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"The Little Girl" - Big Insult

"The Little Girl" Lyrics (new window)

Normally, I am a big fan of country music. I was raised in Houston, Texas, and spent at least a few evenings each year at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, watching some of country's best stars in concert. Even some some of the "rising stars" before they were big. Many of my fondest childhood memories are of driving around in the car with my parents, all of us singing to our favorite songs.

But a few days ago I heard something on my (normally) favorite radio station that hurt me and angered me at the same time. The lyrics for this song are provided at the link above, but the main gist of it is that a couple of atheists have a child, who is a sad little girl because her parents are unbelievers. The father is a drunk, and the mother is a druggie. The song continues on through, having the father commit murder/suicide in a fit of drunken rage, and the child goes to new parents, who send her to church. In Sunday School, she recognizes a picture of Jesus as being the man who came and held her the night her parents died.This song should be panned by any thinking consumer

Complete trash. Okay, the singer here, John Michael Montgomery, is obviously a Christian. Fine. Wonderful. He wants to share his beliefs through his music. Admirable. He chooses to disparage one of the few groups in this country it is still safe to publicly insult and denigrate. Disgusting.

I realize that Mr. Montgomery probably did not intend to insinuate that all atheists are drunks, drug addicts, or bad parents. At least, I sincerely hope that this was not his intention. But the song definitely gives the impression that we, as atheists, are not suitable to be parents.

If you think I am over-reacting, imagine something for me for a moment. Pretend that instead of explaining how the parents were atheists in the opening segment, he had described them as African-Americans. Now imagine the uproar that would have ensued, and the fact that no radio station would have dared to air the song. In fact, no one would ever have written the song, because it would obviously have been racist and completely inappropriate. It would have been especially inappropriate in a song meant to convey the peace and love of Christianity.

If it is unacceptable to publicly denigrate and insult African-Americans, why is it any different for atheists? This song should be panned by any thinking consumer, as it perpetuates the old tired myths of atheists as immoral, wicked people. People who should not be allowed to have children, or as one former president said, should not be considered citizens.

As this website struggles to show, atheists can be, and most often are, good moral people. Atheists raise their children with love and caring just as frequently as theists do. And some might argue that atheists instill in their children greater critical thinking skills, and a greater sense of self. I won't say that is necessarily the case (because I was raised by theists and I possess both of those things in abundance), but it is certainly no question that children raised as skeptics learn good skills.

I have written an e-mail to Mr. Montgomery (which I have not received a response to), detailing the arguments made above. I hope all who read this rant will consider doing the same. It is important that we register our complaint in volume, or we will never be heard. I am saddened at this most recent sign that the world has not yet moved on enough to embrace diversity amongst its people, and I hope that someday things like this will be reviled by the general public. As much as I love country music in general, and much of Mr. Montgomery's music specifically, this should not and cannot be tolerated.

Kim Shultz
October 6, 2000

E-mail John Michael Montgomery


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