Christian neighbors decide to vandalize atheist’s cactus plants…

Because, you know, that’s what Jesus would do, right? A snippet from Kazim’s Korner on the incident:

So I rang the bell and greeted them in as friendly a manner as possible, all smiles. I reintroduced myself to the woman and asked if she perhaps knew anything about the chopped plant. Despite giving me a fairly frosty reception, she invited me in and called her husband down. I had a seat on their couch, they took positions opposite me, and the husband had his arms folded the whole time and a very sullen scowl on his face.

Yes, he cut down the agave. I received a lecture on how dangerous it is to the neighborhood kids, and all sorts of gruesome scenarios about eyes being poked out. But what struck Ginny and me as weird later was when we realized that they hadn’t cut any of the spines facing the sidewalk—only the side on the street. (Again, see the picture.)

They then went on to lecture me about the general awful nature of our yard. Now, our yard may not be the most beautiful and well-kept in the neighborhood, but it is mowed regularly and there are quite a few houses that look worse than ours. I’m not a gardener myself, and I’m really busy with school, but I think Ginny does a reasonable job with it.

I took all this politely and said I understood their concerns, and is there anything else? Then we got into the bumper stickers. The wife said several times that they “make her sick” and she is very angry that we disrespect her religion. That she could never be friends with someone who doesn’t “share her values.” That she is firmly set in her beliefs and would never change them.

I said I don’t want or expect her to change her beliefs, I have never asked her to. I don’t proselytize to people who haven’t approached me about the subject. And while I sympathized with her feelings, the very fact that she is willing to announce that the bumper stickers sicken her is unfortunately one of the chief reasons why we feel the need to express ourselves in this way. That Christians—not you, I stated—feel that it’s acceptable to go door-to-door inviting people to their religion, and that we are expected to keep quiet about our opinions because they are supposedly offensive. We are sad that you view our bumper stickers that way, but we see it as a small but legitimate exercise of our free speech.

His wife has her take on the story as well:

t wasn’t an act of kindness or neighborly caring that drove this man to mutilate my poor agave, it was an act of a bigot who holds nothing but disdain for us because we believe differently from him. He is a Christian(the kind that gives Christianity a bad name) and we are atheists. In his mind he has all the justification he needs to break the law by not only trespassing, but to vandalize as well, because we don’t matter as far as he is concerned. He views us as the lowest of the low and we don’t deserve to be treated with respect.

For the record the cops were called, but they decided not to press charges against the neighbors or even have the cop give them a warning. While it’s commendable that they decided to turn the other cheek, so to speak, I can’t help but wonder if the fact that they weren’t at least reproached by the officer will be taken as a sign that they are free to vandalize again in the future. I suppose the police at least have it on record now in case the neighbors decide to practice their particular variation of Christian morality again in the future.

Links found via The Friendly Atheist.

10 thoughts on “Christian neighbors decide to vandalize atheist’s cactus plants…

  1. But what struck Ginny and me as weird later was when we realized that they hadn’t cut any of the spines facing the sidewalk—only the side on the street

    Because they might scratch the SUV- Pedestrians can fuck off and die.

    They then went on to lecture me about the general awful nature of our yard.

    Why should they care? People have no right to force the hand of others, particularly over something so trivial (and hence they might resent doing), and especially when they have other pressures on them

    That Christians—not you, I stated—feel that it’s acceptable to go door-to-door inviting people to their religion, and that we are expected to keep quiet about our opinions because they are supposedly offensive.

    I don’t even see how it’s offensive to anyone other than a bigot. People only tend to get offended if they deserve it, because they haven’t made the mental effort to tolerate the situation and restrain their emotions

  2. Why should they care? People have no right to force the hand of others, particularly over something so trivial (and hence they might resent doing), and especially when they have other pressures on them

    You’d think so, but I recently had some asshole neighbors of mine call the cops because I had let the yard get a little unruly. I work third shift, for god’s sake, and it’s hard to mow sometimes.

    I was actually told that (thanks to these worthless busybodies), if I didn’t mow it in three days, the county was going to send someone out to do it and charge me seventy bucks. Seventy goddamn dollars! I could get a 13-year-old to do it for ten!

    I was left thinking “How is this the right and proper use of government power?”

  3. That’s at least better than having your plants hacked up without so much as a warning.

    While I can sympathize with your plight what you describe isn’t all that uncommon. Most towns have some ordinance dealing with proper lawn care on the books so they can force people to clean up their yards if they need to. It covers everything from grass height to leaving junk around the yard. Growing up in the Hillbilly section of Pontiac Michigan I can’t count the number of times a neighbor was visited by the city for having car parts scattered around their yard. One of the families across the street practically had their own mini-scrap yard in their backyard.

  4. You could kill the grass with some kinda chemical/fire to stop it growing, if the neighbors threaten you do the same to theirs at a time they won’t expect it so that they would look guilty too and so wouldn’t call enforcement, and hopefully wouldn’t have proof.

    You could also damage your own garden and claim it was a certain neighbour who did it, so you have a counterclaim should you need it

  5. I’m surprised the asshat neighbors didn’t try to make the connection between agaves and tequila and claim their children might spontaneously harvest the fruit and making the good stuff in the basement with it.

    If I was them, I’d uproot the agave, and plant a real cactus with really big, pointy spines.

  6. I think this is trivial. Dear, (this couple who had their cactus trimmed safely so it doesn’t hang over onto the road and also…their plant is on public property since it’s on a strip of grass between the footpath and the road)

    The fact that the plant was on the strip of grass between the footpath and the road suggest that it is most likely not trespassing nor vandalism.

    Maybe to that individual plant, ‘it’ may have felt vandalized?

    It seems someone has trimmed the leaves that was overhanging onto the road, which seems logical, and seems like what any neighbor might do. It could have been from across the street, someone who didn’t want to confront you about it?

    Filing a report, pressing charges? Now that’s a big waste of police’s resources…
    I read the blog, btw if you’re assuming they wont eat your cookies (that “rock”) then it seems you are not prepared to approach this positively lol

    Religious differences aside, it’s no big deal. However, it seems you’re trying everything to make this into a big deal. Posting it in blogs, forums, reporting to the police. LOLLLL at you guys.

    Yours sincerely…

    laughing uncontrollably

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