Help! Help! I'm being repressed! (Dennis the constitutional peasant, Monty Python & the Holy Grail)This is a seriously “WTF” story. Almost as if in support of the notion that religious people tend toward stupidity (something I’m not saying, although I just blogged about a meta-analysis that suggests so), we have this truly insane story. The Associated Press reports via ABC News that a devout Arizona family had to be rescued in the Pacific Ocean after they went adrift (WebCite cached article):

A northern Arizona family has survived being lost at sea for weeks after an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion.

Hannah Gastonguay and her family will fly back home Sunday after taking their two small children and her father-in-law and setting sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.

Weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile.

The article explains how their little trip to Kiribati went awry. This family ended up adrift in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, far from any land and off of usual navigation routes. They were lucky they’d been discovered by a fishing vessel and didn’t perish at sea.

The reason they made this perilous trip? They were persecuted, you see:

Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church,” she said.

U.S. “churches aren’t their own,” Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.

Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being “forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.” While federal law bars public funding for abortion, state attempts to block Medicaid funding for organizations that provide the procedure have met with legal hurdles. Opponents say that funding allows those groups to perform abortions.

The poor little things. They’re so oppressed!

I’ve blogged many times previously about many Christians’ claims that they’re being persecuted here in the ‘States. They aren’t, as anyone with half a brain knows. The reality of their status is summed up elegantly and succinctly in the following graphic:

'Help! I'm being oppressed!' / sublate, via Flickr

‘Help! I’m being oppressed!’ / sublate, via Flickr

That said, I do understand why they say this. It’s part and parcel of the psychopathology of Christianity. The founder of their religion was killed for his preaching, and his apostles were killed because of him, too. They largely can’t help themselves but wish to be persecuted for their faith just as Jesus and the apostles were. I really do get that.

But if you need any further evidence of how devastatingly harmful this kind of delusional thinking can be, consider that the Gastonguays barely survived their compulsion to flee “persecution” that’s not even going on.

Any more questions? I thought not. Glad to have cleared that up.

Photo credit, top: Based on Monty Python & the Holy Grail; middle: sublate, via Flickr.

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  • atg101

    Ok, the fact of the matter is I know Sean, I helped with his boat. I was there when he left. I talked to him on the phone yesterday. The original article is BS. The "religious persecution" bit was sooo low on the list of "reasons of why they left", it really shouldn't even be mentioned… But as we all know the media lies to fit it's agenda..
    http://www.azfamily.com/news/Ariz-man-speaks-abou

    • Here's my question to you: Are the quotes cited by Ms Gastonguay correct? Did she say she and her family felt persecuted? Or did the AP reporter fabricate those words and they never came out of her mouth?

      If she actually said those things, then the cold fact is, their belief they were being "persecuted" played a role in their flight from the US. They or you can insist otherwise, but it's factual and true. If she never said those things, then the AP owes them … and everyone else … an apology. And the Gastonguays may well have grounds to sue for defamation.

      I've dealt with reporters myself and have never known one to outright fabricate a quote. I'm skeptical enough not to assume it's impossible; of course it might happen. That said, until I hear evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume the quotes are accurate or very nearly so. Accusing reporters of fabrication is pretty serious, I hope you and the Gastonguays realize that.

  • Mike Jach

    Isn't being found adrift on a tiny boat in the middle of the ocean rare?

    • Not if you give up waiting for God to save you and finally decide to radio for help.

      • mike jach

        I don't think they had a working radio on board.

        • According to Sean Gastonguay himself, they did:

          So he decided after 66 days at sea to call for help, first being picked up by a Venezualian fishing boat which soon transferred the family to a Japanese cargo ship.

          My thanks to the other commenter for providing this insight.

          • Mike Jach

            Ah yes, the article where I read about this didn't mention that part. Here's a video of the guy telling about it all… http://www.azfamily.com/news/Ariz-man-speaks-abou… … He makes it out like he thought he could still possibly continue the journey even the storms.

          • Re: "He makes it out like he thought he could still possibly continue the journey even the storms."

            I thought the same thing. It's as though he considered his boat fracturing to be "no big deal." These people are seriously, and dangerously, stupid, not to mention ignorant and oblivious. Their hyperreligiosity is tiny compared with their monumental idiocy.

  • behaviouralsciences

    The article explains how their little trip to Kiribati went awry. This family ended up adrift in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, far from any land and off of usual navigation routes. They were lucky they’d been discovered by a fishing vessel and didn’t perish at sea.

    sources: http://behaviouralsciences.net