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Graceful Atheist Podcast

Graceful Atheist Podcast

By David Ames
A secular humanist podcast about Secular Grace after deconstruction and deconversion.

The podcast takes an honest look at stories of faith transition from a life-altering faith, to doubt and deconstruction, to deconversion, and finally, to a thriving graceful life post-deconversion.

My name is David, and I am trying to be the Graceful Atheist. Join me and be graceful human beings.

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Deb is Done
This week’s guest is Deb. Deb “asked Jesus into her heart” at six years old and remained a devoted follower of Jesus for decades. She married her high school sweetheart, started a family and found herself living the missionary life on the continent of Africa. As the years passed, Deb’s faith was tested—praying and watching children die on two continents, her husband pointlessly fired from their church, meeting different types of Christians and the reading of diverse books. Deb had more and more questions about her lifelong faith. Today, Deb’s spirituality is one that stays curious and open to new thing, no longer holding tightly to any one creed. Her story is a beautiful one filled with compassion and love and a desire to meet people wherever they are. She is truly living out secular grace. Interact For quotes, recommendation and more see the full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/06/26/deb-is-done/ Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:01:27
June 27, 2022
Ruby Gets Real
This week’s guest is Ruby. Ruby is an author, blogger and YouTuber, living her journey out loud for the benefit of her followers. Lutheran to her core, Ruby spent her life committed to the institution of the Church. It took multiple heartbreaks and difficulties in life before she began to wonder, “Is any of this true? Is any of this real?” She threw out the formal church experience first. Then, through her impressive consumption of non-fiction books, she was able to be rid of the Bible and finally Jesus. Now, Ruby’s life is all about love and kindness toward her fellow human beings. As far as supernatural beliefs, she looks to “the flow,” of the Universe. She’s able to define god in her own terms and her life—and the lives around her—are better for it. Links Poetry https://thepreciouspoet.blogspot.com/ What do I believe? https://thepreciouspoet.blogspot.com/p/what-do-i-believe-may-7-2022.html Book blog and recommendations https://rubygetsreal.blogspot.com/ Atheistic Lent https://authenticlent.blogspot.com/ Interact For quotes, recommendations and more see the full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/06/19/ruby-gets-real/ Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Post on satisfaction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/01/19/i-still-havent-found-what-im-looking-for/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:14:06
June 20, 2022
Arline, Marissa and Raven
Community manager, Arline, guest hosts. This week’s guests are a couple of fabulous black women who’ve come a long way in their journeys away from white evangelicalism. They’ve known one another for over a decade and their conversation is both information and so much fun. Marissa grew up in church and loved it as a kid. As a college student, however, she found herself in a ministry that was a little bit “culty.” And then as an adult she watched all the white friends she’d served alongside fall for a new savior, Donald Trump. Raven grew up in a “culturally Christian” home but dove head-first into campus ministry in college. By 2012, when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, she began to see whiteness, not Jesus, as the true god of people she’d known for years. Marissa and Raven are currently in different spiritual places but neither can go back to the Christianity they knew as young adults. Their lives are freer and fuller than they’ve ever been before, and they see that it is good. Interact Full episode show notes including quotes and recommendations https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/06/12/arline-marissa-and-raven/ Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:06:37
June 13, 2022
Dave Gossen: Agnostic and Done
Our guest this week is Dave. Dave grew up in the Mennonite Brethren faith and followed all the rules until at age 50, a gift from his son made him begin to ask questions. Dave’s love for his family and a desire for truth are equally apparent in his story. He asked hard questions and was never given satisfying answers. Knowing he had to tell his wife about his waning faith, Dave feared the consequences. Fortunately, Dave and his family have chosen to turn toward one another in love. It has been a trying journey for Dave, but he knows that pursuing truth and loving the people around you give life purpose. Interact For quotes, recommendations and more see the full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/06/05/dave-gossen-agnostic-and-done/ Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
56:15
June 06, 2022
Elizabeth: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Elizabeth. Elizabeth grew up in what she calls a “Methodist Baptist” church, mostly Methodist but with more conservatism and even some charisma thrown in. Elizabeth loved church as a kid, but as a teen, things were harder: purity culture demands, a youth pastor leaving abruptly and even a camp with exorcisms. Looking back, Elizabeth sees a theme: The parents did little to help the kids feel and be safe. After graduation, Elizabeth went to a Baptist college where she met (again!) and married her now-husband. When adversity hit, trying to expand their family, they saw their Christian friends’ true colors. Throughout a difficult pregnancy, crying out to God, Elizabeth thought, No one is listening and no one is coming to save me. She continued hoping, though, only to be let down again and again. Church people will not support you and no god is coming to save you. Elizabeth sees that it was here. She was the strong and resilient one all along. She bore the load, the emotional, physical and mental weight. No one—neither supernatural or human—showed up to help. Now, on the other side of faith, Elizabeth has her immediate family and a strong community of friends, diverse people walking alongside her. She no longer looks to the sky for help, but knows she has all she needs inside her and right around her. Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/29/elizabeth-deconversion-anonymous/ Review: Hell is the absence of God https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/06/04/review-hell-is-the-absence-of-god/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:13:06
May 30, 2022
Shannon: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Shannon. Shannon’ story delves into the emotional experience of deconversion. Shannon grew up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, where the teachings were pernicious. As a teen and into adulthood, Shannon knew her own beliefs and convictions did not always align with her church or family. She tried to be who they wanted her to be, but her decisions were never quite enough for them. Over the years, she slowly, like “mental velcro,” ripped out the only beliefs she had known. Where her family couldn’t hold space for her questions, her husband could. It was a hard journey, but she wasn’t on it alone. Today, Shannon misses the certainty she used to have, the path laid out in front of her with easy answers. But she is able to see the world with new eyes—the glory and majesty of nature, the wonders of scientific inquiry. It has changed her for the better, and she isn’t looking back. Recommendations Thought Experiments For Believers https://gracefulatheist.com/2018/12/03/thought-experiments-for-believers/ Deconversion How To https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Review of Hell is the Absence of God https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/06/04/review-hell-is-the-absence-of-god/ After Life trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIGGKSHMQOM The Invention of Lying trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhRnmyBjOLs Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/22/shannon-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:18:47
May 23, 2022
Seth: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Seth. Seth was the oldest child in a large homeschooling family who attended attended mostly non-denominational churches. He was always studious and had read through the Bible multiple times before adulthood. In high school, Seth made his faith his own and dove deeply into Youth Earth Creationism. He studied at a state university and a few years after graduation began work at The Creation Museum. While living near the museum, Seth was introduced to a fringe religious movement he describes as “Messianic Judaism meets evangelicalism meets conspiracy theories.” In the Hebrew Roots movement, Seth discovered teachings he’d not encountered before and some doubts began to creep in. Over the next year, Seth continued to experience conflicts between YEC and Hebrew Roots. The two ways of thinking were at odds—flat earth or round, scientific cosmology or the broken body of a leviathan? By 2020, Seth realized he was an atheist, no longer able to convince himself to believe again. Recommendations Books Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari Youtube Paulogia Viced Rhino Godless Engineer AcapellaSciencehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydqReeTV_vk Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/15/seth-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
55:31
May 16, 2022
Anne: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode. This week’s guest is Anne. Anne grew up in a loving and happy Christian home in a large city where her father pastored a small reformed church. As a teen, her faith was very real to her, and a few years later, she attended a Christian college, but struggled mentally and physically. Anne left that school and attended a Bible college, but she quickly realized she would be excluded from most ministry opportunities because of her gender. After a short and sometimes insulting experience in children’s ministry and then a sickness that went on for man years, Anne felt like God had “benched” her, but she continued praying and hoping. Over the next many years, Anne’s family met one obstacle after another—toxic or cult-like churches, physical and mental illnesses, Christians backing Trump and even loved ones passing away. Finally, she couldn’t take any more. “I couldn’t hear from God…I couldn’t worship. I couldn’t hypnotize myself with the piano. I couldn’t do anything…[I was] done.” Then during the Pandemic, Anne read a single book that made her stop and think for a moment. Then, her questions started coming and couldn’t be stopped. From the outside, it may seem like Anne’s deconversion was quick, but she had given God plenty of time to reveal himself. Recommendations The Lasting Supper Deconversion Anonymous Harmonic Atheist MythVision Bart Ehrman Darkmatter2525 Holy Koolaid Books #AmazonPaidLinks Jesus & John Wayne by Kristin Kobes Du Mez https://amzn.to/388uqxl Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/08/anne-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:29:35
May 09, 2022
Ursula Schneider: Leader, Seeker, Artist, Woman
This week’s guest is artist Ursula Schneider. As a child, neither her charismatic church nor her unstable home were safe for her. There was a lot of mental illness at home and Ursula often felt abandoned by the church. Their family was simply “too much.” Ursula grew up, married young and began going to church again. As an adult, she needed something real to her. She saw that something in the women at church, so she dove right in—daily prayer, bible studies, women’s retreats, all of it. But Ursula kept bumping up against a certain church doctrine: women cannot teach men. She was a gifted leader and teacher but church after church kept her out of the pulpit. At the last church she attended, Ursula faced the greatest challenge yet to her faith. Over the span of a few months, she and her husband went from being well-respected leaders to losing their entire community. Ursula went through a depressive state and cried out to God, but no answer came. Over the next few years, Ursula would make beautiful art, write for herself and continue to question her religious beliefs. Since leaving, Ursula has dabbled in other faiths, wondering if any will fit her. Nothing has yet, but she is learning and growing as a whole person. She no longer has to squash part of herself or silence her own curiosity. Ursula’s art and writing empower others to exist as their whole selves in the world and to see beauty and inspiration in the world around them. Ursula Schneider art exhibition through May 25th 2022, at D&R Art Gallery and Studio in Tucson, AZ. Links Website https://www.ursulaschneider.art/ Personal FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/ursula.d.schneider/ Business facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ursulaschneiderart Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ursula_schneider_art/ People can also email me at ursulaschneiderart@gmail.com Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/05/01/ursula-schneider/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:10:01
May 02, 2022
Andrew Pledger: Religious Trauma Awareness
CW Mental health and depression This week’s guest is Andrew Pledger. Andrew has spent nearly his entire life in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church—where the KJV rules and women do not. Andrew was homeschooled K-12 with a mildly white Christian nationalist curriculum, no sex education and no diverse friendships. For years, Andrew’s mental health suffered, but there were no resources for him. He was told that he wasn’t “reading the Bible enough” and “needed to get closer to God.” In college, Andrew knew he needed professional help but at a fundamentalist Christian college, there was only “biblical counseling”. The first two years were excruciating. Eventually, however, with a little community and a lot of research, Andrew took his mental health into his own hands. He started asking difficult questions about the Bible, and it was not long before the foundations began to crumble. Since leaving Christianity, Andrew has lived out secular grace. He is spreading awareness about toxic religion and working toward becoming a religious trauma therapist. His personal experience of freedom compels him to help others find the same freedom. Links Instagram https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/ Josh Harris Interview https://www.instagram.com/tv/Ca–9vFAxqs/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= Photo Series https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/guide/religious-trauma-photo-series/17999363926411608/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y= Website https://4ndrewpledger.mypixieset.com Link aggregator https://liinks.co/4ndrewpledger Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/24/andrew-pledger-religious-trauma-awareness/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:29:30
April 25, 2022
Robert Peoples: Affinis Humanity
This week’s guest is Robert Peoples of Affinis Humanity. Robert grew up in a Black Baptist church in New Jersey. When he was young, he enjoyed church but was an inquisitive child with many questions and no satisfying answers. As a teenager, Robert looked for answers outside the church—from Thomas Paine to Allah to the Buddha. By 18 years old, Robert could no longer believe in anything supernatural. His understanding of the world came from philosophy, history and science. This was incredibly difficult for his family, but they continued to faithfully love and support him. One frustration Robert has with the Black church community is that it works to change unjust systems but then uses phrases like, “We couldn’t have done this without God.” In recent years, Robert has been working with a political non-profit to ensure the “separation of state and church” and to change unjust policies. Human suffering is caused less by individuals “in need of heart change,” and more by systemic racism, homophobia, classism and other inequities. [Humanism] has increased my love for humanity exponentially. I no longer love people with conditions. In the midst of all the work to be done, Robert is hopeful. He is effecting change in the world and reminding others that “being human is enough.” He stands in awe of the beauty of nature, his daughters and this short life. His story is one of world-changing secular grace. Links Affinis Humanity https://www.affinishumanity.org/ Secular Coalition for Arizona https://secularaz.org/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/10/robert-peoples-affinis-humanity/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:11:36
April 11, 2022
Luke Janssen: Recovering Evangelicals
This week’s guest is Luke J. Janssen, M.Sc., Ph.D., M.T.S., Professor Emeritus, Dept. Medicine, McMaster University, and co-host of the Recovering Evangelicals podcast. He is a scientist in medical research. During a faith crisis he began taking courses on theology which turned into an M.T.S degree. Luke tells his story in four 15 year phases: his early years as a nominal Reformed Christian, his young adulthood as a Pentecostal/Charismatic fundamentalist, a desconstruction phase, and where he is now, with a “small part of him that won’t let go” and a belief in a creative force. Luke and his co-host, Boyd Blundell, cover many aspects of desconstruction on the Recovering Evangelicals podcast. They discuss various apologetic and scientific arguments and honestly reveal what they do an do not believe now and why. Links Website https://lukejjanssen.wordpress.com/ Recovering Evangelicals https://lukejjanssen.wordpress.com/recovering-evangelicals/ Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/04/03/luke-janssen-recovering-evangelicals/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:23:33
April 04, 2022
Bethany: Deconversion Anonymous
This week’s Deconversion Anonymous guest is Bethany. Bethany grew up in the Pacific Northwest, attending an Assemblies of God church. It was an insular experience of their brand of Christianity against the world. The older Bethany got, the scarier the church doctrines—eternal torment, losing one’s salvation, the Apocalypse, faith healing that doesn’t always work and even demons under her bed. Bethany was a conscientious and sensitive teen. She ardently believed what she was taught and would believe even if it led to martyrdom. In college, Bethany got exposed to reformed theology and progressive Christianity. She began to think, “There is no, ‘God says,’ or ‘Scripture says.’ These are all interpretations.” After college, Bethany moved to California. She immediately joined a church, but it wasn’t the same. She was no longer tied to it the way she had been; she finally had space to think for herself. In California, Bethany’s been able to think, hike, read and realize who she is without outside influence, but it hasn’t been easy. She’s been afraid and uncertain, still haunted by some of her old beliefs. But she is free and life is full even while she is still “in process.” Book Recommendations #PaidAmazonLinks Untamed by Glennon Doyle https://amzn.to/3IHW945 Educated by Tara Westover https://amzn.to/3tHRif2 Wayward by Alice Greczyn https://amzn.to/3JHKFi5 Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion My interviews with Alice Greczyn https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/01/31/alice-greczyn-wayward/ https://gracefulatheist.com/2019/07/25/alice-greczyn-dare-to-doubt/ Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/03/27/bethany-deconversion-anonymous/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/ Picture of Mt. Rainier by Bethany
01:39:16
March 28, 2022
April Ajoy: Evangelicalish
This week’s guest is April Ajoy, viral Tiktok’r, youTuber and podcaster. She is a “recovering conservative humorously detoxing religion.” April had a unique childhood. She was homeschooled and spent half of each year in Pentacostal spaces and the other half traveling the US with her family, singing and evangelizing. Her parents were evangelists and her grandfather was a pastor of a megachurch, so even as a young person April had seen cracks in the traditions and beliefs. She didn’t see them as systemic, though, only random, separate incidents. Over the next decade, tragedy hits April’s family and God does not step in to thwart it, a family member comes out to her and she realizes she cannot continue believing much of what white Christianity has painted as “good news”. Today, much of April’s childhood beliefs have been dissected and thrown out, but she is loving others in a much deeper way. She still considers herself a Christian and is fighting injustices in her own creative way. “Humor is how I cope with trauma.” On social media, April tackles all the difficult subjects—white supremacy, misogyny, purity culture, the absurd things evangelicals post online and more! She brings levity and fun to serious topics in a way that will make you laugh out and that is good medicine. Links TikTok https://www.tiktok.com/@aprilajoy Instagram https://www.instagram.com/aprilajoy/ Twitter https://twitter.com/aprilajoyr Evangelicalish on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/c/Evangelicalish Interact Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion Full episode show notes https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/03/20/april-ajoy-evangelicalish/ Secular Grace https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/ Deconversion https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/ Deconstruction https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction/ Attribution "Waves" track written and produced by Makaih Beats https://makaihbeats.net/
01:10:48
March 20, 2022
Ryan Mulkowsky: Some Random Thoughts
This is the three year anniversary of the Graceful Atheist Podcast. Thank you to everyone who has listened and participated. Special thanks to Mike T and Arline for their work on the podcast over the past year. This week’s guest is Ryan Mulkowsky. Ryan grew up Independent Fundamentalist Baptist. He made a “profession of faith” when he was nine years old and was reading Christian apologetics before he was twelve. By fourteen, Ryan was “licensed” by the church and started teaching. Ryan’s mental health suffered during adolescence. Whether at home, school or church, no place was safe for