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Atheist Parent Shuts Down Babysitter’s Request To Pray With Son After His Leukemia Diagnosis

A young holds his hands in prayer while kneeling in a field

Religion is a hot-tempered topic.

It always has been, but lately, it feels like any discussion of it will lead to a dispute.

Wars about the freedom of religion have raged for generations.

And clearly, there isn’t an end in sight.

Something as simple as the act of prayer can set off some emotions.

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and faiths.

Case in point…

Redditor WorkingPush6167 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for telling our sitter not to pray with our son?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Our 8-year-old son Owen was diagnosed with leukemia.”

“His prognosis is excellent because it was caught early, and he’s an excellent candidate for BMT and was quickly found a match.”

“However, the treatment has been brutal, and it should go into maintenance by fall when he starts the 3rd grade.”

“Unfortunately, he can’t really play with other kids because his immune system is compromised.”

“We’re lucky that we have a sitter who can be a playmate and a caretaker who isn’t a parent if I or his mom can’t be there.”

“Someone who knows how to dispense his meds, bathe him, follow dietitian guidelines, and keep him entertained.”

“The other day, our sitter asked if it would be okay to pray with Owen.”

“I was taken by surprise because, in the few years that we’ve known him and worked for us, he’s never mentioned religion.”

“I thought he was Mormon because he has five brothers, and his family looks like they’re from the 1950s.”

“I’m a closet reluctant atheist, and my wife is agnostic.”

“Our kids go to a private Catholic school mainly because of its academics and extracurricular activities, and it’s mostly secular.”

“If our kids want to follow a religion, then that’s up to them as adults.”

“Our sitter knows this.”

“I told him I’d rather have him take care of Owen.”

“I believe prayer is bulls**t like Bigfoot, and no need to make Owen feel like a prayer is going to cure his cancer.”

“That’s false hope.”

“I said he’s free to pray for him, not with him.”

“Ever since then, things have been awkward between us.”

“I think I offended him in some way by declining a prayer.”

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.

“OP actually said these claims to a religious person’s face and then was confused why they seem off with them after.”

“YTA, 100% unequivocally.”

“I’m a through and through atheist. No one will ever convince me otherwise.”

“But I also understand just how important religion is to people in so many ways, and I would never in a million years try and put down and mock someone’s religious beliefs just because they don’t align with my own beliefs.”

“That was an absolutely disgusting thing to say OP. You need to say sorry immediately.”

“As a parent myself, my heart honestly goes out to you regarding Owen OP.”

“I can’t even begin to imagine the sh*t you and your brave little soldier have gone through and still continue to go through.”

“I can understand your ill feelings towards the idea of praying to a ‘God’ that would have allowed this to happen to your son in the first place.”

“But come on, you must understand that what you said was below the belt and warrants an apology at the very least.”  ~ Wrong_Midnight_1618

“Even as a very vocal atheist who is anti-religion, I wouldn’t have said that to the sitter’s face.”

“I would have just said, don’t do this religious activity with my child.”

“I mean, I work in a retirement home with people that come there to die.”

“Nearly all of them are religious. They pray, they tell me that god blesses me, etc.”

“All the ridiculous baggage that comes from ‘faith.'”

“Do I tell them they’re stupid? That it’s all nonsense?”

“That I don’t believe in superstition and irrational things? Hell no.”

“When they’re dying and ask for me to pray with them, I reach out and hold their hand, and I put on my very best college drama class attitude, and I f**king pray with/for them.”

“And I invoke whatever magical sky daddy they believe in, and I tell them they’re safe and loved and on their way to a blissful afterlife.”

“It’s nothing to do with ME.”

“It’s what they need in their time of death.”

“So yeah. There are times to straight up ignore your personal religious feelings and do what is right.” ~ Helen_A_Handbasket

“OP, YTA. As an atheist myself, I never went to a believer and said to their face that it’s all bulls**t.”

“I keep that info to myself, and I rephrase it into something much more polite.”

“All you had to say was something like ‘Thank you, but no, we would prefer if you didn’t as we have a different approach to spirituality in this household.'”

“I may not believe in a God, but I also have no right to take a sh*t on other people’s beliefs.”  ~ Prize_Crow1396

“YTA. I agree!!”

“I believe differently than so many people, but I still say Grace, bow, take my shoes off, I am a Godmother, attend service when visiting family members, and participate in life events in other faiths alongside my family and friends!!”

“You don’t have to believe to be mindful of kindness.”

“Even people in Faiths and Religions that I find demeaning and abusive.”

“Not every person believes all tenants and teachings.”

“Nor do I have the inkling to tear their beliefs apart and make them prove it.”

“I respect them by sitting alongside them, holding their hand while they pass, or smiling at their events and blessings!!”

“And I even feel cared for when they pray for me!!”

“Prayer to me is being mindful of the person in need!!”

“I do understand how you should offer guidance of an adult praying for a child.”

“That’s opening the door to questions and beliefs that the child may grasp and get the notion that prayer alone will make them healthy, and it could become an issue.”

“I disagree with so many things but can so very easily show respect for the person and what their Faith means to them!!”  ~ Thatsjustbananas

“YTA! As a Christian, this is an expression of love.”

“Many people take it as an annoyance, which logically I understand… Christ said the world would take it like crazy and would make everything to make us seem unreasonable.”

“However, what this person wanted was to make sure your son has a happy ending, regardless of what happens to him here on Earth.”

“Not wanting that is within your right, so is refusing his request.”

“Saying something like what you said totally isn’t.”

“You seemed entitled and eager to mock him while he had the best intentions.”

“I really hope your personal feeling don’t get in the way of letting your child decides what he wants, especially if it makes him better, hopeful, or happy.” ~ Pribd

“Yeah, that context was critical cause if they just thought it to themselves and only said to the sitter that they didn’t feel comfortable with it, then I’d said it might be no a-holes here.”

“The fact the sitter asked is totally fine and respectful.”

“Even if things might have seemed awkward, it might not be an a**hole response, just them taken back a bit.”

“But no, OP 110% YTA here.” ~ Tiki108

“YTA. He was polite in asking. You were an a**hole when you said how religion wasn’t real.”

“A simple you can pray for him but not with him would have sufficed.”

“He did not ask for your opinion on religion.” ~ GWeb1920

“YTA. It’s weird that you have him in a religious school that 100% teaches religion on some level and prays every day, I’m sure.”

“But you aren’t comfortable with someone else praying with him?” ~ Theteaishotwithmilk

“YTA. You have someone absolutely irreplaceable for Owen right now, and you needed to die on this hill?”

“Someone who cares for him wants to try to help him in a way that is almost completely harmless, especially since you send your children to a religious school.”

“So you already have to explain that some people believe different things and that they can make up their own mind as they see fit.”

“The caregiver is not a robot.”

“He probably is struggling like anyone would be to care for a very sick little boy.”

“A**hole move, apologize, and try to fix this, or your son may lose his only playmate.” ~ AllCrankNoSpark

“Atheist here, and YTA and a rude one.”

“There was no need to go about it the way you did.”

“Maybe he thought you were religious because HELLO, you pay to send your son to a freaking religious school.”

“Which is odd.” ~ caryn1477

Well, OP, Reddit has some issues with your response to the request.

In the end, your kid, your rules.

Maybe next time, a little less vitriol towards the ask.

Everyone is entitled to their feelings on religion.

But just a simple, kind no would go a long way.

Good luck to Owen for a speedy recovery.