in the end.

    The illogic of my fellow atheists is astounding, acting if it matters a damn what we do.

    Ding, ding, ding!! My “Christian pretending to be an Atheist” alarm just went off. 😛

  • 7fta

    It’s interesting. A few months back a business acquaintance came by the house while my wife and I were in the midst of a crisis. We did our business and I told him what was going on and he offered to pray for me. I respectfully declined and he was fine with that. Usually though if someone comes to the door, JW’s for example, I listen to their spiel, accept their magazines and then toss them in the trash(the magazines). Mormon missionaries are the best though. We found out last summer that they are willing to do just about anything if given the opportunity. I got about 2 tons of rocks moved in my backyard and it only cost me a couple glasses of iced tea! Told them before and after the job that I was firm in my unbelief. Same two helped a friend move cross town too. I don’t know how to tell those mormons though not to pray for me after I die.

  • RobL

    Only crazy people argue with crazy people. Smile, nod, and walk away.

    It’s not the crazy people in the parking lot that cause the problem, it’s your semi rational friends and associates that cause the dilemma. When my kids are exposed to superstitions nonsense by people whom I don’t really want to offend for business or other reasons I just spend some time later in private explaining why what was said was garbage. I love having debates with my religious friends who I know can deal with it and are open minded but I just see no point in arguing with people whom you have no chance of influencing. It’s just a waste of emotional energy and I think your kids learn more if you don’t make it about confrontation. Secular kids need to be taught how to succeed in a world filled with religious nonsense which means accepting and ignoring a certain amount of garbage and learning how to work productively with people who are religious.

  • I think walking away is perfectly valid. But if you wanted to say something, I think it would also be reasonable to say, “Please don’t do that — we don’t share your faith.” (You don’t have to get into why exactly you don’t share their faith, or the fact that you don’t share any faith: the message that their faith isn’t universal is the crucial one.)

    But I would also encourage anyone who felt comfortable doing so to say, “Please don’t do that — we’re atheists.” The single most important thing atheists can do to help our movement is to come out, as often as we can, to as many people as we can. I would never presume to tell someone else when it is and isn’t safe and appropriate to come out. But as a queer, I rarely let people get away with the assumption of heterosexuality: I almost always gently and politely correct them. I think we need to be doing the same about our atheism.

  • Oh, and re Depressed Atheist: Is there some sort of converse of Poe’s Law? “Any believer trying to pass themselves off as an atheist with a ham-handed parody of atheist beliefs will be almost instantly recognizable”?

  • medussa

    This reminds me of a similar dilemma I had in my family. My beloved grandmother passed away after a very long battle with alzheimer’s. She had been a church goer, and fond of her church community, although I don’t think she was ever a devout believer.

    I later found out that my mormon cousin had paid her church to posthumously baptize her into the mormon faith, and had further paid even more to have my grandmother posthumously married to another dead mormon, all so Grandma would achieve eternal happiness married to a man she never knew in real life.

    I just about hit the roof when I heard about this. It seemed so disrespectful and condescending, as if Grandma hadn’t had the sense to make her own valid choices, and to do this to her without her consent, and what about the husband she had been married to for over 50 years, etc, etc.
    And then it finally dawned on me that Grandma didn’t give a damn, she was dead and buried, and I was the only one who was having a cow. The only people this benefited were my cousin (feeling self-righteous) and her church’s coffer.

    I’m still deeply annoyed at my cousin, and I suspect she’ll pay her church to do the same for me after I die, but I now just treat her like others suggested above: like a crazy lady. I treat her gently, and keep her at arm’s length, at least while I’m still alive. And after that, I don’t really care.

  • atomjack

    Beyond the fraudulence of claiming dead people as members, it’s all superstition. I’ve been lucky enough to only have some roman catholic mummeries uttered over me or my kin. But 60% of my current family is declared atheist. There’s hope yet.

    Depressed Atheist- we’re ALL worm food, or more precisely, bacteria bits and/or fungus foodies, because the bacteria and fungi eventually even get the worms. You’ll just have to deal with all those atheist peops not worshipping your stripe of xtianity. And I’M not depressed. Once I got over the “trauma” of admitting that I didn’t believe, I was quite relieved, actually.

  • Dave

    Wendy, I don’t agree that anyone has the right to pray over anything they want to, in the physical sense of ‘over.’ They can pray over all the inanimate objects that they like, but no right can exist to pray in a public and exhibitionist fashion over another sentient being where that being ends up being caught up as the focus of the exhibitionist display.

    Also, no-one has the right to touch another person without that person’s permission. And even if a right to publicly demonstrative prayer exists, so does the right of the prayee to disengage and walk away, without thanks, excuse or having to hang around politely until the ordeal is over.

    I like Greta Christina’s take on it – act to reject the offered prayer with as much (polite) force as you can personally handle.

  • Todd

    I’m always leery of anyone who is demonstrably religious in public. It’s the laying of hands part that should have raised a huge red flag to get the baby as far away from this person as possible. It doesn’t sound like the lady actually attempted to touch the baby, but perhaps that was because she didn’t get close enough. Whatever the case, it’s one thing of some says, “I’ll pray for you,” which should elicit no more than a groan. It’s quite another thing to have someone make threatening gestures towards you or your children, which could be deemed a assault.

  • Desert Son

    How do you think she should have handled it?

    “Thanks. That reminds me: need to buy bananas.”

    No kings,


  • My first reaction here was to say, “no big deal.” We all know that prayer is silly, and can have no effect. So what if someone wants to offer a prayer?

    Upon further reflection, however, that is not the whole story here. This wasn’t just someone offering a harmless prayer: “God bless your child and keep her well.” This woman was chanting and bouncing. She was obviously more than just your average believer. She was clearly a complete nutcase, and, best intentions aside, it can be impossible to predict what a crazy person will do. I would not have felt comfortable in that situation, and would probably have intervened by physically stepping between my child and her accoster.

    On another topic…

    Dear “Depressed Atheist,”

    You are painfully transparent, and your silly strawman argument will fool no one but your fellow delusional Christians. You lead me to yawn.

  • medussa

    I find myself mystified by Depressed Atheist:

    If you are really an atheist, and depressed about it, why aren’t you trying to get help for your depression instead of posting inane, angst ridden, and empty statements on this blog?

    And if you’re a christian lurking on atheist websites, and you have to artificially create comments that reflect your skewed view of atheism, then haven’t you already admitted defeat in your intent to prove us hopeless and helpless?

    Clearly, the posters here are neither depressed nor hopeless, and you are the only one expressing such sentiments. Maybe that more accurately reflects on your faith?

  • zoo

    Agreed, medussa. I am a depressed atheist (though not about being one) and sometimes I feel hopeless, but I still don’t think like “Depressed Atheist” talks. It strikes me that this sort of stereotype often blatantly ignores all the people of faith that are also depressed.

  • medussa

    You see, now THAT’s what I’m talking about. Zoo sounds like the real thing.
    No angst, no whining, no teenage inanity.

  • @ t3knomanser .. Yes, I carried to term (39 weeks, 1 day), despite the doctor’s divine wisdom that I was miscarrying. The little heathen just celebrated her second birthday. 🙂

  • Kayla

    I would just say immediately, “Stop that, please.” And walk away. There’s no need to cause a scene, but there’s no need to force my child to go through such a thing.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    [methinks the Comment Moderator is chewing on my comment…]

  • ‘Tis simple. Just say: “Ma’am, are you quite all right?” while looking askance at her.

  • Rachel

    Everyone is different and we learn to respect all sorts of people on our way.

    This is a little out there, but I think the bottom line is that she just liked you and wanted to do a nice thing for you, And praying was what she knew best. May not be so high on the social-intelect scale to do that right there, but its just one of the many diverse types of people we encounter.

    Christians and many other religious folk believe in doing good thingts simply for the sake of it, not in the pretence of converting anyone, be it practical or spiritual. I don’t see anything bad in it, it’s just a lifestyle they choose to lead.

  • Thom

    I’m the husband in question (that sounds distinctly odd, given the circumstances), and I need to underscore the facts of the case (crazy lady, walmart, praying) by adding that we live in fundie-obsessed Upstate South Carolina (home to the Bob Jones Mockery of Academia)… causing a scene was definitely NOT an option, given that we like our limbs affixed as they are–not as some sort of bludgeoning instruments of Christ’s enduring love and compassion at the hands of some scripture-spouting walmarter:)

  • TXatheist

    I would have laughed, seriously. The only way I wouldn’t have if it was a friend of ours and then I’d be wary of our friendship. If it were the poster, depressed atheist, I’d just ignore him/her.

  • R9

    Random strangers wanting to pray is kind of weird – tbh the case linked sounds unusually theatrical but still in general i’d rather they didn’t.

    But if it’s friends or family or something then… let them pray if they want.

  • Who cares?

    Do what you want.

    Do what makes you feel good, as long as you don’t get arrested.

    We are all worm food in the end.

    The illogic of my fellow atheists is astounding, acting if it matters a damn what we do.

    This has got to be a sock puppet. This comment is a classic caricature of what a Christian imagines goes on in the mind of an atheist.


  • Artharaja

    The response would need to be very specific to the situation. Few parents will not feel pleased on being complimented at how sweet / smart their child is. Much would depend upon the spirit in which the subsequent benediction is called upon the child. If I notice the slightest evangelising tilt, I may end up being curt. But otherwise I would probably just shrug it off as this person’s way of, say, doing a ‘warding the evil eye’ gesture.

  • I think efgoto makes a good point. If a buddhist or shinto person walked up to me and handed me something asking me to pay some respect to a custom of theirs, I would not want to be disrespectful.

    The difference is that I never have those people walk up to me asking such things. Is it because I live in overwhelmingly Christian America, or because certain sects of Christianity are pushy?

    All things considered, if I had my wits about me, I think I would try to politely decline. Stating that I don’t believe in something is my right.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    [arrrg; methinks 8 links in a comment is no good]

  • Mountain Humanist

    I just thought of the perfect reaction (although it could be embarrassing — yet hilarious).


    Woman begins to pray over the child.

    Parents INSTANTLY START TO SCREAM in a guttural tone using lines from “The Exorcist” and others (“NOOO! WE CANNOT FIGHT the power of Christ! AAIII! We MUST leave these earthly hosts and seek new heathens to possess!”). Parents shake some more (spittle is even better) and thank the woman for driving out the demons that had possessed them.

    And just before they leave? “Nah, Just kidding demons have never existed and neither has God.”

  • wilzard

    Subscribed just to post.

    I have had something similar to this happen on a bus before. My son of 2 1/2 was sitting next to me, between my wife and i. A religious woman got on the bus and sat in the seat opposite.
    After trying to talk to us about jesus, she got upset we were ignoring her and stretched her hand out towards my son.
    I smacked her hand away and told her we don’t allow strangers to touch our son.
    She looked shocked and angry but she went and sat in a different spot on the bus.

    I would never tolerate someone praying or touching my child.

  • teammarty

    When someone tries to “bless me” after a sneeze or just in day to day life, I usually just say “no thanks” I’ve gotten some flak on this, often from atheist friends who tell me “YOu take your damn atheism too far.” I’m just supposeed to take it and smile. But there is an extent that it is a public show of accepting religion.

    Strangly, the friend who was most accepting of this is a very catholic friend who would bless me just out of habit and after I told him, he apologized later. We often have discussions about religious issues and he is very liberal (I often suspect that he went back to the church in part to push it to the left).

  • Tom

    The story describes a person who, if I encountered them, I would think was insane. I don’t believe sane people go around loudly praying over random other-peoples’ children in stores.

    If I had a child, I would not want an insane person near my child, there’s no telling what they might do. (And before anybody gives me a lecture about being insensitive to the mentally ill, I will point out that I have a mentally ill stalker who tried to kill me several times during my childhood and eventually murdered a member of my family.) So, if this happened to me with my (hypothetical) child, I would take my child and walk away very quickly as soon as the person started their prayer thingy. And I would hope that would be the end of it.

    If she pursued me, which I think is unlikely, I would shout, in a clear and very loud voice, “Stay away from my baby!” and if that didn’t deter them, I would start screaming “Help! Help! There’s a crazy person who wants to hurt my baby!” and run out of the store as fast as I can.

    Quite frankly, I don’t people would see me as “evil atheist making a scene” so much as they would see me as “parent trying to protect his child from nut”. But if asked for an explanation, I would state that she approached my child and started shouting and jumping up and down and “reached for my baby!” …And that would be the end of it. No civilized person would take issue with me running away from her.

    It is one thing when some nut wants to pray about me. No big deal. But when somebody tries to do something weird around a baby, it’s time to protect the baby, not worry about manners.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Oh well, fuck the supporting links…


    @ Greta Christina,
    Here are the names I’ve found for that which you spake:

    — Brownian’s Corollary to Poe’s Law
    — Anti-Poe
    — Reverse Poe [the most popular result]
    — Retrograde Poe’s Law
    [as well as “Guisers” and “Eop’s Law” (but not as precise)].


    Anyway, as for the praying lunacy mentioned in this post, I’d just walk away before the crazy woman had finished her bugnutty ritual. (her eyes were closed, anyway) To put things in perspective, Xians should imagine how they would feel if someone started performing a Satanic/Islamic/Hindu/Norse/etc. ritual on their baby.

  • Julia

    My husband and I have taken to shouting theatrically “DON’T LOSE YOUR SOOOOULLLLL!” instead of “bless you” when we sneeze. I’m hoping it will catch on. 😉

  • AnonyMouse

    I don’t care whether it was “harmless” or not, I would not want to stand there silently while someone makes a Jesus-scene over my baby. Maybe I would ask her to stop, or maybe I would just walk away – I don’t know. But there’s a thoughtful prayer, and then there’s a crazed religious ritual.

  • anonymouse

    This is a personal space and safety issue. I do not have kids but I would want to tell that woman to get the hell away from my child and me. VERY loudly.

    Saying someone will pray is one thing. It sounds like she was making a scene all her own.

  • CybrgnX

    Point at the woman with the hand in the shape of a fork and speak deep klingon in a forceful manner. When she looks at you tell her you said a klingon curse to nutralize her jesus curse.

  • Krystal

    I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post, since this is more of an atheist community, I just wanted to voice some of my thoughts on it.

    Wow, I’ve never seen that happen. I’m pretty sure if I myself was confronted (is that the right word? I’m going to go with it) by a woman praying vigorously for my child and adding to the fact that I didn’t know the woman, I’d be a little more than put off. Short of using my cart to blockade her whilst I make my escape 😛

  • Yoo

    Like some others, my first thought when reading about the situation was that it was a safety issue (“some nut is being crazy around my child!”) rather than about religious disagreement. No idea how I actually respond, although getting away from the scene feels like the right thing to do in the abstract.

  • John Sconz

    Instead of saying “bless you,” my wife and I say, “Yay Darwin!” This simultaneously celebrates the natural origins of the sneeze, while flying in the face of superstition.

  • Flonkbob

    I would have done the same thing I do when the loonies come to my door. I would say “Go away. I don’t believe in your Sky Fairy, and if I did I’d rather go to Hell than spend eternity with a nitwit like you!”

    As you may be able to tell, I don’t mind making a scene. I hope I do offend these self-righteous idiots. And more important, I hope anyone around me will take the message that not everyone buys into this insanity.

  • Kevin

    Come on. Everyone is missing a powerful opportunity here. That lady needed to be lead to the meat department so that she could help you wave a dead chicken over the baby and chant with you.

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