Religious plea from former co-worker

It isn’t rare that I get messages like the following.

Always from someone who knows better than I do how I should live my life. I’d like your comments on how to reply to stuff like this, sent from a former co-worker.

A little background, I was never close to this guy, never liked him, and he had nothing to do with me. On one occasion, when we had a particularly stressful situation, I had to call in someone to replace him and relieve him of his duties, because he couldn’t handle the responsibility at the time.

So now, a couple years later, he writes….

Rich,

I have gotten copied on a number of facebook postings submitted by you and Deanna. After reading the last few of them and being somewhat taken aback by some of the content, I feel led in my spirit to write you.

With respect to your choice to believe the way you want, I must say that I am concerned for you. We talked one night at KOMO about your traumatic experience with your ex-wife and the church you pastored in the South. At that time as I recalled, you expressed anger and bitterness at what was done to you.

It’s understandable you would feel that way. However, that wasn’t God’s doing. And deep down inside I believe you realize that.

I’m sad that both you and your wife embrace atheism. I’m doubly sad for you because you have been exposed to the word of God and you have no excuse.

Again, what you choose to believe is your business. However as a friend and someone who cares, I must tell you that you have taken the bait of satan. He’ll destroy you if you let him. Turn back to the Lord. He is real and He loves you.

I’ll pray for you. I value you as a friend.

Sincerely,

former nor particularly close co-worker.

So how would you handle this crap?

———–
Update: I realized that we never added our direct message replies to this person. We both went a little harsh on him, but I think sometimes someone needs to be told how rude they are being because they will never know it any other way.
I copied the former co-worker the link to this post so he could see the replies. He basically went all pascal’s wager…. here was my final reply:

“It’s a shame you can’t spend five minutes to read through the entire blog. It shows just how much you care about this, and to quote a famous xtian saying, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If you were open to discussion, I’d welcome that. But since you are only interested in making an arrogant statement then acting all butt-hurt when no one likes your views, I think we can both see what your lame attempt is made of.

Don’t contact me anymore. I’m happy to leave you in your ignorance.

to finish with YOUR line… If he is real… I’ll see your arrogant and apathetic ass in hell.

Thanks,

Rich”

and then this addition from Deanna Joy:

“Just add a bit to what Rich said:

I am truly insulted by your inability to contact ME about the things you learned from your “friendship” with me. Am I not your intellectual equal? Am I the insolent property of my husband that needs to be chastised through him?

I can answer those two questions easily. No, I am absolutely not your intellectual equal. Your refusal to engage shows you haven’t thought for a moment or read a single word of the things I have said or shared. While your religion tells you I am below and behind you, reality shows you are not anywhere near on my level.

And yes, in your eyes I am, or you would have sent me a message directly about the things you are concerned with. And that’s all I need to know about how you feel about women.”

47 thoughts on “Religious plea from former co-worker”

  1. "Thank you for your perspective, and I understand why you feel you must respond in this fashion. I ask that you respect my decision to live my life however I choose to by keeping your comments to yourself, and I will do the same for you. I wish you well."

  2. Dear co-worker,

    We invite you, as all our friends, to be happy with and for us in our discovery of the truth – we have found the truth and it has set us free. Imagine, if you can, no longer carrying the burden of judging the lifestyle of others, the relief from no longer trying to balance the contradictory statements in the bible, the joy in the freedom to freely ask and discuss any and all questions.

  3. "You are embracing atheism, as well. After all, you do not believe in the thousands of other gods that other humans have had faith in since the dawn of time. So as soon as you prove to me that *your* god is real, I'll start taking you seriously. In addition, if you need to believe fairy tales to get through the night, go for it. But I do not need that crutch."

  4. Honestly, since this person is not a current co-worker and never was a close friend I would say that on that personal sort of level its not worth a response. You don't have to deal with him on a regular basis and it sounds like he's not someone who you want to keep as a friend, you don't owe him anything, let it go.

    However, if you feel that as an advocate for atheism that you should respond, then respond to him just as you would any other theistic person that writes to you. Be respectful (I know you will, but for any one else reading its worth saying) but refute his assertions and leave aside the fact that you once knew each other. If he really did respect you and your lack of belief, as he says, then he never would have written such a condescending letter. So don't pull any punches just because he was once an acquaintance, let him know precisely why a rational worldview is superior to superstition. You haven't taken any bait or turned away from anything, you are living in reality, be proud!

  5. I might say something like, "you have chosen the way you understand and so you must respect what I have chosen according to my understanding." I have had some people turn pouty at this point, which means to me that they haven't a clue how to go about respecting a choice of disbelief. They somehow think their attempt at imposing conformity on us is not coercion.

  6. The only reason this guy wrote you in the first place was to talk down to someone who once had authority over him and used it. This is like those online debates we all get sucked into from time to time. Nothing useful will come from this; no opinions will be changed, no beliefs examined. Since this is obviously someone you would never have written to, why start now? If you do, it will start a back-and-forth that will eat up more of your time. The best thing you can do is just let it go. It's not worth the effort. I'm sure Deanna Joy can find something much more interesting for you to do with your time. 🙂

  7. I don't have a way with words, so I'm sure you will be able to put it much better than me, but it all boils down to this: If there was a god, I'd rather go to hell. After all, hell must be full of the most interesting people (George Carlin, Feynman, Sagan, and so on and so forth), and heaven full of people like… well, him.

  8. I handle the crap in my life with a barrier of plastic, and then I toss it in the bin.

    If I am feeling particularly helpful, I'll use one of the flushable hydro-degradable poopy bags that goes straight to the waste treatment facility.

    Seriously though. I like the suggestion of treating this intrusion like you would an imposing theist who is also a stranger. Be honest, straight forward, and firm.

    Then go have a whiskey.

  9. " … what you choose to believe is your business. However … "

    Hmmmm. A letter containing says to me that the writer assumes he is correct, regardless and doesn't really respect your beliefs.

    Replying to him would allow you to get your point across, but don't expect him to engage in real conversation.

    Alternatively, you could reply to him using almost identical words, but written from your point of view. A bit cheeky, but it might get the point across.

    Best regards,

    Andrew Wilson

  10. I would spend the minimum amount of time and energy on it as possible. Maybe have a form letter handy which you can fire off. Something that in polite but cool terms says that you appreciate the sentiment, but that it's best to agree to disagree, perhaps succinctly spelling out a few of the reasons why you came to atheism.

    You shouldn't try to convince him or start a discussion. It probably won't work and will only alienate him (which might be fine by you, but would you cost you time and aggravation).

  11. "Dear former co-worker,

    Your god is neither real nor loving. I have found the truth and I am happy; much happier than I ever was when I believed God was real.

    If I am indeed wrong, then it is my choice and none of your business."

  12. My response to this guy would be: "Thanks for your concern, but I'm doing great. Deep down I know I've made the right decisions for me and am much happier now."

  13. I have know Rich for over 30 years. He was my best friend in High School. I was surprized when I learned Rich is now an atheist.

    I believe there is a God. I believe he is a God of love, grace and mercy. I also believe God has a calling on Rich's life.

    I pray that one day Rich will return to God and to the pulpit. Rich was an outsanding preacher.

    Marty

  14. I wouldn't waste any more time on this than you already have. It's not worthy of a reply. Now if you get a serious well reasoned argument that's not from an apologists handbook, but is from the writers own mind, then I would reply. But please post more of these "love letters" from your fans!

  15. Rich by his own words wasn't an outstanding preacher…he was an abused damaged preacher. I can't imagine anything more hateful than wishing someone would go back to that

  16. Your ex-co-worker is currently in a place very similar to one you (and I) occupied not very long ago: he rather smugly believes he has a corner on the truth, and no logic or evidence will persuade him otherwise (the non-falsifiable hypothesis). Remember how you suffered under that yoke? He's doing that now. He's so messed up, he doesn't even know how bad he has it. I recommend compassion for a fellow sufferer.

    The irony is, while it would be very gratifying to slap him down with a clever reply (and there are some good ones here), it is unlikely any such approach will lead him to question his erroneous conclusions. In fact, a sharp retort will most probably cause him to become more entrenched.

    The compassionate thing to do would be to reply–briefly–with genuine kindness. Don't argue; he isn't listening. You've been lucky enough to get out of that life–a near impossibility for someone who has made such a powerful commitment. Don't do anything to make it any harder for him to do likewise.

  17. I haven't heard from Marty in years. Yes, we were best friends in high school, both preachers, and while I left the ministry, he has remained faithful.

    I know Marty so well, that even though the words sting, I know his intention.

    He truly believes I'll spend eternity suffering for my beliefs. A friend should be concerned about that.

    However, from my perspective, it's easy to see that his concern is based on his opinion that he is right and I am wrong. It usurps my life's experiences and only considers his.

    Marty, I'll always love you. You'll always be special to me. But please don't worry about me. I'm happier than I've ever been, and enjoy every day to its fullest. I don't fear eternity, because I don't believe in it. I honestly don't.

    –Rich Lyons

  18. If you were never that close, I would laugh at the nonsensical suggestions. That being said, the email actually doesn't even warrant a response. If you knew the person well, then perhaps a logical description could be afforded but not to a person whom you didn't have a close relationship to begin with. The most amusing part is when the former co-worker frames your views in a religious context even though it is completely irrelevant to do so.

    I have difficulty responding to comments like those mentioned in the email directly because people of faith can't see how the world looks through a different set of lens. People formerly of faith at least have the opportunity for a broader perspective.

  19. Marty,

    Welcome.

    Your arrival here (and Rich's response to it) is both heartwarming and interesting.

    I look forward to reading future dialogue between the two of you if it seems good and worthwhile to do.

    – Lisa C.

  20. First off as a first time poster here, I want to say to Rich and Diana, thanx for what you are doing here. I wish there had been resources like this when I was on my way out so 20 years ago.
    That said, I agree with those that have said either no response or genuine friendship. He is not really listening and nothing you say will be a life changer for him.
    Finally, I always look to see if there is a trace of truth in what a hurtful person says, an enemy will tell you your breath stinks but a friend won't!
    The thing that pings in his letter that you have spoke on it your leaving over hurt and anger over the way you where efed over by your congregation but that alone is not a good reason to not believe. The massive internal contractions and general BS of the bible and all other "holy" books are.

  21. One extra bit of information, after talking it over with Rich a little more, I realized this person is only *my* "friend" on FB, and not Rich's. We've had about the same anount of contact as the two of them, but the note was only sent to Rich.

    How insulting!

  22. Hey Rich,
    I am so glad that I once again have made contact with you. I hope my comments do not offend you are anyone else. The last thing I want to do is to offend anyone.

    I am glad you are happy. I hope one day to meet your wife. Let me know whey you are coming to texas cor a visit,

    You know I love you as a brother.
    I would like to continue to post comments on your website. If that is Okay with you.

    Again it is not my intent to offend anyone.

    If what I believe is true then God loves you, me, and everyone unconditionally. He will never give up on anyone.

    If you are anyone else would like to send me a an email my address is pastormartyboddie@gail.com

    I hope to hear from you soon

    your friend Marty.

  23. With your former co-worker, I am seeing this as a defense mechanism.

    He needs something to blame. Often believers try to claim that the de-convert is a bad person or was never a true xian, but in Rich's case, those are obviously not true. And he couldn't possibly blame his religion, because it's his own faith that he's trying to defend. He needs something else to blame.

    Ah – Satan! Yes, it's easy to blame Satan. He can blame Satan and not have to deal with the thought that he might someday lose his own faith. But that doesn't explain why he decided to write. It's very obvious that a letter like that is not going to "bring Rich back to the fold". The only thing I can think of is that Rich's deconversion made him so uneasy that he felt he had to score a few brownie points with god to make himself feel better.

  24. Marty,

    I've never "banned" anyone from posting here, but I want you to know specifically the purpose of this site.

    This site is here to help people who have been damaged by religion. I will not let it become a place that is not safe for the most wounded. While you may not realize it, the comments you have already made here are considered offensive.

    Let me explain why.

    First, you assume people just got mad and quit religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people here were dedicated, gave ALL to their pursuit of god in some fashion. It was only after a gut-breaking process that left most of us without friends, families, sometimes jobs and even careers, that we realized we could no longer believe in the supernatural of any type.

    Next, trying to convince anyone here that god, or specifically YOUR god exists is about as wise as me mounting a full-out campaign to convince you that the Easter Bunny is real. Think about it. But after that, we've got to get you to accept Santa Claus as your personal savior. And no, not some metaphorical representations of the above, the literal guy in a red suit who flys the world in a single night on a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer.

    If you are honest with me, you'll say there is nothing that could convince you this character is real. It's way too easy to mount up the evidence of how it's impossible to accomplish these feats.

    That's where the people here are. No one chose to be an atheist one day. We all ripped ourselves from religion, cutting bits of our hearts away with a rusted pruning saw until there was nothing but a bloody mess left. Then in the autopsy of that bled-out lump, the diagnosis was that the cause of death was atheism.

    But we just couldn't die. That would have been easier.

    Somehow, that ripped-up person walked away from the gurney and began creating their own life. They began studying to find out where life began, many of us re-read the bible, only to be disgusted with the character of god and his supposed antics.

    But in that process, we grabbed the paddles from the wall, laid them on our own chests, and re-started our lives.

    The process was nothing short of horrific. It's left many of us damaged and broken. But throught the process of what happens here, through our podcast, through a lot of hard work, therapy and discovery, we recover. Live becomes more than we ever believed it could be, with the limits once placed on us by our former religion.

    I realize it is your job to preach the gospel. I realize you have a mission to save the lost. THIS is not the place for that. This is a place dedicated to recovery FROM that. It's fine to hold up a burning Zippo at a KISS concert, but doing the same in the burn unit of a children's hospital is unacceptable.

    You are welcome to comment, but ANY comment that I feel is even hinting toward evangelisim will be removed, and if I have to remove too many, I will ban you from posting.

    I hope you understand.

    Rich

  25. Marty, just to back up what Rich said, I (and probably most of the others here) never wanted to be an atheist. Christianity, and Pentecostalism in particular, was my life. Leaving all that behind, losing friends, losing my social network and my support base, was incredibly painful. I don't mean just the one-off event of coming out of the closet as an atheist, but the years of gut-wrenching wrestling with everything I believed to be true, watching it get stripped away layer by layer until there was nothing left but an incoherent mess which I had to rebuild all by myself, because there was nobody else who could help me.

    With the exception of my father's death when I was a teenager, my transition from Christian to atheist was the most traumatising, difficult period of my life. Even now, well over a year later, just thinking about certain aspects of my former life is enough to set up heart palpitations. Even driving past my former church makes me feel anxious and tense. That's not because of some sort of conviction by the Hoply Spirit, as you might well suppose, but because of the damage done to me by the religious system, and unintentionally by some (not all) of the people who were a part of that.

    That said, though, I am much happier and more fulfilled as an atheist than I ever was as a Christian, and I would never go back.

    This site and the podcast Rich and Deanna produce have helped me immensely in my transition from wounded former Christian to the person I am now, still scarred by healing and regaining my confidence in who I am as an individual.

    There are places where it is legitimate for alternative opinions to be expressed, but this is not one of them. This is a safe place for those of us who are recovering from an immensely traumatic experience, and any posts trying to convert us or "lead us back to Christ" are as welcome as someone advertising their brewery at a rehab centre. The beer may taste good to those who can handle it and aprpeciate it, but for the people who use the centre it's about the worst thing they could have.

    Please leave us alone to recover from our wounds, and don't post stuff here that would open them up and allow them to fester again.

  26. Well said both Rich and Barry! as Barry said there are many arenas for open discussion available both online and through live call-in shows like Ask an Atheist and The Atheist Experience, those are the places to engage in that kind of conversation. Given enough time and distance many of us enjoy flexing our rational muscles in such discussions. However, we need this too, separately, this is a safe place of understanding, healing and great support. And I, for one, and very glad Rich and Deanna Joy are working to keep it that way. Thank you 🙂

  27. This is a great thread! I believe I would respond to the former co-worker with something short, polite, and something about how much better your life is now.

    As far as Marty's posts: I think he had the best of intentions, but as others have said, this is not the place for trying to convince anyone to turn back to old beliefs. I myself had lingering fears for years after I left my Baptist faith behind, and it wasn't until I could fully internalize my disbelief that those fears faded away. I would never want to go back to that life again.

  28. hey Rich,
    I am so sorry each of you have been damaged, broken, and wounded by religion. I see that it is your desire to minister to those who are hurting.

    When you posted the letter from a former co-worker I assumed that your group was willing to hear from the opposing point of view.

    You clearly have a desire to help those who are hurting. I have that same desire.

    It is hard for me to talk about God without a hint of evangelim. I wish your group would at least listen to someone who has been blessed by being part of the Christian religion. Maybe this in not the place for me to post my comments.

    Again I am so sorry you have been hurt by the very people that call themselves religious.

    Again it was not intent to offend anyone. I did not mean to pour salt in your wounds.

    I love each of you and my heart goes out to you.

    Marty

  29. Marty, I've listened to plenty of people who consider themselves blessed by being part of Christianity. So many, in fact, that I could happily live the rest of my life without ever hearing another.

    We've heard it all before. Some of us used to *be* that person.

    If it's hard for you to talk about God without even a hint of evangelism, the answer is simple. Either don't talk about God or don't post here.

    You may not want to hear this said so bluntly, and I'm sorry if my language offends you or anyone else, but the religion in which you so fervently believe really fucked my life up. The last thing I need is more of the same from someone who assumes that the only reason I left was because I'd never experienced Jesus in the right way. I did, it's bullshit, and I'd rather eat razor blades than go back.

  30. Mr. Anonymous seems to think you were hurt by misled, hateful mutations of Christianity that got it wrong, but he has the real version. I am finding that the Bible says so many differing things that you can invent a theology, then pick and choose the Bible verses that support what you want and ignore those that don't. Modern Christianity sure does that.
    I think this says it all. "Every sect is a certificate that God has not plainly revealed His will to man. To each reader the bible conveys a different meaning. About the meaning of this book, called a revelation, there have been ages of war and centuries of sword and flame. If written by an infinite God, He must have known that these results must follow; and thus knowing, He must be responsible for all." Col. Robert G. Ingersoll
    If you want to read more from Ingersoll read "Some mistakes of Moses" and "The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child". You can download MP3's of them at Librivox.org

  31. Ask him how he would imagine an ex-Scientologist would perceive a similarly manipulative letter from a current Scientologist–

    Ask him if he could choose to believe in reincarnation or gypsy curses or fairies? How about if someone promised him he'd live happily ever after is he believed –and suffer eternal agony if he didn't? Could he make himself believe in Santa again under these conditions?

    Ask him if he considers it abusive that Muslims tell their children that Christians are going to hell for worshiping Jesus as a god? Does he think it's abusive that Muslims use threats of hell and promises of paradise to control beliefs of it's adherents? Would this be a moral way to get anyone to believe anything? Why would any god worthy of worship devise such an insane plan?

    Ask him what method he uses to determine which invisible/magical/divine beings are real and which are just figments of the imagination. Inform him that those with conflicting faiths and other supernatural beliefs are probably using the same methods; therefore, it doesn't appear to be a valid method for finding the truth. Ask him if the truth important to him? If souls weren't real would he want to know– or continue to believe in his "personal truth"? Point out that if souls were real, scientists would be testing, refining, and honing the evidence for their own benefit– and no one would have to take any stories about purported afterlives on faith.

    Point out that it's pretty arrogant for him to imagine he knows what the invisible creator of the universe did, thinks, and wants– especially in light of this research: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2009/11/30/creating-god-in-ones-own-image/ And it's also arrogant to think that the entire universe was created so humans (particularly him) could exist.

    Inform him that he is not a person you'd take moral or life advice from and that you don't think of him as more moral than you even though you realize that every believer imagines that people of their faith are the most moral of all. However, religiosity is associated with societal ills, not morality: http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

    Tell him that you'd prefer he be as private with his magical beliefs as he would like a Muslim or Scientologist or schizophrenic to be with theirs since you consider his faith on par with those. Tell him that you think supernatural beliefs ought to be kept private like one's fetishes or bowel habits since they make you uncomfortable in the same way people discussing those things might make him uncomfortable (remind him that "do unto others" shouldn't just apply to those who believe like he does).

    Ask him to give you a valid reason why you should respect his delusions more than he respects the delusions of other true believers when there is no more evidence for his supernatural beliefs than there is for theirs.

    Oh, and ask him if he believes that the god of the bible was Craig's "uncaused first cause" and also his own son? Ask him if this god knowingly created original sinners, hell, pain, suffering and if he could have used his omnipotence to do otherwise? Ask him who Jesus was a sacrifice to and why he needed to be sacrificed? Ask him how it's monotheistic to have a 3-in-1 god. Point out that his religion at it's core is incoherent.

    Remind him that his 3-in-1 jesus-god knows where to find you if he has a message for you– and you've heard he's omnipotent so he shouldn't need Marty's help. He's also supposed to be omniscient so he knows how the whole shebang will end up anyhow and so it would be impossible to do anything different than what an omniscient entity already knows you are going to do.

    And if none of that works, tell Marty to "fuck off". 🙂

    Christian entitlement and religious privilege have burdened humanity for too long. It's time for Christians to pray "in the closet" like their "good book" (ha!) advises.

  32. And Satan– really?

    A grown up believes in a super duper bad guy created by a super duper good guy who is battling for souls in some afterlife that resembles Star Wars. *rolls eyes*

    Adults who believe such myths ought to be ridiculed and mocked– not respected. How is that different than believing in gremlins or magic spells or that aliens are probing your anus while you sleep –or that your dog is the reincarnation of your grandpa!? Where is the evidence that Satan is more real than the invisible penises growing out of the heads of Christians?

    I think the Greeks had more believable (and coherent) myths than Christians.

  33. Releasing faith, when you truly believed and acted in accordance with that is terrifying to say the least. I understand that when doubt first comes in, one step is to address that doubt, which seems like you are that for this co-worker. Most people don't understand the PTSD like symptoms that come from leaving a life devoted to an invisible comfort.

  34. Marty,

    I removed your post. Please show the respect that you claim you have for me and the others here, and stop posting.

    I say again, this is not the place for a religious cock-fight.

    It's a big world out there. There are plenty of places where your "outreach" is welcome.

    I say again, this is not one of those places.

    Rich

  35. Christianity is religion based on much contradiction, inconsistencies, magical and fantasy based elements, full of immoral acts and the list goes on.

    If an all-powerful God exists then their is no need for science anymore. God could make humans fly like superman, God could make a cell-phone with a mere command, God could make humans breath in space, God could make you travel at 1,000,000 times the speed of light, God could make Harry Potter real, God could make the most absurd claims that I can think of become a real reality. you ask how he is able to do it? simple……..magic…….even God could not explain to you in how he able to do the such of things. it's no different then Tinker Bell spraying magic dust around you so you can fly and all you have to do is believe. how can anyone who upholds science believe in a powerful God when it slaps science 10,000 fold in the face since an all-powerful God can render science to be useless and never explain nor understand how God can do these said magical things. This reason alone should be enough for anyone to reject a Supernatural all-powerful God type. while the sufferings and the evil and unfairness of the world is a big strike against a Loving God, it does not negate the magic crap that goes with it. I also sometimes get tired of people pointing to the old testament when the new testament is far worse because it speaks of eternal torment.

    Let me say this………I've seen real people getting tortured horribly, stuff you do not want to see, a bloody mess it so was, to think anyone deserves to be eternally tortured forever is the most sick and evil thing I can think of, it makes me want to vomit now, finite sins can't equal infinite suffering of any kind, this is why Christianity and Islam are so big as they are, they based on so much fear.

    I know all the Christian tactics …….I know because I too was passionate and yet hardcore about being Christian and once believed in this crap. I now smell the crap for what it is…..crap.

    Yes, it hurts to realize you been living a lie, it takes strength and a strong mind to let go of Christianity when you we're serious about it, which I might say many are not serious about it, but I was, I never liked candy coating the bible, and it hurts even after 2 years………..it still hurts to come out of it.

    Rich, continue to speak up, while I know the bible quite a bit, you know it far better, I pity anyone that thinks that some how you do not know it. I've seen you on Ask An Atheist and you know it well just as Matt does on the Atheist Experiences show.

    Take Care.

  36. I tend to respond sarcastically to crazy-ass Satan talk like this. Unless it's my mother, then I turn the other cheek and make her angry that I'm going all Jesus on her. But really, I agree with those who say this doesn't even merit a response coming from a guy you weren't even close to. Plus, he's completely closed off to anything you believe, so he'll never stop reducing your disbelief to misguided anger over your history with the church.

  37. Oh dear god, artcutlet. You are too funny. I have been laughing uncontrollably for.the past 15 minutes. Thanks for making such valid points in such an entertaining manner.

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