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Mark W. Bradley: My Daughter, the Apostate

My Daughter, the Apostate

A Father’s Lament at his Child’s Enlistment in the “War Against Religion”
By Mark W. Bradley

I was shocked and dismayed beyond words the other day to discover that my own beloved daughter, the filial fruit of my loins, has been enlisted as a soldier in the vast swarming army of Godless atheists fiendishly plotting to smother the last dying gasps of religion here in America. This melancholic revelation was not something I learned of through, say, malicious family gossip or a poison-pen letter slipped into my mailbox at midnight by a scientologist neighbor I barely know. No, this untoward utterance issued forth from the mouth (or rather the keyboard) of the blasphemously blogging Baal-worshiper herself. Truth be told, ever since she took on the urban terrorist persona of , I’ve lived in constant fear of just such an outcome. Still, my morbid anticipation did little to cushion the staggering blow to my solar plexus. I am, as you can imagine, emotionally debilitated.

Mollie was, after all, raised in a devoutly religious household. Our family were strict practitioners of the original “Old Tyme Religion” - Fundamentalist Scandinavian Polytheism. The deity to whom our ancestral clan-grouping owed its traditional allegiance was Svenhart the Sword-wielding Berserker of Mercy, but during my early youth, I found my true calling as a high priest of Thunderbolt-thrusting Thor, Creator of Bloody Stumps. Over time, the god opened my heart, and I began to read the Nordic sagas (especially Beowulf) with a new and faith-based understanding. I adopted Thor as my personal deity, dropped out of junior high school, and started my own polygamous family.

Eventually, after eight arduous years of neighborhood plundering (not to mention the entrail-reading of other people’s pets on the sacrificial altar of a specially-constructed plywood temple in my basement), Thor came to me in a thunderous and terrifying dream. His scarlet mane and braided beard were as the fiery flames of an Icelandic volcano, and he bestrode the heavens on the back of a man-devouring osprey clad in silver chain-mail and golden helm. With the ear-splitting voice of a thousand tornadoes he issued unto me commandments that I was loathe to refuse, lest I be cast from Valhalla into the Pit of Doom.

When I awoke that night (on the eve of my twenty-first birthday) drenched in a cold sweat, I immediately bestirred my nine-year-old daughter and five-year-old son, and the three of us began the nocturnal felling of dozens of telephone poles in our small-town with which to build a Towering Temple of Thor’s Testimony in the driveway of a local Unitarian minister. Upon completion of the tower, I allowed my darling Mollie the honor of climbing up the seven-story façade and crowning the structure with a double-headed bronze battle-ax engraved with the words “He Will Crush the Bones of Little Children with a Wave of His Bloody Hand”…I will never forget the look of pride on that angelic face, awash as it was in the brilliant blue of Pictish woad, even as I watched it get smaller through the rear window of the ambulance that transported me away from the scene and toward my new lodgings at the State Hospital, where I spent several confusing and turbulent years…

But never mind that. Part of the disappointment I feel at my daughter’s recent fall from grace stems from the fact that she adhered so faithfully for so long to the somewhat unusual (but surprisingly mainstream) religious values I painstakingly instilled in her. This, of course, in contrast to my treacherous son Charles, who (at the tender age of thirteen) inexplicably fled the bosom of our family as we toured Norse religious sites in Sweden. In a willful act of disregard for the wishes of Odin, that obstreperous ingrate declined the prestigious honor of ritual strangulation and posthumous submersion in a peat bog, preferring instead the coward’s way out - a cheap bid for political asylum! I tell you, you try to raise your kids right, you give them all the advantages you never had, and in the end they turn right around and kick you in the teeth…

But enough of my personal tribulation. What all these trials have taught me is that religious faith is the foundation of a truly meaningful life. I’m just sorry my wayward children have lost sight of that timeless truth. Now that they’ve made a conscious decision to join the forces of atheism, I can only view them as mortal enemies - minions in the army of darkness arrayed against those us who remain steadfast in defense of institutionalized religion.

In that light, and in spite of our superficial differences, I call upon all God-, goddess-, and gods-fearing people of faith to join in a united defense of our collective religious principles against the overwhelming onslaught of Agnosticism, Atheism, and all other forms of insidious godlessness that threaten to swamp our sacred churches, our sacrificial ziggurats, our monolithic stone burial chambers, and our mysterious crop circles in an unholy tidal wave of secular rationalism…


Mark W. Bradley is a schoolteacher and political satirist in Sacramento, California. He can be contacted at:

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