Tuesday, October 11, 2011

UPDATED: Yeah. Not impressed.

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.

14 comments:

  1. That sounds really... wrong... for a public school.

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  2. Is there a way I can sit-in to ask all the questions I've always wanted to know about Gideons but have been too lazy to investigate? Like, how do they get their Bibles in all the Hotel rooms? or How come no one has ever seen a Gideon church? And are Gideons ninja-Christians?

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  3. When Kiddo was in elementary, they handed out bibles to the kids. But, they stood just off property and gave them to the kids when school was let out. Kiddo never went over to get one. Some of the other kids thought she was odd because she didn't want one.

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  4. yeah, apparently they used to do that at the local high school as well... the Facebook debate, which has, surprisingly, stayed quite civil, but I've had to answer a few questions of 'what harm can this possibly do' which is like.. well none if you're sitting from a priviledged Christian perspective, but I'm kind of not.

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  5. I've found that Canadians are far more likely to be open-minded about religion than Americans, and I've had some bad experiences, particularly with certain Christians, about religion.

    I was raised without a religion, although my parents have gone on (go figure) to become full-on Catholics. Hmm.

    Pearl

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  6. Great post. The only way religion should be in schools is religious studies where kids can learn about different religions and the reasons why people in the 21st century still feel the need to cling to belief systems that should have remained in the Dark Ages.

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  7. That's one of the things that was brought up in the discussion.. I have very little issue with kids learning ABOUT religion in a historical or sociological context, since it has such a huge influence on so many aspects of our lives that we don't even realize.

    I do, however, have a big problem with a group coming in to my kid's PUBLIC school and saying "Here's the Bible. It's the word of God."

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  8. I can't believe a public school would even think about having the Gideons come and talk to fifth graders! NO WAY! It is literally against the law. I'd make a big fucking stink if I were you.

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  9. This is stupid, IF you invite one, invite them all, or none at all. And I also agree that Americans as a whole, especially the "Bible belt" take religion WAY more serious then we do.

    No one, child or otherwise should be put into a position where beliefs lead to exclusion and making the one with the differed opinion feel ashamed of it, we SHOULD be better than that.

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  10. well, this intrigues me. i would not be comfortable with it either & find it odd that they don't 'celebrate' halloween yet think this would not offend people? (at least they sent a letter home first though, i guess)

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  11. I'd forgotten about the Orange and Black Day! Yeah, this school clearly has an agenda. I wonder if they know about Jesus Ween....

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  12. This is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the constitution. I'd let Freedom from Religion know about this (ffrf.org), they have taken on issues like this before.

    You've got to fight this. Really. No joke.

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  13. I'm not really impressed either. You touched on one topic that definitely pushes my buttons--the belief that religion is needed to teach morality. Um, not exactly. I am a good, kind, giving, honest, respectful person. I am an agnostic. To think these things are mutually exclusive makes me feel stabby. (I don't stab, I just feel that way.) It doesn't have to be called a "sin" to teach children that something shouldn't be done. That "what harm can it do" line is particularly difficult to answer when the person speaking it has the same belief system of the proposed speakers. They don't get it...however, like you said, unless they are presenting a variety of belief systems, I'd be pretty riled up.

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Engaging in discussion and/or general sucking up.. that's where it's at!

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