June 17, 2014

Proselytizing Mormons Peeking in My Windows

A door in Topkapi palace
A door in Topkapi palace (Photo credit: j0sh (www.pixael.com))
My feelings about the door-to-door proselytizing in which many evangelical fundamentalist Christians engage are extremely negative. I tend to interpret these knocks on my door as an invasion of my privacy. When I am home, with the little free time I have, the last thing I want is to do is interact with evangelical Christians. When they come knocking, it feels intrusive. And in spite of everything I have tried, I continue to receive occasional visits from Southern Baptists, Mormons, and Jehova's Witnesses.

I've done more than enough complaining about proselytizing, so that won't be the focus of this post. Instead, I want to address how many of these Christians behave when they come to my door.

I figure that I should have the right not to have to open my door for anyone, especially if I am in the middle of doing something and do not want to be disturbed by something so ridiculous as someone's religious beliefs. Thus, I often try to ignore the knocks. I assume that the person who knocks will leave when I do not answer the door. Unbelievably, I have found that this is almost never what happens. Time-and-time again, these Christians continue knocking, knock louder, and ring the doorbell repeatedly. On a couple of occasions, they have hit (or kicked) my front door so forcefully that I thought it might result in damage. And just last week, I actually caught a pair of Mormons peeking in my windows!

When the Christians keep knocking, lock louder, and start ringing the bell repeatedly, it becomes clear that they are not willing to take no for an answer. They do not respect my desire to be left alone. Not only are they disturbing me, but they are making it so ignoring them is not a realistic option. As their behavior escalates to the point where it becomes disruptive (e.g., loud persistent knocking) or blatantly inappropriate (e.g., peeking in windows), it seems that they are inviting confrontation.

I'm not proud of this by any means, but this is usually the point where I fling the door open and unleash a barrage of profanity. I don't enjoy doing this at all. I know some atheists who say that they love this, but I'm not one of them. I usually feel guilty afterwards. But in this sort of scenario where they have disturbed me and make it impossible for me to ignore them, I feel that this response is justified. Since it is clear that they are not respecting me, I feel little obligation to extend them any courtesy whatsoever.

Some of the Christians who go door-to-door claim that they are compelled to do it and that they are doing it for my benefit. I don't buy this. But even if I was willing to do so, I fail to see how either this or any sort of religious freedom allows them to be a nuisance about it. They can come to my door and knock if they wish, but I should have the right to not answer the door. When they refuse to give up and leave or do something as inappropriate as peeking in my windows, they are inviting trouble.

When the Mormons who recently came to my door knocked initially, my plan was to ignore them. The knocking became louder and louder, and they rang the doorbell several times in rapid succession. Perhaps they were taking pleasure in upsetting my barking dog. As this continued, my level of anger went off the charts and I moved toward the front of the house. I was still not planning to open the door, but I wanted to make sure that they were not doing any damage. That was when I saw that one of the two Mormons had left my front porch and was peeking in an nearby window while the other had his face pressed up against the glass in the front door. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Not only were they not leaving, but now they were looking through the windows and the one on the porch was starting to pound on the glass.

I threw open the door at that point. I was yelling, but I had just enough self-control left not to threaten them or call them names. I told them to "get the fuck off my property" and made it clear that I had seen them looking through my windows. I wasn't remotely polite about it, and I didn't give them an opportunity to say a word. Somehow, I still managed to feel bad about it afterward. I hope that they think twice about doing that to someone else, but I doubt that will be the case.

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