Kindergartner Told Not To Pray At School

This morning, as I checked my email, I saw a headline similar to the one that leads this post and inwardly groaned. It has all the markers of the kind of modern-day Christian persecution story that people love to rally behind, just like this one:

But how believable are these stories? As one of the articles I read this morning points out, there are already some reasons to be a bit skeptical of this story about the kindergartner. If it really happened, then it’s certainly a deplorable situation — teachers have no right to stop a child from saying a prayer. They also have no right to force a child to pray. Sadly, many of the people who become incensed over the first scenario don’t realize they should be just as incensed over the second. The United States government has no right to infringe upon any individual’s religious freedoms. That’s why it’s so important to make sure our government keeps its neutrality.

Many Christians think they would like to live in a “Christian” nation, but whose definition of Christianity will be upheld? Will it be those who believe women should have no authority over a man? Will it be those who believe that all the Old Testament laws are still supposed to be followed, like sacrifice and stoning? What about those who believe interracial marriage is a sin, or those who think worshiping with instrumental music is wrong? These are the same problems that the early pilgrims were trying to avoid when they came to this country. And even then they often got it wrong, as the Salem witch trials illustrate.

We should all be thankful that we have religious freedom in this country. But having religious freedom does not mean we’re “free” to push our religious views on others. So when organized prayer was taken out of public schools, that was not an attack on religious freedom, it was a defense of it.

What really gets me about things like this story and the recent movie God Is Not Dead is that they’re often attempts to make people feel like religion is under attack in the modern world. That’s simply not true. I find the setup for that movie incredibly unbelievable. I can totally see a philosophy professor being arrogant — but a philosophy professor who is that dogmatic about forcing people to give up theism? I don’t buy it. The whole point of philosophy is to consider different ideas. Forcing someone to believe a particular thing runs completely counter to philosophy. And they also make the same old and unfounded accusation that down deep atheists believe the evidence supports God, but we’re just angry with him. It’s ridiculous and inaccurate, but it’s what many people want to hear.

Regardless of whether or not this little girl was really forced to stop praying, I would love to see a story like this promote a larger dialog about what religious freedom really is. I’m not holding my breath though.

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60 thoughts on “Kindergartner Told Not To Pray At School”

  1. I wonder if these same people protested the so-named “Ground Zero Mosque”?

    Hey, i’m just reading through the comments on the Omnimalevolent post. Wow! That’s a brilliant discussion. You attract a good crowd, Nate.

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  2. The persecution complex is widespread and viral among evangelical Christianity. I, too, would like to hear a “larger dialog about what religious freedom really is”. Thanks for another great post, Nate!

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  3. If a teacher really did stop a little girl from praying over her lunch and did in fact tell her it was not not good to pray, then the teacher out of line and acting contrary to school policy and the local (and federal) laws.

    But I do get tired of hearing american christians complain about being persecuted. They’re typically talking about people making fun of them, mocking them, or that people or the government are/is trying to diminish their rights.

    I get tired of this because i dont think there have been any laws that hinder anyone from being a christian. yet many christians want to pass laws that would hinder other religions or pass laws keeping homosexuals in the closet or in jail.

    And as far as the mocking and being made fun of, I’ve seen plenty of Christians mock every religion beyond their own.

    And even to those who do not return the evil for evil, the good book says to count it as a blessing if you endure persecution for the name of christ.

    and for christ’s sake, let the little pray if she wants too.

    I am wondering what prompted the teacher to even interject. usually the teachers are happy if the kids are sitting still and quiet. Was the teacher that much of a tyrant or was the kid screaming in tongues and tossing rattle snakes around? not that I’m judging – it would be her god (or constitution, cant ever remember) given right.

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  4. It turns out that this girl’s father owns a Christian book store, and this episode happens to coincide with the release of a book about Christian persecution written by a Fox News correspondent. Plus, no one at the school knew anything about this incident. Maybe that’s all just coincidence… but it does make you wonder.

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  5. I remember when I was a kid in grade school there was a boy we all called ‘Sugar Ray’. He was Jehovah’s Witness. Every day we had “devotional”. We’d pledge allegiance to the flag, say the Lord’s Prayer, and the teacher would read a Bible story or some scripture. Every day he would have to leave the room and stand in the hallway or go to the library while we did that. I always felt bad for him. Not only because he was going to hell, but because he kinda was already in it. The other kids would pick on him because he was ‘different’.

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  6. Yep. That kind of thing only highlights the differences between people. There’s no benefit to putting kids in that kind of situation.

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  7. “Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?”
    — John Adams —
    (founding Father and second President of the United States)

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  8. It puzzles me why so many Christian movies seems really cheesy, its like the default position of an atheist encompasses an underlying resentment of God. Although this may be the case for some, I don’t think this portrayal of the angry atheist is universal.

    Granted I’ve only seen the trailer, but the professor seems rather two dimensional, like a cardboard cut-out of what an “atheist” is.

    Especially when he declares that he is a god of the class. But I suppose if the professor wasn’t presented as a angry and dismissive faith basher then there would be no tension or dilemma in the film to be resolved.

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  9. It could be because many Christian films, like all films, hang on narratives that seem to overtly affirm the beliefs of the producers and directors. which is fair enough. but in Christian films I think its often done is a more “in your face” way.

    Its less subtle, it kind of seems sometimes that character development and the complexity of human relationships can be sometimes put on the shelf in some Christian films, and more emphasis is placed on supporting core doctrine. It is possible to have both though.

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  10. Hi Nate, while I come from a somewhat different perspective to you, I pretty much agree with what you say. Live and let live – both ways.

    I wouldn’t like to live in an explicitly christian country, or an explicitly atheist country either. A cursory review of history shows that both worldviews are at their worst when allied with the power of the state – I guess because people whose aim is power and greed give lip service to the worldview while using it for their own ends. We are safest in this imperfect world when we have balance and competing interest rather than monopolies.

    But I do see some grey areas. For example, if a marriage celebrant is unwilling to marry a gay couple, should they be free to say no, or is that discrimination? If a majority christian country wants to pray before the opening of parliament, how could they allow the majority to have their way (which is democracy) while protecting the rights of the minority not to pray? Does a Muslim have the right not to read blasphemy against the prophet? Does an atheist have the right not to see a local Council sponsored Nativity scene?

    The principle you endorse is good, but we also need a little tolerance and good humour in working it out in practice.

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  11. Hi unkleE,

    I figured you and I would probably see this along the same lines. I think you made some good points, and I agree with you. Thanks!

    Thanks to everyone else for your comments as well!

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  12. Well, there doesn’t,as yet, appear to be a barrage of complaints from the school or the teacher in question, so one wonders how much credence this story should be afforded?

    Live and let live is a noble sentiment, yet the bigger issue, that of the child praying to a god, and what she has been indoctrinated to believe is not addressed.

    I doubt whether she is concerned about religious freedom or has any meaningful concept of the idea.

    Not only would the child have been traumatized but she now has the problem of who to believe regarding prayer: Mum and Dad or the teacher?
    As adults each are regarded as ”gods” in their own right in the mind of a small kid, and this is why, I say over and over, keep religion away from children.

    And I take serious issue with the comment posted by Unklee.

    While he espouses apparent wise words about the benefits of a society not dominated by religion his religion commands that he and his ilk proselytize with the aim of converting each and very one of us to save us from damnation, and that poor kid is a product of the diatribe that he and other religious types push, indirectly or otherwise.

    I wouldn’t like to live in an explicitly christian country, or an explicitly atheist country either.

    A perfect example of the arrogance of his christian mindset that casually dismisses Muslims and every other religion.

    If Islam ever becomes the dominant religion in the ‘West’ then atheists might well become his new best buddies.

    Discourage indoctrinating children and the problem of religion will disappear a lot quicker than it already is.

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  13. Trust me Ross, that was the least of Noah’s problems! I’ve done a few calculations of my own:

    As you’ll recall, from Genesis, Chapter 6:16, Noah was instructed to make only the one window, which hadn’t been opened for at least eight solid months, and possibly more than nine.

    So if you’re not too busy, can we chat for a moment about cows?

    Cows munch mostly grass and hay – yet they grow big and hefty. Why? Because of the rumen, the first and largest of a cow’s four stomachs. The rumen holds 160 liters (42 gallons) of food and billions of microbes. These microscopic bacteria and protozoa (single-celled organisms that reproduce by dividing) break down cellulose (plant-wall substance) and fiber into digestible nutrients.

    “A cow couldn’t live without its microbes,” says animal nutrition expert Dr. Floyd Byers of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    But as the microbes digest cellulose, they release methane. The process, called enteric fermentation, occurs in all animals with a rumen (cows, sheep, and goats, for example), and it makes them very gassy.

    “It’s part of their normal digestion process,” says Tom Wirth of the EPA. “When they chew their cud, they regurgitate some food to rechew it, and all this gas comes out.”

    The average cow expels 600 liters – 157 gallons – of methane gas per day, climate researchers report.

    Let me repeat that, just so I can be sure you understand – one cow – ONE, count ’em, ONE! – produces 157 gallons of methane every single day! Can you see where I’m going with this?

    Assuming a 28-30 day month, and most older calendars were based on a Lunar cycle, so let’s go with 28 just to be on the conservative side – over the 9-month, ten-day voyage, one single cow on board would have produced six thousand, eighty-six point forty-seven (6,086.4733, actually) cubic feet of methane gas! And we know that there were either one or seven pairs of cattle on board. Assuming only one pair – again, to be conservative – that’s still 12,172.947 cubic feet of methane gas, just for the two cows!

    We have no way of knowing how many other species of animals there were on board – by all indications, thousands! – and they ALL farted, along with Skipper Noah and his fearless crew. Face it, I fart, you fart, Pat Robertson farts, for that matter, I’d bet a dollar that the Pope farts (though very, very quietly) – in fact, anyone who doesn’t fart is a freak of nature, and in serious need of health care.

    Now the ark, by this god’s own blueprints (Genesis, 6:15) was three hundred cubits long, by fifty cubits wide, by thirty cubits deep – translated, assuming a cubit to be the standard definition’s eighteen inches, that means the ark was 450 feet long, by 75 feet wide, by 45 feet deep – basically the size of a small ocean liner. Volume-wise (450 X 75 X 45), that amounts to an entire volume of 1,518,750 cubic feet.

    Obviously, we must acknowledge that all of those animals occupied space on the ark, and the space they occupied should be subtracted from the total volume of the ark, if our intention is to determine just how much space was available to hold all of the methane gas produced by those animals over an nine-month, ten-day period of time. But since none of us knows how many animals were purportedly on the ark, clearly we can’t make such an estimation, so we’ll stick with the amount of space available on an unoccupied ark, while realizing that the actual amount of available space, that could possibly contain methane, to be much, much less than our calculations – in other words, we’re using yet another conservative estimate.

    However, there are several things we do know:
    • the ark would have been built to be water-tight throughout a forty-day (and night) deluge, and water-tight means airtight.
    • by this god’s own instruction (Genesis, 6:16), the ark had only one window, about eighteen inches square, and it wasn’t opened (Genesis, 8:6) until nine months and ten days after the cruise began.
    • a single animal, of the size of a common cow, would produce over six thousand, eighty-six cubic feet of methane gas, over 9, 28-day months, plus 10 days.

    That means that it would have taken less than 250 such animals to completely fill the ark with methane gas in less than the time the ark was closed up.

    Now with only one window, on a boat that large, and it, closed for the entire nine months and ten days – the ark was dark. I mean, that was one dark ark – without a window, in an air-tight ark, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.

    But surely they had lanterns, didn’t they? Or at least candles?

    Have you ever heard of a kid holding a lit match near his rear end, to see if the gas in his fart will light? Trust me, it will, but I’ve been assured that the hair will grow back. Methane is one of the most flammable gasses on the planet.

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  14. Arch, Interesting angle on things 🙂 all the link indicated was that Noah’s Ark could have floated with the weight of 70,000 animals inside.

    How all these animals could have survived living in such a arc is another consideration. Your assessment doesn’t sound like a very pleasant trip for those on board.

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  15. Ark wrote:

    “Not only would the child have been traumatized but she now has the problem of who to believe regarding prayer: Mum and Dad or the teacher?
    As adults each are regarded as ”gods” in their own right in the mind of a small kid, and this is why, I say over and over, keep religion away from children.”

    Ark makes a great point here.

    Nate, I recently read an article about a Baptist Children’s pastor in Alabama who raped so many children that he lost count. There were some pretty interesting comments at the end of the piece and one stuck out to me more than the others. Someone wrote that maybe we should have a minimum age requirement for Church similar to what we have for marriage and gambling, etc. Grant it, I was already heavily indoctrinated in my Pentecostal home as a child and teenager. When I first read that comment, I didn’t think such a law would have helped me. After thinking about it for a few days, I can see where it might have benefited me as a young girl.

    My family attended Church two or three times a week. Those meetings and services led to my enrollment at two different schools associated with the Church I attended at the time. One followed the LIFEPAC system, the other was under ABEKA. As you can imagine, the indoctrination then became a daily way of life for my six younger sisters and me in and out of our home.

    Thanks for your comment, Ark. You bring up a very important concern.

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  16. @ Charity

    Whenever I bring this subject up I am inevitably ridiculed from certain quarters simply because people cannot conceive the logistics of implementing such a law without transgressing supposed ”Freedom of Religion” (sic)

    People such as Unklee, who’s comments come across as benign are complicit in this form of indoctrination because his god and its laws supersede anything man-made. And I don’t have to tell you this, obviously.

    It would be logistically impossible to ban religion in the home and any attempt at such draconian implementation would be silly and would only lead to more trauma.

    But there are definitely things that can be done. And your church suggestion a perfect start point.

    It is the willingness or lack thereof to tackle these issues that is the biggest stumbling block. The ”I can’t” mentality.

    The issue of forced circumcision was raised last year in Europe.
    Nothing was done…not yet, but the topic was in the spotlight and this is what needs to be done.

    The key to religion’s (speedier) demise will be whether a child’s rights supersede those of the parents to indoctrinate their children with religion.

    The real champions of this cause will be those deconvertees who will speak up because they have been there, done that and got the Burned in Hell T-shirt and mental scares for their trouble; something the likes of Unklee might sympathize with but will do nothing whatsoever to help prevent.

    Yet, if this was a non issue and religion was The Truth(sic) then the religious would not bat an eyelid, simply because every person who reached an age whereby they were able to practice critical thinking would automatically turn to religion, and naturally the right religion.

    Which would be……..( fill in the blank)

    And that tells you everything you need to know.

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  17. The religious know that the best time to snare a child is during its formative years, which is why, in the US, it’s so important to them, to teach religion in the public school system.

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  18. Ark and Arch,

    It amazes me of how Christians feel that non believers are being intrusive when we believe that some sort of boundaries should be set in place to protect children from the abuses of religion. However, I seriously wonder if they have ever considered the intrusive ways of religion itself.

    At one of the Christian schools I mentioned, corporal punishment was commonplace. A few of my sisters and I attended there for two years. I can’t begin to get into all of the injustices, humiliation and embarrassment we all suffered there. Let’s just say it was bad, really bad.

    Fundies consider “Jesus Camp” a film that is the exception and not the rule. I know better, it is the rule and not the exception. Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and Children’s Church are all specifically geared for converting children.

    And Arch, you’re right. I know personally from child evangelists that conversions decrease dramatically among adults. Gotta get them while their young.

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  19. BTW Ark,

    I appreciate you addressing circumcision. I’ve gone into great detail (especially at Daz’s blog) of how much I regret having this done to both of my boys…AS NEWBORNS. We all need to understand that any kind of mutilation is horrible, male or female! I was a good Zionist Christian girl at the time. I did what my Bible told me to do to my little boys. I. Was. Stupid.

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  20. A child spends a lot of time in a fantasy world anyway, full of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy the Sandman, TV and movie cartoons, and now, video game characters – it’s so easy to add one or two more.

    I never tolerated corporal punishment for my children, at school or at home – it only teaches that violence solves problems.

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  21. This gets into some difficult territory.

    I feel just as bad as anyone for kids who are brought up in fundamentally religious households. I know what they’re in for, and it makes me cringe.

    However, I think that trying to legislate how people raise their children in this regard gets very dangerous. For one, in many countries, the religious out number the irreligious. What if legislation were passed saying that children must be brought to church at least once a week and must participate in religious education courses? Those of us who are non-believers would have a fit — and rightly so.

    We have to remember that Christians believe teaching their children to serve the Christian god is a life-saving endeavor. Without Jesus, their children would be lost eternally. Any normal parent would do anything within their power to ensure the safety of their children — any normal parent who honestly believes in an eternity of either torture or bliss will certainly do everything within their power to make sure their children are brought to safety. Forcing people to withhold that vital information from the people they love the most will not help solve the problems that come from religion. In fact, I think they’d likely make them worse.

    We, unfortunately, have to play the long game. We can’t reach people by making them violate their consciences. We have to reach them through reason. It’s not easy, and it takes a long time, but I think the track of history shows that reason and evidence eventually win the day. We’ll never be completely rid of religion, but if society continues trending toward moderation and acceptance, then we’re still winning.

    That’s how I see it, at least.

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  22. Oh, I agree with you Nate, that you can’t legislate it, but this is one of the Ark’s pet peeves – in fact, if memory serves, it was what he was ranting about on Fluid Theology that fateful day that “the thing happened that we don’t talk about anymore, since he (seemingly) sincerely apologized, so I just let him rant and get it out of his system, then I give him a cookie and he goes away. For a while.

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  23. Nate, I understand what you’re saying about legislating parenting. However, Ark makes some good points. Can’t we at least encourage legislation against religious bullies? Can we not teach parents, clergy and educators better ways to discipline and communicate with children? Some Christians are so hell bent on women reading materials against abortion and even having sonograms to talk them out of abortions. However, when I was miserable and doped up after birthing my boys, not one person considered not having my boys circumcised. It was just assumed that everyone does. Both births were at two different military hospitals here in the States. Whenever I mentioned any kind of pain relief for having the tips of my boys penises cut off, the doctors talked to me like I was the biggest idiot.

    My kids were young (still are) when Jim and I deconverted. Towards the end I truly struggled in reading the Bible with them. The more we read it together, the more we found ourselves skipping whole chapters at a time. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them about Father Abraham raping a servant girl for an heir. Then he ditched them both with nothing and God doesn’t even punish him. I couldn’t read to them about Jesus being a snot head to his mother when she was simply encouraging him to perform his first miracle. Jim wanted our oldest to watch The Passion of the Christ film while we were still Christians. (He and I saw it twice years prior.) I told him absolutely not.

    I haven’t even gotten into the worst of it all, but I know you catch my drift. There certainly needs to be some accountability measures put into place somewhere.

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  24. As you should know by now, I’m with you on circumcision – when my son was born, the doctor actually tried to talk me into it, but I stood fast.

    I’ve done no research on the subject, but since the custom appears to have begun in the desert, where there would have been a scarcity of water, I would have to suspect that it originated as a sanitation measure that is no longer necessary. I can certainly see the likelihood that the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis would allow for the growth of anaerobic bacteria, among those who don’t have the opportunity to bathe regularly.

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  25. Hi Charity,

    I do see where you and Ark are coming from. I just think that the answer is not through legislation, but through education. We already have the freedoms in place to do what we want. Granted, children don’t have this freedom, but there are good reasons for that while they’re young. An unfortunate by-product is the inevitable brain-washing.

    But as individuals, we can make an impact by being the one “black sheep” of the family, or in our community, that does things differently. At first, most people in our groups would disagree with us. But there may be one or two individuals who are impacted. As time goes by, that number of affected individuals grows.

    It’s sort of an evolutionary concept — it’s essentially the same way that a new religion spreads. Though Christianity is ubiquitous today, it certainly didn’t start out that way. Rationality can (and does) grow the same way. The benefit is that we have truth and reason on our side.

    Just like you, I do hurt for the kids who essentially become collateral damage in this process, so please don’t think I’m in complete disagreement with you. But because this is a longer process, it means more kids will be brought up in these environments than we would prefer. But practically speaking, I just don’t see another viable way for us to make an impact.

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  26. Arch, thank you for the link. Fojap referred me to another great blog not too long ago in that discussion I mentioned on Daz’s site. That author is Jewish and unashamedly against circumcision.

    I can see what you’re talking about regarding the desert scenario. Unfortunately, what’s done is done and I can’t undo it. I can’t undo a lot of the junk done to me under the guise of Biblical instruction. I’m more upset about not being able to take back the few years of pain I’ve caused my boys through the same means. I think that’s why we all need to consistently examine our parenting, as well as what we do and do not allow in our children’s lives. That’s why I try my best to make the right choices regarding my children today.

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  27. “But there may be one or two individuals who are impacted. As time goes by, that number of affected individuals grows.”

    Even if not, Nate, it at least shows the young that there IS another viewpoint. That’s very important. Imagine an Islamic world, where everyone thinks exactly the same – how much room is there for change? Even in Islamic countries that DO have a small atheist population, these are generally those who have gone outside the country, seen that there IS another way, and returned.

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  28. Nate, I thank you for this forum.

    I feel very passionate about the overall betterment of children. I just want all of us to consider their best interest when looking at the whole picture. Not long ago a local high school announced they were lowering the passing grade from 70 to 49! You would have thought it was my kids’ school district with the way I responded.

    I know you understand my concerns and I’m sorry for being redundant.

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  29. “Unfortunately, what’s done is done and I can’t undo it.”

    No, but you can make sure your sons understand.

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  30. I just think that the answer is not through legislation, but through education. We already have the freedoms in place to do what we want. Granted, children don’t have this freedom, but there are good reasons for that while they’re young. An unfortunate by-product is the inevitable brain-washing.

    Hi again Nate. Surely there is another reason why we should be very careful about imposing our beliefs on other parents.

    Each of us could be wrong about our beliefs.

    Most of us believe we are right, but just as most people here react against christians who seem arrogant about their beliefs, so we should be careful not to fall into the same trap. It is when someone is certain they are right that the most evils can be perpetrated, and history and present experience shows no one party has a monopoly on that!

    I am reminded of an old ‘game’ of expressing the same thought in different words depending on who it refers to. It used to go like this: “I am a brilliant conversationalist, you are wordy, he is garrulous” and so on.

    I think we could apply this here. “I give my kids strong ethical values, you are too fussy with your children, they are brain-washing their kids.” 😦

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  31. Arch,

    That was certainly some food for thought.

    This is why I stress education and accountability regarding children. This is just the Catholic Church. We could spend all day talking about physical, sexual and emotional abuse (of everyone, children in particular) among Muslims, Jews, Southern Baptists, Mormons, Independent Fundamental Baptists and the COGIC. Personally, I was apart of Morning Star as an adult (Not Rick Joyner, but the one that’s Every Nation now.) and they were horribly mean, manipulative and over bearing over women.

    When I was a Christian, as much as I was in Church, I never just dropped my kids off at Church, we all went together.So, when fellow Church members came around to tell me about VBS for a full week in the summer, I told them that my oldest boy (he was my only child of age then) wasn’t going. They looked at me strange. After all, everyone sends their kids to VBS in my tiny town, it’s free baby sitting.

    I tried my best to stay on top of things with my boys’ Sunday School teachers and nursery workers. I STILL missed things here and there that were damaging to my kids that I didn’t realize until after the fact.

    I’ve apologized to my little guys for going to Churches where they were not received well. I made sure that they knew how sorry I was for spanking them and having them circumcised. As I’ve mentioned on Ruth’s blog, I’m sure more things will come up that I will have to apologize for from our Christian days.

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  32. Speaking of Muslims, there’s a Muslim organization in Egypt, whose political situation is still up for grabs, that is trying to get the age of consent for girls lowered to 9, to match that of Muhammed’s youngest wife, Aisha. If THAT doesn’t make you sick —

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  33. Arch, dear, you know I have to wrap this up. As a mommy deconvert of small children, rape and child abuse in the Church are easy topics for me to get a little rowdy. I’ve enjoyed the conversation very much and I appreciate your understanding. Thank you for your compassion and kindness.

    Here’s to you, Ark. Someone like you would have scared me in my Jesus days. Yet, here we are pretty much in agreement on this matter. Thank you for your thoughts and time.

    Thanks again, Nate, for this discussion about religion and children.

    Everyone have a great weekend!

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  34. Charity, I DO hope you’re only saying that you’re going away for the weekend, and that you’ll be back —

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  35. Yes, Arch, I will be back at some point. Spring is here along with soccer, school field trips, projects and standardized tests. Tending to my knock out roses, lilies and azaleas is just around the corner. It may be a good while before I’m back. That’s why I’ve been such a social butterfly in blog world lately, I know my time is about up for now.

    You take care, my friend. Enjoy the spring time. May its blooms bring you joy.

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  36. You have a great weekend, too, Charity!

    UnkleE,

    Thanks for the comment, and I agree completely. In fact, as I was writing that sentence about brainwashing, I was thinking about my own children as well. Though my intention is not to brainwash them, in a way, that’s what happens. When we talk about religion and politics, my wife and I always stress that these are merely our beliefs about those things. Of course, we think we’re right — but we could easily be wrong. And as our children get older, they’ll form their own opinions about those things. The one thing my wife and I always stress is that no matter what beliefs they ultimately hold, our relationship with them and our acceptance of them will never change.

    Btw, I got a kick out of this:

    I am reminded of an old ‘game’ of expressing the same thought in different words depending on who it refers to. It used to go like this: “I am a brilliant conversationalist, you are wordy, he is garrulous” and so on.

    I hadn’t heard it before, but I appreciate the point.

    Take care!

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  37. Arch,

    Our viewpoints are so similar I don’t always comment on what you say, so let me briefly remind you how much I appreciate your participation on this blog. Your comments are always so insightful and well-researched. I’ve learned quite a bit from you over the last year or two.

    So thanks! 🙂

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  38. I know what you mean, I plan to spend the time teaching my boomerang to come back. Don’t stay away too long!

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  39. I had an instructor in college, Nate, who did much as you described – he put me to sleep. The one from whom I learned the most, was the one who delivered his information with words that made us smile – THAT was my goal.

    But it has been my pleasure.

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  40. I’ve seen the “God’s Not Dead” movie twice (frankly, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is not only better but has better moral / ethical content for discussion — hint: watch it all the way through to the end of the credits) and I have some heartburn with the movie that has relevance to this topic.

    First of all, the professor in the movie wasn’t really an atheist — he’s a person who believed in God and hated Him. You can’t hate someone you don’t believe in. I guess the professor guy (played by Hercules) was this brand of “new atheist” all full of hate, not the true atheist who shrugs his shoulders and says, “I just don’t see proof for God — what’s all the fuss” and goes on and treats people better than your average Christian. I think the true atheist was the Dean Caine (Superman) character who had his “perfect life” with no regard for anyone but himself. He may have been cruel and insensitive, but he was the winner in this scenario.

    OK (spoilers), the prof had a death bed repentance and died. But what about the student grades in the class? And what about the PRC student? Surely he will face consequences when he gets home to China and Christianity will have created a huge problem for him without giving him any tools to cope.

    But the worst thing about this Christianity thing, as evidenced by the video above, is the horrible hypocrisy. The movie Christian characters acknowledge being unequally yoked. Without it, the movie would have flopped, but if they weren’t obeying Scripture in the first place, what complaint would they have? Really? Moreover, the Josh Whedon of the movie (really? really? Josh Whedon? C’mon, now!) seemed to be violating — as were the others — the “flee fornication” law from the Apostle Paul. What did the Christians think that was, some sort of insect sin? How did it not apply to them? Fortunately, thanks to this experiment, Josh found out that his sweetheart was really a dominating controlling bitch after only 6 years. How could he have not known? Well, at least that ends well — they break up.

    So the woman finds out she has cancer, but she’s all good for it because of her conversation with the drummer of The Newsboys. It’s so comforting to know you’re going to die in pain with no hope (except the possibility that now you won’t necessarily burn in hell forever). No real solution there — hasn’t anyone heard of healing (sans replacing lost limbs, that is)? Oh, well.

    And there at the end, the Jesus junkies are having their endorphin high at the loud concert (what’s with the lion roaring on the inside — that makes no sense at all), which is really the point of being a Christian, I guess — those druggie highs you get from your Christian street drug dealer selling you Chri$tian Mu$ic. Is it about morals, ethics or pure religion undefiled? It would have been better to have seen atheists in class turn to Christianity and visit orphans and widows in nursing homes afterward rather than to see people get high in the arena.

    And last, but certainly not least, haven’t these “Christians” ever make the connection that for men, even nature teaches you that it is a SHAME to have long hair? Jesus was a Nazarene, not a Nazarite (Nazarites have to refrain from ANY grape product, not just wine [Jesus was accused of being a wine bibber, so he must have routinely had grape products, wine, grape juice and raisins]). Why weren’t all those Christians shamed by the men with long hair — particularly the one from Duck Dynasty.

    Well, I’m underimpressed. The Christian right makes so much fuss about homosexuality and go right ahead with living together. Isn’t homosexuality just another form of fornication (with the grand exception for same sex marriages — so if the marriage bed is undefiled, two married guys together must be alright!)?

    I think before Christians get their noses bent out of shape, poking them into other people’s lives, they should get their act together and return to their fall back position of SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE and then being ready IF anyone asks them about the hope that is within them.

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  41. OK, OK, maybe I should explain: I came from a cult where the founder committed incest with his daughter for 10 years as he began his ministry.

    The stories from within the cult concerning how children were treated are appalling — including, but not restricted to — withholding medical treatment for serious conditions.

    I personally know a girl who had appendicitis who had medical treatment withheld and her appendix did burst. She did survive it some how, but she has never been well since. She was lucky — so many other children died.

    The reason for the separation of church and state (we should try for the separation of corporation and state) is that the eccentric egocentric beliefs of one person or a group of persons in an hierarchical based religion seems to inevitably lead to an oppressive crazy belief system — whether it is the Catholics who taught that the earth was the center of the universe or the leader of North Korea proclaiming himself god. For marginal people, giving them lots of power is definitely not a good thing.

    I’ll post this URL again just for reference:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-winner-effect/201304/the-north-korean-dictator-is-behaving-rationally

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  42. “(we should try for the separation of corporation and state)”
    What a great idea, Mikey!

    Like

  43. Just know that there are some “Christians” out there who agree with almost everything you said in this blog. I use that term loosely because like you said there are so many different types of Christianity out there now that using that term to describe myself now lumps me in with some people I don’t want to be lumped in with lol

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  44. There are many brands of Christianity every where you look. I remember going on a business trip to South East Oklahoma and there was a church building nearly every three blocks along the road. It’s no wonder the South is called “The Bible Belt”.

    The movie, “God’s Not Dead” portrays two brands of Christianity (at least): The traditional church with a solid caring pastor (Episcopalian?) and the arena Christianity playing Chri$tian Mu$ic. To be clear here, Chri$tian Mu$ic makes quite a lot of the mammon of this world. We are, of course, to assume that it is all going to the purpose of preaching the gospel.

    There is another type of Christianity not mentioned much here: The Megachurch. We have many of them here in the Pacific Northwest. The one nearest to where I live has somewhere around 10,000 people every weekend, with vans in the parking lot to whisk parishioners off to plastic services designed much like a Disney Ride at a theme park — it’s too far for most people to walk, hence the vans. The whole “service” is packaged up for a particular time limit, because, darn it all, there has to be turnover to accommodate the congregants (who receive no personal attention in a group situation lost in the vast crowd). The original church started out decades ago with about 25 people. The pastor was personable and promised that he would always maintain his simplicity in pursuit of his Christian ministry. Fast forward, and he now has a multimillion dollar mansion overlooking the Tacoma Narrows above the water with his daughter’s multimillion dollar mansion next to his. Some how money and prestige seems to have entered in to his thinking.

    The other Megachurch I’m thinking of was started by a former druggie “saved” by the Salvation of the Lord. A waitress who served him told me that she got no tip, he was rude and she had to endure his “Hitler children”. His is not just a Megachurch (as seen on TV) — it’s got plenty of facilities to go with it, which brings us to the joke about Megachurches.

    The Leader was bragging to his cadre of associates about the facilities: “We have tennis courts, swimming pools, basketball courts, youth centers, senior centers, cafeterias, our own movie theater, nature trails….,” he said, going on expansively about all the other things which could be done on Campus.

    A teen nearby listening to all this said, “With all this neat stuff, who needs God?”

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  45. @Unklee

    Hi again Nate. Surely there is another reason why we should be very careful about imposing our beliefs on other parents.

    Each of us could be wrong about our beliefs.

    What this rather grubby little suggestion does is subtly bypass the rights of the child completely, making them effectively chattel in the area of religion.

    If unklee truly believes this then is it wrong to question a parent who indoctrinates a child with the belief that dying for Allah is the most sublime honour. It’s okay for the child to blow itself to bits while destroying infidels?

    The child has no rights pertaining to circumcision, therefore it is perfectly okay to hack off its foreskin.

    It’s is perfectly all right to subject the child to biblical literalism and Creationism.
    ACE education and its insidious ilk are models of educational excellence?
    Right….

    Once again, unklee is trying to make a case for his brand of religion without bothering to
    consider all aspects of what this rubbish does to children.

    The problem, of course, is that once one begins to question a few aspects of child indoctrination then the whole of religion becomes open to scrutiny regarding what parts of it , if any, should children be exposed to?

    This, I feel, would be anathema to someone like unklee.

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  46. For those who take exception to the movie picturing a philosophy professor insisting that his students sign a paper saying “god is dead” as being unrealistic, you know, I could be wrong, but I sat through the ending credits (twice) and noted the lawsuits posted there and wonder if there wasn’t some basis for the episode in the movie. Perhaps it may have been more realistic than we imagine and could have happened.

    I’m not impressed either way, but I can say that in my experience working in an Academic environment along with working as a Corporate Manager and in government, that all sorts of things you wouldn’t think could happen actually do.

    In Pierce County, up until the mid 1970s, public employees around the time of elections, had representatives of the elected official come around to collect campaign contributions to help re-elect their boss and if they didn’t or they didn’t give enough, they ran the risk of being fired.

    In the corporations at which I worked I saw worse and academia had a lot of oppressive things going on.

    So I don’t really know.

    Do you?

    I’m sure there those who have baseless opinions who will comment here to set us straight. That’s the problem with finding the truth: So many people confuse finding truth with expressing opinions.

    Like

  47. Ark, I have some trouble with this point of view. Where do we begin to define what a parent should or shouldn’t teach or instill in their own children?

    I agree, of course, that it is easy to see some harmful and inaccurate teachings and rearing; like teaching your children to mutilate animals or to kill classmates, etc.

    But this line gets blurred too easily. There will always be dissent among differing parents as to what is right or wrong, or best or better to teach children.

    Do we forbid the teaching of santa clause and the easter bunny? Do we outlaw deism? can we legislate which scientific theories should be held over another? Can parents not tell their children which baseball team to cheer for; should the parent present each team equally (or n not at all) and let the child choose when they’re old enough?

    many of the christians are easy going, hard working, productive citizens. They may evangelize what they believe to be true, but maybe they are not doing it in a forceful manner. I’m sure they’d teach and indoctrinate their children – they think it’s right after all. parents have that right to raise their children as they see best. They may lead their children astray, but as long as they dont lead them to early graves or lead them to send others to early graves, maybe it’ll be okay.

    They have their right to speak and teach, as do we.

    Wouldn’t you teach your children what you believe strongly to be true? would you want others telling you that you could not do that?

    am I missing your point?

    Like

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