I will probably be forced to sit through illegal and unconstitutional prayers at my daughter's public university graduation ceremony in SC this week. A religious friend told me, "You don't have to join in." This struck me as being similar to telling rape victims to lie back and enjoy themselves. I'm curious if my fellow strong atheists find the expression "Prayer Rape" too offensive, about right, or not an accurate analogy.
The sense of violation when you are stuck in a public meeting with an authority figure speaking on your behalf and offering thanks to some god(s) you don't believe in AND find to be toxic for the better functioning of society, is very uncomfortable. From a linguistic point of view, rape (From Latin. 'to seize') seems to be a good term.
I think we will do better in debates over public prayer if we have a more forceful expression than 'it makes me feel uncomfortable.' Any suggestions?
These people should be required to sit through other religious prayers so they can understand what it's like. They should especially be required to sit through Muslim prayers. I'd like to see that happen and interview them afterward.
David, I actually had to once sit through a service at what I refer to as a "Whoop and Holler" church for an anthropology class. (Former Catholic here where you kept your mouth shut during services). I wanted to yell out, "You've got to be sh#tting me!" A mosque would have a been a relief after that.
Ian, as to referring to a forced service as "Prayer Rape," I suppose it depends on the context. If it's a private school, with no State or Federal funding (and I would be amazed if there were no government funding), I guess they can do whatever they please. A State institution is something entirely different. In the context of coming to Jesus as being a voluntary act, with the concomitant threat of hell if you don't, I once likened that scenario as the same as referring to rape as "unilateral voluntary consensual sex."
Does sitting in a restaurant (or coffee shop) with a group of old friends while a former classmate-turned-minister intones a long, embarrassing "blessing" over the food count? I was the only one at the table who didn't bow my head. (At least he didn't insist we all hold hands as one does during a seance.) By the time he finished, the soup was cold.
I wanted to ask him why he didn't give thanks to the farmers who produced the food, the chefs who prepared it, and the servers, too, but I was too chicken.
"It makes me feel violated" would convey what you're describing pretty well.
Rape is not a good term for it, because it doesn't compare to the physical sexual assault of rape that can damage a woman for the rest of her life.