You'll have to bear with me here, while I set this up.
A few weeks ago, my cousin (not Doug from Atheist Nexus, another cousin), emailed to ask if she and her son could stay at our house overnight, as they had to attend a wedding nearby.
"Sure!" I said, despite the fact that we don't know them all that well and it would mean me having to give up my bed and make a two hour round trip to my nephew's house to pick up an inflatable bed for me to sleep in.
Last week, I get another email saying, "Oh, we've decided to come for two nights."
"Sure!" I said, and went out to buy enough food and wine and nibblies to feed them for the extra time.
After they arrived, I offered to pick them up from the reception if they'd drunk too much to drive home.
11.40pm last night the phone rings, "Can you pick us up?"
"Sure!" so out I go out and make a 50 minute round trip in the rain to pick them up in the middle of the night.
So, this morning, we're watching a panel discussion on television on the subject of religion and politics. During the weekend it had been made very clear to my cousin that my Mum and I are both atheists. Nevertheless, every time something was said about Christianity she spoke out in agreement, saying, "Yes! That's right! Absolutely!"
I bit my tongue until someone on the television raised the question of morality and ethics.
"Absolutely!" said my cousin, "Love, and caring and morality and ethics and compassion - they all come from God. They're all Christian attributes. If people don't believe in God, there wouldn't be any morality."
At this point my eyes bugged out of my head. Who the FUCK had given up their bed, toiled all day in the heat to make up nice clean rooms, fresh beds and bathroom for them, cooked their meals, bought wine, and chauffeured them around at midnight? Oh, yes! That's right! The non-caring compassionless immoral ATHEIST!
Still, I maintained my temper until she started on about homosexuality.
"God made men and women," she said, "And sex is only supposed to be for procreation."
"So," I said, "You never took the pill?"
She looked at me, puzzled.
"You only ever had sex so you could get pregnant?" I said.
She still looked at me blankly, but then said, "Well the Bible says that homosexuality is wrong."
"Yes," I said, "and the same Bible says that you should stone your disobedient children. Did you abide by that too?"
Another blank look, then, "Oh, well, it depends what part of the Bible it's from."
Then I lost it. I remember being in her face and saying something along the lines of, "Nasty, nasty, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, misinformed garbage!" before I said, "That's it! I'm outta here!" and stormed off to calm down. I was so angry I was white and shaking and my heart was pounding out of my chest.
I did calm down, somewhat, and returned to the lounge room. She came over and apologised for upsetting me. I told her that, as an atheist, I found it unbelievably offensive that she would suggest I had no love, compassion or morality because I did not believe in God.
She said, "Oh, I'm sorry if you took my comments that way!"
I said I was prepared to leave it at that, and things settled down. But I'm still bloody fuming. If it hadn't been for Mum, I think I would have thrown her out. How RUDE! Grrrrrrrrrrrr!