Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Exchange student discovers life with fundies

A Polish exchange student, Michael Gromek, recently wrote of his six months in the United States. He described it as “My Half-Year of Hell with Christian Fundamentalists.”

Boy, don’t I know what he’s talking about.

Gromek says when he got off the plane in Greensboro, North Carolina he was greeted by the host family carrying a Bible and saying, “Child, our Lord sent you half-way around the world to bring you to us.” He says, “I just wanted to turn round and run back to the plane.”

Gromek was told that he had “the devil” in his heart because he liked beer and wine. And when the Christian host family learned his mother was separated from his father they concluded his “mother’s heart was just as possessed by the devil as mine”.

Gromek was also shocked to discover the real reason this family was willing to host an exchange student from Poland. “They wanted me to help them set up a Fundamentalist Baptist church in my home country of Poland. It was God's will, they said. They tried to slip the topic casually into conversation, but it really shocked me -- I realized that was the only reason they had welcomed me into their family. They had already started construction work in Krakow -- I was to help them with translations and with spreading their faith via the media.”

Gromek was isolated and knew no one but the host family. He finally decided he had to get the hell out of there and applied for a new host family. But it took two more months for that to be arranged. He says the two months after his decision were extremely unpleasant. “There were constants rows. I could sense that they just wanted to get rid of me.”


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