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Started by GyratingTrampoline on May 15, 2018 2:41:02 PM
To what extent would you attempt to shelter your children from evangelical types?

see post #1

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GyratingTrampoline - 15 May 2018 14:41:13 (#1 of 113)

so, my daughter has started going to taekwondo classes. It's a wonderful community event of mixed ages and abilities, the instructor is charismatic and fun and does a great job. My daughter who is 6 is the youngest one and enjoys it immensely. It only costs £1 per session so the instructor is not doing it to make money.

It's held in a church hall, and recently the vicar or whatever has started coming along and delivering a christian talk during the middle of the session. There's nothing overtly offensive about the content, no hellfire or homophobia but there's something about his smarmy patronising tone that really makes my skin crawl. That and the fact that clearly part of the deal is cheap access to an appropriate space for the sessions, in return to him gaining regular access to impressionable young minds.

The instructor is also christian and doesn't seem to mind these talks.

Now, I understand that it's their gaff, their rules. And I don't feel that this religious person is doing any actual harm because I am confident that if I raise my daughter to think for herself then she will probably reject these religious teachings and if she doesn't then that's up to her too. And since she enjoys learning taekwondo I wouldn't dream of not letting her go. However I feel I owe it to myself to tell this religious person that I don't approve of his behaviour. Not because I think it would make any difference to anything, but because it's something that regularly irks me and I think I would feel better about the situation if I somehow registered my disapproval.

I talked it over with my friend though, whose kids attend the same taekwondo session, and his pov was that all I would achieve would be to make the religious person feel bad about what he would continue to do anyway, and what's the point in making someone feel bad?

FrankieTeardrop - 15 May 2018 14:42:51 (#2 of 113)

Interesting question. Teardroplet is currently 19 months old, and my partner has said that she is prepared to go to church to get her into a good school.

I hadn't realised how strongly I felt about Teardroplet being exposed to all of that stuff until now - turns out I feel very strongly indeed.

FrankieTeardrop - 15 May 2018 14:43:35 (#3 of 113)

"It's held in a church hall, and recently the vicar or whatever has started coming along and delivering a christian talk during the middle of the session."

A question I asked myself, then my partner - how would you feel if it was a Jehovah's witness, or a Scientologist who was doing this?

TRaney - 15 May 2018 14:43:43 (#4 of 113)

make the religious person feel bad

I bet he wouldn’t. He knows what he’s up to.

TRaney - 15 May 2018 14:46:44 (#5 of 113)

Our kids go to a Protestant school which involves some Christian teaching. It’s less obvious than I feared, and at their age is just another fairy story. I’m reasonably confident we can quash it at the dinner table, especially when they find out about Santa.

Less expectedly I don’t mind the broader cultural consequences not in some crazy racist way, more a kind of underlying seriousness.

My sister had a flirtation with the Baptists in her teens. It passed.

SheikYerbouti - 15 May 2018 14:47:10 (#6 of 113)

Yes. He is perfectly entitled to say 'this is a Christian taekwondo group and if you're unhappy you're welcome to go to a different group' but if you feel it's not been presented honestly I would say so, personally.

FrankieTeardrop - 15 May 2018 14:48:07 (#7 of 113)

"That and the fact that clearly part of the deal is cheap access to an appropriate space for the sessions, in return to him gaining regular access to impressionable young minds."

That's the bit I was having trouble with concerning taking Teardroplet to church, and going to a school where one of the Mission[ary] statements is "instilling a good relationship with God" or something.

I shiver at the idea of her little brain being polluted with nasty concepts like sin, guilt, hell, the devil, sado-masochistic imagery, crucifixion, heaven, judgement day, human sacrifice, and all the rest.

widenation - 15 May 2018 14:48:38 (#8 of 113)

I went to Sunday School aged 5-7 or so . Just made models/paintings etc based on biblical stories and stuff and there may have been brief talks similar to what you describe. I wouldn't worry personally - she won’t take much notice of anything that doesn't interest her.

mingmong - 15 May 2018 14:48:40 (#9 of 113)

In your situation, GT, I would point out some of the obvious fallacies in the bible-basher's narrative to your daughter - in a way that manages to show that you don't have any personal animus against people who hold those views, but regard the views themselves as ridiculous

It will be a good opportunity to introduce a bit of critical thinking, and (let's face it) the worldview of Ivan Gelical is not a difficult one to deconstruct

Its also a good exercise in keeping one's counsel even when abject bollocks is being intoned, or two maintain the appearance of friendly respect even while acknolwedging inward disagreement. Another important life lesson

FrankieTeardrop - 15 May 2018 14:48:58 (#10 of 113)

"It’s less obvious than I feared, and at their age is just another fairy story."

There's a reason they focus on the baby Jesus at that age. A very clever hook.

pmcblonde - 15 May 2018 14:49:36 (#11 of 113)

What Sheik said. I would find a different class that focuses on the sport with no unwanted extras

Dayraven - 15 May 2018 14:51:15 (#12 of 113)

Taekwondo and sermons not being a particularly obvious package deal somehow makes this look worse than other religion-connected activities, to me.

TRaney - 15 May 2018 14:51:18 (#13 of 113)

I shiver at the idea of her little brain being polluted with nasty concepts like sin, guilt, hell, the devil, sado-masochistic imagery, crucifixion, human sacrifice, and all the rest.

As the pagans are always telling us, it’s all stolen anyway. I think these concepts are more primal.

GyratingTrampoline - 15 May 2018 14:51:35 (#14 of 113)

I would find a different class that focuses on the sport with no unwanted extras



I'm not an expert in taekwondo classes but I would go out on a limb and say that this one is particularly excellent, due to the personality of the instructor. And her friends go to it. So I can't see us going elsewhere due to the religious aspect.

MsCharDonnay - 15 May 2018 14:52:53 (#15 of 113)

My children's school is religious and the reception teacher evangelical.

We spent a lot of time saying "some people believe in this religion, others believe in these religions, but others believe in science...".

They will make up their own minds in due course. Take them to the science museum, read science books, learn about dinosaurs and evolution, learn about other religions.

Let them make their own minds up, rather than shielding them. They will probably end up atheists, like most people, like my kids and most of their friends.

The only kid in their class who is ultra religious (ie does not believe in evolution or dinosaurs) is probably that way due to his parents being ultra-religious.

What you believe in and why - and the things they learn from you out of school and clubs - has far more of an influence than anyone or anything else.

Agaliarept - 15 May 2018 14:53:39 (#16 of 113)

I hadn't realised how strongly I felt about Teardroplet being exposed to all of that stuff until now - turns out I feel very strongly indeed.

One of the Mrs mates is very involved in the church. She has never pressed us about religion and we spend a lot of time with her and her family.

Recently her church held an easter event for the kids so we went along. Half way through they stopped to show a video about the Easter Jesus story.

I too found I was quite angry that they were using chocolate and games to hook kids and then force feed them their made up stories.

Recently my 5 year old started asking me about why Jesus died for our sins. I have been happy to answer his questions but I make a lot of noise about the fact this is only what some people believe, others believe different things and me and mummy don't believe any of it.

Gotout - 15 May 2018 14:55:05 (#17 of 113)

Look on it like the commercials in the middle of a TV program, you don't have to buy it.

FleurDuMal - 15 May 2018 14:55:17 (#18 of 113)

all I would achieve would be to make the religious person feel bad about what he would continue to do anyway

It's very hard to make religious people feel bad. It's more likely he'd feel persecuted, and therefore even more sanctimonious.

Having said that, both my children went to a Catholic school (pure cynicism - the results were better) and both have a healthy disrespect for any form of God-bothering.

TRaney - 15 May 2018 14:55:23 (#19 of 113)

The kids here decorate crosses at Easter and parade through the streets. At the top of the cross they stick a hen made of bread.

FleurDuMal - 15 May 2018 14:55:28 (#20 of 113)

Oh, and what Gotout said.

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