Darcy, your story is beautiful, lyrical, tragic, hopeful, and sad. Worth reading multiple times. The video of you and your daughter brought tears to my eyes.
I live now where you went to college, as I learned from one of your other pieces. This is a liberal, relatively inclusive community in a red sea of evangelical Christians who mostly denigrate anyone different than they are.
I grew up Catholic in a small, rural community in Virginia. I had similar, although less frightening, other experiences as you. Some children were not allowed to play with me because I was a papist, when I didn’t know what that word meant. My family was targeted by the Baptist and Jehovah Witnesses for conversion. I’m sure anyone who could get us to denounce Catholicism was promised a seat to the right of their god in a heavenly mansion.
I married a Southern Baptist Floridian and my childhood religion was called heathen in the Southern Baptist church we attended. I left because I knew they were teaching lies and nothing I said would change what they believed.
The world is messed up and appears to be regressing in culture, civilization, and democracy.
I hope your fears, and mine, never come true. May your daughter experience a more loving and accepting world than we’ve known.