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Jun 24, 2009

Thoughts on Carri and Religous Refugees

Of late, I have been following the story of Carri Chmielewski.

Carri is a fundamentalist christian, quiverfull woman, whom was pregnant with her 9th child and was planning a UC (unassisted homebirth) birth. I had been following her blog on and off for quite some time: she was an extremely creative person and I enjoyed reading about her projects etc.

Unfortunately it ended tragically, when she suffered Amniotic Fluid Embolism (AFE), lost her son, and nearly lost her own life.


For more details on the story, you can go to No Longer Qivering, and Salon.

I found this whole story just horrific. It was like watching a car wreck: you knew something was going to go wrong: at best she didn't even know whether it was twins or not! The midwife should be investigated.

There has been huge online debate about the situation...Which has lead into some interesting, open conversations... with a wide variety of people including fundamentalists. It's an interesting mix when snarkers and fundamentalists meet!


I ended up writing to one of them:

I have often wondered what people still in the movement think of cases such as
ExQ84 and mine (we are pretty similar except I wasn't involved with Gothard:
left because of similar abuse type issues: and I know many others that had the
same problems with it).

I recognise and appreciate that many in the movement aren't the same people as the people that brought us up. But, I have heard of too many cases (Approximately 90% of the families I knew growing up have since seperated due to abuse issues), where systematic, long term physical, emotional and sexual abuse has occurred, and where the belief system has backed it up (for just one out of many examples it was spanking with a fibreglass rod that my father had made especially for that purpose). And they (well in my Mother's case with the spanking) well and truly thought they were doing the right thing: even though I recieved welts and bruises from the thing....

It was just a really unhealthy way of living, particularly in
families where the fathers already had control issues. The "head of the
household" ideal created a scenario of systematic abuse throughout the church:
from ministers to deacons, to the congregation.

And the real kicker was that we appeared so "fantastic" so "together" to everyone else: to other members of the conregation, to the "worldly".

Now, like I said, I am not saying that your particular family, or even your wider church community, are involved in any of this, but it does and is still happening in others. And now (just like any strict religion) there is a huge wave of people best described as Quiverfull/Fundamentalist refugees: second (sometimes first) generations whom have left and now have nothing: and know nothing about intergrating back into "normal" society: and whom struggle to do so for years to come: true, some find a middle ground, but I know many (including myself) whom have completely left any form of religion because our experiences with it have been soooo twisted: that need to do so because it would be emotionally unhealthy for them to return to any sort of religion.


I guess I am really interested in the phenomenon of the "religious refugees": particularly quiverfull/fundamentalist ones. And since being involved with No Longer Qivering in particular, I have realised there are a lot of them out there: particularly from the 'second generation'.


These are people that are trying to intergrate themselves into a community they have had little to no experience of, and in some cases have been taught since birth to shun at best, hate at worse. They are truly refugees to what we would class as 'normal' society: no different to any other sort of refugees (whether it through envirnomental, war, famine etc): a overwhelming culture shock to anyone. Throw into the mix the fact that some of these have been abused: and you end up with intergration picture that might take years, or even a lifetime...

But still it is interesting... :)

3 comments:

Calulu said...

It's quite an interesting debate and I'm afraid those still in the fundamentalist lifestyle aren't exactly acquitting themselves very well.

Anonymous said...

Please contact me

Princess Jo said...

Anon: Look I would love to contact you, but you have to leave contact details.

Thanks.

Jo

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