I mentioned an idea I've had for a very long time. I call it Atheist house,
And yes, its directly making fun of the Christian "houses" where children are sent to be abused for god. As a child, I was often threatened with being sent to places similar to "Grace House" from the movie "Saved!" or those boot camps kids get sent to where so many children died they had to move from places like Utah to South America to avoid prosecution. I was also threatened with being left abandoned at an orphanage. Threats like that were common even when I was 15 years old.
I'll be honest, maybe you guys will think it’s a crazy idea, maybe you really don't care (I think everyone reading this will care though), or maybe you'll think the idea is unrealistic or simply not a place we as a community should be focused. I think it’s important though, and I'll admit I may be biased I think the world needs places where people can find meaningful help.
The United Methodist Church
When she was 15, she told me she was an atheist. I was not shocked. I was not emotional. I just rolled my eyes and smugly said, “Well, God isn't finished with ..."
-The first google response to googling the phrase "Atheist House"
My idea for Atheist house I think is fairly simple. It's a nonprofit dorm style living accommodation that provides several basic services for anyone seeking refuge from religious abuse (I chose these words very carefully).
1. Shelter (aka a place to sleep safe and off the streets)
3. Support (in the form of counseling assistance with finding employment etc.)
I don't see a need for direct financial support at this stage, though i could be oversimplifying things, I think most would prefer a stable footing to make their own way in the world. So, the support and goals would be geared towards helping people be fully self-sufficient know how and where they can find socialization and emotional support (those who leave Atheist house are always welcome to come back and talk, and encouraged to come back and mentor as well).
One of the reasons for my careful wording before is I don't think this not for profit should exclude religious people from our aid (if they want our aid). It would exist to assist with all people seeking refuge from religious abuse. This could include a Muslim or Hindu that has converted to Christianity or vice versa. along with people who come out as Atheist. I think also any who come out of LGTBI that face abuse from religious family should also be given access to assistance. The idea would be a clutch resistance movement against religious abuse wherever it exists, with a focus on religious abuse within family structures. Some might think calling it Humanist house or Secular house would be more appropriate thus, I think Atheist house is best as it tells the world that Atheists are willing to take a stand against religious abuse even if that means giving compassion to people who are still religious. I think this is a value most Atheists have, we care about humans and just because someone is religious don't mean they are less human.
For support, there can be various group support meetings where people can share experiences with others who've had similar experiences. We can work with local religious institutions to offer services based on any religious resident's need's as well, however clear guidelines for those we work with must be in place. My fear would be some religious person trying to guilt some poor child BACK into an abusive situation they were trying to escape, I've known religious people who try to put kids back with their sexual abusers. This can't be tolerated.
All residence are there of their own free will, and they receive services based on their requests for them. No one can be forced to stay against their will, or forced to take services to accept other services. (Like having to go to a prayer group to get food after kinda shenanigans that a religious aid group might pull) I think they only exception to that would be regular check ins with a councilor to ensure their needs are being met, and that safety health and wellbeing are maintained for all involved.
The goal of course would not be permanent enslavement to the home, but rather a stepping stone to full independence and healthy meaningful lives. I would hate to see time limits placed on people, but I think a clear goal should be set and all services should be provided with a clear path leading to full independence. Given my personal experiences I expect most people seeking aid would be between the ages of 16-25 but I have no data to back that up, I'd love to see some studies done I know for a fact religious abuse continues long into adulthood for most who are subjected to it. No one can replace a family, and I don't think it’s healthy to copy the "church family" mentality, however we are a community with responsibility to ourselves and each other and the greater secular (mixed faith) communities of the world.
I like firebrand Atheism, I think it’s important. I also think it’s important to fight religion in other way's too (specifically religious abuse). I think in time an openly Atheist charity that supports humanity and fight's abuse could receive donations from religious people as well, that would be one of the highest signs of success to me. The highest sign of success would be the freedom of young people from religious abuse and the freedom nightmarish hell they are forced to face every single day.
I have ideas on structure, daily lives, goals, ensuring a save and healthy environment and other topics but well this is quite long already maybe I should divide it all up into different blog posts.
Please share your thoughts, even if you think it’s a terrible idea. The more feedback the better.