Image by Ivan Makarov via FlickrThis one is from Mims, and it will make you proud of him and sick with rage at the same time (or maybe that's just me).
I had a disturbing experience at work yesterday. The relief agency I work for hosted a seminar on strengthening fathering skills. The presenter was working under a federal grant aimed at strengthening the family under the theory that the family is the core institution of our society, and keeping families together will improve our society. I have no problem with this concept. Nor do I dispute the idea that fatherhood is an important role that a lot of men, including me, could use a little more training in.
I had received little notice on this seminar, I was told when I arrived at the office at 7am that the seminar will take place at 10am and that some other agencies were sending representatives.
The presenter showed up at 10:45, having apparently forgotten about the appointment. When he arrived, he started a rambling introduction to the program he was running to help fathers improve their skills. It seemed ok when he was talking about the skills he was attempting to impart. When he started talking about the federal program, my jaw hit the floor. He said he was part of a Christian attempt to infiltrate government with Christians and that groups like the AFA were behind the attempt.
Before he could go on much farther, I asked him if the antics of Gov. Sanford of South Carolina, Sen. Ensign of Nevada, or numerous other good Christians going back to Newt Gingrich, are examples of this infiltration. You'd have thought I slapped him on the face. He started sputtering about how these guys were phony 'Christians' (yes, he did the air quotes) and not true Christians, how, yeah, there were too many sinful air-quote Christians in government, and then he started on a rant about Bill Clinton. Then he realized he was on dangerous ground and asked if we had a screen for his power point presentation. I went with my director, a committed Christian who is equally committed to keeping her federally-funded work within our secular non-profit organization well away from any religious involvement, to get the screen. She just said to me (she knows my world view), "He was on very dangerous ground there. I am glad you slapped him down."
The rest of the seminar was a joke. He was obviously unprepared, both in his organization of materials (none of his power point worked) and in his presentation of the program. He said his funding was ending soon, and it did not look like it would be renewed. The 'strengthening families' program apparently had three components - his fatherhood training, a motherhood training, and an 'abstinence only' sex ed. component. He said that he had mainly done the training in jails, as the public schools had not allowed him to present, and even local churches would not let him present because the program is federally funded.
We served lunch after the 'seminar'. The presenter realized how badly it had gone, and undoubtedly blamed me in large part. I know he was pretty surly and unappreciative of the fact that I sat down next to him to eat. I tried to engage him in conversation about prison work, which I have some experience in, but he was pretty intent on his salad, and unwilling to communicate much. Some of the other people at the table were totally clueless about what had gone on, and were asking him questions which he knew he could not answer honestly with me sitting by him.
If the whole thing had not wasted two hours of my time, time I could have been devoting to helping people in need solve their life problems, I would be much happier about clipping this asshole's wings.
Subscribe to Mississippi Atheists