POTOMAC FALLS, VA—Local boy Richard Hampton's parents are atheists, and they've been trying to raise him right. They take him to all the weekly atheist meetings, make sure he only listens to good secular music like Bad Religion and John Lennon, and homeschool him to keep him from learning anything about God or the Bible from Christians he might meet in school.
They've also banned him from watching Christian shows like VeggieTales.
"We don't want him to be exposed to any bad influences," his atheist mother explained. "Those talking vegetables espouse values that are out of step with ours, like an absolute morality that insists on treating others with kindness and forgiving each other. They even reenact Bible stories! I don't know how any parent in good conscience can let that filth into their home."
Hampton's father nodded in agreement. "As for me and my house, we will serve the infinite void that will one day swallow us all," he said. "I saw that no-good tomato talking about how God made us special, and I tossed that VHS tape in the garbage right where it belongs, along with McGee and Me and Psalty the Songbook."
The Hamptons have inspirational wood art hanging in their home with quotes from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. They say they are trying to keep their boy inside an "atheist bubble" as long as possible, even sending him to atheist camp and making him go to atheist youth groups every Sunday and Wednesday.
For Richard's part, he's concerned that not watching VeggieTales will rob him of his ability to connect with other youths his age.
"I mean, how am I supposed to relate to the other kids in my neighborhood if I can't drop a Pa Grape quote or make a sick reference to Josh and the Big Wall on the fly?" he mumbled. His parents sent him to his room for this comment.
At publishing time, the Hamptons had walked in on young Richard watching a bootleg copy of Dave and the Giant Pickle in his room and immediately burst into tears.