So, I got a letter home from the school the other day letting us know that the Gideons have asked to come and speak to our fifth-graders (of which mine eldest spawn is one) and provide them each with a free Bible. At the bottom of the letter is a disclaimer stating that this is not an initiative of the local school board.
I'm not real thrilled about this, so I sent the form back with a note that I did not wish for my child to participate.
I had very little religious education growing up, beyond what I sought out for myself over the years and what I have seen has not impressed me. At this point in time I consider myself pretty much an Atheist, and my children have been taught a moral code based simply on the idea of being empathic to others' feelings and respecting their bodily autonomy. Pretty simple.
I've had my kids enrolled, albeit reluctantly, in a few Bible camps due to the fact that church funded kids activities tend to be a hell of a lot cheaper than other kinds of day camps so I justified it using providing the kids with a social outlet. But I always felt kid of squicky, especially when my daughter went to her dad's and told her stepsister that she wouldn't go to Heaven because she didn't believe in god.
The ex-hub and I had a little chat after that and came to the conclusion that we'd seek other social outlets for the kiddies.
So yeah, I'm not thrilled. I wasn't going to even mention it here, but a friend of mine posted the question to Facebook and a discussion ensued.
I'm of the belief that one's spiritual and religious beliefs are a personal thing and are not suitable for the school environment. One woman made the comment that this would provide a moral compass to kids. I replied that one can teach children morals and ethics without relying on the Bible.
I think that what bugs me most is not the fact that if I wanted to indoctrinate my kids I'd be sending them to church, or at the very least a Catholic school (please don't get me started on the fact that we still have a Catholic school board) but it's that I have the feeling that in our rather white-bread community, I'm not sure I'd see it going over well if say, a Muslim group wanted to talk to the school and hand out copies of the Qu'ran - although, incidentally, the public library did recently hold a Question-Answer type period on Islam that I was tempted to check out and then I completely forgot about it...
Anyway, I digress.. I'm not sure that would go over so well.. or what if one of our many local members of the Pagan community wanted to come lecture the kids? Or.. what if I wrote to the School board and asked if I could come in and lecture on Atheism and hand out copies of writings by Nieztche or Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion?"
Would they be as welcoming then?
I'm almost tempted to write a letter suggesting just that...
In other news, I have now have the school board to blame for the fact that I've had Rocky Racoon stuck in my bloody head all day long.
UPDATE: Holy hell (*snicker*) I just remembered another reason why this pisses me off. Because this is being hosted by the same school that has had 'Orange and Black day' in place of Halloween celebrations, so as not to offend the poor widdle Christian (and other) kids whose parents don't let them celebrate Halloween.
Hypocrisy at its finest.