I was really hesitant to mention this more than a single tweet, but Pharyngula picked up the story, so now I feel oddly obligated to comment.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post in reply to Pastor Tom over at Hard Truth who seemed to think atheists were taking over the internet. My reply got fairly popular at reddit (athiesm + internet humor + being female = reddit success, apparently). Unfortunately, this resulted in a hoard of atheists visiting his posts to leave comments with varying levels of trollishness, which pretty much solidified his beliefs that atheists were indeed taking over the internet (good job, guys). He wasn’t happy with this, including with me:

“A blogger on www.blaghag.blogspot.com also felt bashing me was worth her time yesterday. (I didn’t see her name on there) While she wasn’t nearly as hateful as the first blog I mention, she still did her best to minimize me for my beliefs.”

Really, I was bashing him? Minimizing him for his beliefs? I invite you to go read my original post and look over what I said. Probably the worst thing I said is that his post was “both silly and intriguing,” and then proceeded to disagree with him. Of course, if I’ve learned anything from talking to conservative religious people, it’s that disagreeing with their beliefs is probably the most offensive thing you can do.

Then he picked up the comic I drew about PZ and Ken Ham’s epic battle in the Creation Museum. I’m a little peeved that he posted the whole thing without my permission, but at least he linked back to my blog. His post was so bad that I didn’t even want to bother replying to it – literally every single sentence had something worth arguing with, and it wasn’t worth my time. I’m really not interesting in debating people who are obviously so set in their beliefs. But the very last paragraph really got to me (emphasis mine):

“And just so everyone knows, I will be [at the Creation Museum] when the thundering herd shows up, and I plan on talking to them and interacting with them as much as they will allow, and if they lie on their blogs, I’ll be right here to point it out. So PZ, I can’t wait to see you, Jennifer, and the rest of your loyal subjects, and that’s the HardTruth.”

To be honest, this scared me. No, not the cheesy ending of “that’s the Hard Truth” after every one of his posts. Generally when random uber-conservative evangelical internet strangers say they’re going to find you and meet you, that causes a healthy paranoia in a person, especially a 21 year old female. Especially when said female was just angsting about how her overprotective father didn’t want her to get hurt by religious crazies during her trip. I didn’t want to blog about my fear, since it seemed like he read my blog, but I did tweet it:

First theist just called me out and said he’s going to personally meet me at the Creation Museum. A little freaked out. http://bit.ly/EJZ58

And…then he found my twitter account and commented:

“@jennifurret C’mon Jennifer, no need to be freaked out. I just want to say hello.”

Yeah, sorry, that kind of freaked me out more. I mean, it’s not like he stalked me – my twitter feed is clearly placed on my main page. But the way I read “I just want to say hello” in my head was really not helping to assuage my fears. I told myself to think positively about this. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt: normal, kind person until proven scary.

Me: I’m going to tell myself he’s just a nice preacher man with a family
Mark: So a rapist and a pedophile?*
Me: gaaaaaaaahhhh shut up shut up
Mark: I’ll be around, don’t worry.
Me: Great, my protection consists of a Jew, a gay, and a girl gamer. That sounds like a bad joke.

I really don’t think Pastor Tom is a bad guy – I know he reads my blog, so I don’t want him to take this post the wrong way – but I think you can understand my nerves. I’m a new blogger, and I’m always a bit paranoid about how what I say here can affect my every day life. And I’m not going to the Creation Museum for a big debate. I don’t want to roam the exhibits trying to refute everything and annoy the other patrons. I just want to have some chuckles with my fellow nonbelievers and get my photo taken riding a Triceratops. I am a bit proud that I was singled out in the same sentence as PZ – what an honor! That gained some applause from my club members yesterday, and according to a Pharyngula commenter I have now elevated to the status of Unholy Woman. Woo!

I’m still excited for the trip this Friday, but I think I’m going to be moving myself to the center of the herd.

*I really shouldn’t have to put this disclaimer here, but since this will probably be read by religious people…no, my friend Mark and I do not think all religious people are rapists and pedophiles. He was making a joke just to freak me out more.