Religious people vs. D&D

Every so often I see things like “Read an RPG Book in Public Week,” which I take to be aimed at demarginalizing RPGs. It’s a geek hobby even in a culture in which geeks supposedly rule, so let’s show those other people that we’re here!

And so, at least in my mind, the (and I know there must be a better word for this, but) opposition has been some sort of melding of jock and straight. Now that we’re adults, it’s the people in ties whose hobbies are more normal, watching baseball and fishing and really just watching TV. And I figured D&D was just really considered geeky and weird, by the same people who don’t play modern board games because they’re too hard.

But I’ve had two incidents recently that reminded me, rather shockingly, that D&D is still considered *bad* by people.

The first episode was sparked by my third-grader, who wants me to run a D&D game for him and his friends. I called one friend’s parents to ask if the friend could come. The mom called back and said no, one boundary they’ve drawn for their kid was that he couldn’t play Dungeons and Dragons, “because of the murders 10 years ago.”

There was some irony to this, because she had invited my kid to see a movie — Green Hornet — and we said no because of the language and nudity that are reportedly in the movie. She was nice about it, and we kind of laughed about it. I didn’t argue with her; I think that would have been the wrong thing, because even though she is basing her boundaries on incorrect information, I have to base this on parent-to-parent etiquette and what’s best for my kid.

Then, just yesterday, there was some conversation about religion at work. I needed a Bible quote for a particular situation, so I asked a colleague who’s married to a pastor if she knew of one. Sometime later, I was asked if I’m Catholic. I’m not sure why. Anyway, I told them I was raised Catholic but left, or rather just stopped going, in high school. I’m not religious; I’m not really anti-religious either, I just get nothing out of it. Minutes later, the conversation shifted to that we were annoyed that we had to work a late meeting on a Wednesday; I was missing D&D Encounters for the second week in a row, and my colleague was missing her Bible study. And she made a comment along the lines of, Dungeons and Dragons, that’s why you’ve got a problem.

I didn’t respond. We were already on the way to the meeting, and it wasn’t time to get into it.

So, the point: Apparently religious people (and the first mom, by the way, is from a churchgoing family; my wife, kid and I are not) are still thinking about, talking about, Dungeons and Dragons as a threat. If that mom is the same age as me, then she was in grade school when the hysteria in the ’80s ran, so she’s had plenty of time to let it fade and become only geeky. And “10 years ago?” Where did that come from? No doubt from the fact that people around her are STILL discussing it.

So how come I never hear us geeks talking about this?


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