Dd brought home religious tract from school - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am all for the freedom of religion, and I respect that everyone has their own path. We have a church in town that is at the center of a lot of controversies. It's called The Door Christian Center. A lot of people consider it a cult with mind control. They discourage TV and outside friendships, and people spend all their free time at the church. They have this horrible halloween haunted house showing abortions and murder to scare people into converting. At a local festival a pastor of the church got on a megaphone and was telling people they would go to hell if they didn't accept Jesus. The also put up a model of the twin towers as a scare tactic. Some teens faked their own abduction to avoid going to church. I could tell stories . . but anyway the point is that I really don't want anything to do with this church.

A girl in dd's class is a member of this church. Her mom tried to talk to me about her church last year in the parking lot and I was polite but firm about not really being interested, thank you. This started as a friendly conversation asking her where she moved from and she said her church sent her to our area (the head church is here, they have branches all over).

So anyway, yesterday dd brought home a tract. On one side was a picture of the world next to the sun. A neat picture like you would find in a science book. The other side had a very scary message talking about everyone being born into sin and facing eternal hell and damnation if they don't accept Jesus, etc. And then the address of the church. Being a good reader, she read most of it and had questions. I had to assure her she was not going to hell and talk about how it's not okay to try to sell your religion to other people. My dd said that this girl had given a tract to every student in the class. This was at lunchtime. The kids were told by the girl not to tell their teacher.

I took it into the principals' office this AM and she was flabbergasted and shocked. She took the tract and said she would address this.

I'm just venting. I don't know what makes that mom think it's okay to tell my 7 year old she's going to hell if she has different beliefs. A neighborhood girl also talked to my dd about how bad people go to hell and good people go to heaven. This girl is nice and her family is nice, and they don't try to convert anyone. I think it was just a discussion the two had for some reason. I had just finished talking to her about what different people believe and having many paths up to the top of the mountain speech. Maybe it was timing, I dunno, but I was not ready to deal with this tract and the message it had.

I also wonder in the back of my head why would small children be taught about something scary like hell at church? Isn't that more of a concept for older children to learn? Why not teach younger children the positive values of their religion and try to keep them the innocent people they are until they are able to think critically and in a more mature manner?

Edited: Mods please move this to the Spirituality forum if you need to. :-)

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#2 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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That is horrible!!!

And terribly unChristlike!

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#3 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:10 PM
 
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I believe that targetting children is against the law. here it is anyway.

I feel very very sorry for that little girl.
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#4 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:11 PM
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What is going on with this???

My 11 yo brought how a pocket-sized New Testament from school the other day!! Said a couple of "old people" were standing at the end of the 5th grade hallway handing them out, shaking the kids hands and saying, "Congratulations!"

I've called the principal, but not gotten a return call yet.
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#5 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:13 PM
 
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When I was in 6th grade I sat next to a boy who was a JW. He always brought religious tracts to school and I always accepted them so I wouldn't hurt his feelings. But looking back, I wonder if his parents encouraged him to distribute the tracts in (a public) school.

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#6 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What is going on with this???

My 11 yo brought how a pocket-sized New Testament from school the other day!! Said a couple of "old people" were standing at the end of the 5th grade hallway handing them out, shaking the kids hands and saying, "Congratulations!"

I've called the principal, but not gotten a return call yet.
I remember getting one right across the street from the school as I was walking home. They were handing them out to everyone and your first instinct is to take what someone gives you, so I did. I think that off school grounds it's legal. Not sure about that though.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#7 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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I still can't get beyond the church group here that was petitioning the local planned parenthood(which happens to be one street over from the elementary school and everyone has to go by them...) and they were marching around shouting and carrying pictures(HUGE pictures) of aborted babies and fetuses and so many other scary things. I WAS SO DISGUSTED!

Talk about grossing me out and being completely out of line!!! Fanatics scare me so much....

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#8 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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Wow. I'm sorry that happened.

I am a Christian, and I believe we all need to believe what Jesus said, but I don't think that is the best way to share beliefs with other people, to say the very least.
Honestly I think that church would freak me out too!

If you can, let us know what the school did.
I heard on the radio (on a law show) recently that it's against a child's free speech not to be allowed to say whatever or hand things out at school, but I think there also should be a school rule against handing things out that can really scare a child.
I mean (coming at it as a Christian), other things are 'dangerous' too, but you don't just go around DC and start handing out tracts of vicious dogs or child molesters or traffic accidents... I don't get it.

How do they think they are going to get anyone to 'their side' if they are alienating people and scaring children?
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#9 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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....they were marching around shouting and carrying pictures(HUGE pictures) of aborted babies and fetuses and so many other scary things. I WAS SO DISGUSTED!


I know!!!
They do that here too. I hate it when I am stopped at a red light, and suddenly see *bam* right there in front of innocent little DC those huge pictures.
I always point in the opposite way, and am like "HEY!! LOOK AT THAT (really exciting tree/red truck/whatever)!!!!" and my DC think I'm crazy.
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#10 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow. I'm sorry that happened.

I am a Christian, and I believe we all need to believe what Jesus said, but I don't think that is the best way to share beliefs with other people, to say the very least.
Honestly I think that church would freak me out too!
Exactly. It's not about sharing beliefs, it's about the scare tactics involved. My dd's have my blessing to choose whatever faith they want when they are adults, but I pray that they don't choose some off-the-wall organization that uses scare tactics to get people to convert.

At least a good discussion came out of this-- and probably many more-- and hopefully my dd will be a stronger person because of it.

I will ask the principal about what was done about this in a few days.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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#11 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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I also wonder in the back of my head why would small children be taught about something scary like hell at church? Isn't that more of a concept for older children to learn? Why not teach younger children the positive values of their religion and try to keep them the innocent people they are until they are able to think critically and in a more mature manner?
I think because to them, it's all about that, the saving souls, the conversion moment, etc. Beyond that, they seem to have nothing to offer. And they don't seem to care how they get you, just that they get you (i.e. "soul saved"). When a church is not so much about that, but more about the walk, the learning, the growing, those things are emphasized more and I think a kinder, gentler kind of religion is the result.

The sad part is, the emphasis on this only drives people away IMO. I was exposed to people like this during my childhood and they turned me off so much I didn't want anything to do with Christianity whatsoever for a long time.
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#12 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Exactly. It's not about sharing beliefs, it's about the scare tactics involved. My dd's have my blessing to choose whatever faith they want when they are adults, but I pray that they don't choose some off-the-wall organization that uses scare tactics to get people to convert.

At least a good discussion came out of this-- and probably many more-- and hopefully my dd will be a stronger person because of it.
That's awesome. What a great way to look at it: a teachable moment.
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#13 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:40 PM
 
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OH, hunny (yes, I got told to for doing it, but I do it-hunny, and I mean it like sister or 'gurfrient' or compadre or whatevss, but I digress), I'd have half a mind to invite the mom and dad over and ask them if they've yet accepted the lordy be satan into their lives.

I'd then go on to tell them about big fish tales and which stories I thought fell under *that* umbrella in, ahem, certain books, and then to cap off, I'd ask if they heard of the flying spaghetti monster yet. (or whatever that thing is...it IS a funny parody, but I probably only have it half right......which would bring up a 'whole nuther' ball of wax about half hearing, the telephone game, and only hearing what you need and when you need it to suit your needs). Then, I send their stunned butts home to reflect. THankyouverymuchforyourpamphlet. Nice toilet literature. (literally).

but that's just me.
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#14 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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and their home would have a special place in my heart on say, mischief night.

There is more than one way to scare the bejesus out of someone. You scare my kids, I toilet paper and flaming poo bag your doorstep. We're even. sort of.


I'm soooo mature.......
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#15 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:46 PM
 
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Well to the principle for saying she would address this. That is great to hear.
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#16 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 05:47 PM
 
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Ok. I wouldn't really do any of that. Ok, most of it.

Ok, any of it that I thought would be traced back to me.

I would seriously have no problem w/speaking quite frankly to any parent who put suggestive or scary stuff in the face or hand to face of my own young child. That much, I stand by.
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#17 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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*sigh* The hard part out of all of this, as I see it, is that these fanatical religious REALLY think they're doing the right thing by using scare tactics. Personally, I wouldn't want any part of living in that much fear, but at least, I guess, they have some way (being "saved") to allay that fear a bit...

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#18 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 06:24 PM
 
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That is just messed up, especially such a threatening message! :

People used to give out bibles in front of the school buses at my Jr. High. It was annoying b/c they'd practically SHOVE them into your hand, and I felt guilty just throwing it down, so I'd leave it on the bus seat when I got home.

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#19 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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we've had this issue happen before-our school policy is that the school must be the one to distribute it, therefore the content is subject to principal approval. the only thing the local church here distributes is info about church youth programs (which still ticks me off, but they have a right to do so.)
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#20 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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I think you did the best thing by alerting the principal. Personally, I would have cut the tract into the shape of an inverted pentacle, and sent it back to school with my DC to hand back to the other kid. But that's just me.
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#21 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 07:04 PM
 
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A JW once gave my daughter religious propaganda on our front lawn. I completely flipped, didn't handle it at all the way that I wished I had. I was just so shocked that she would do that.

Imagine if I were to try to influence her child into believing there is no god, though, she would have been outraged.

That said, it's pretty unusual for people to target children, and it sounds like the principal is going to handle it.
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#22 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 07:16 PM
 
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I think you did the best thing by alerting the principal. Personally, I would have cut the tract into the shape of an inverted pentacle, and sent it back to school with my DC to hand back to the other kid. But that's just me.
That would simply terrify a child who is probably already horribly confused and terrified all the time.
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#23 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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I believe that targetting children is against the law. here it is anyway.

I feel very very sorry for that little girl.
I agree with this.

Scaring someone into a religion (or even harming children into a religion for that matter) is not a healthy way to embrace spirituality.

As far as targeting children being against the law... I wonder about that too. The First Amendment, "Freedom of Religion" ...Well, I don't know where to go with this but aren't we suppose to protect a child's inalienable rights as an American to express their "Freedom of Religion"? Perhaps when they become of 'age', say 18 yrs - when their critical thinking is well established?

Thats such a cluttered train of thought. I was thinking along the lines of THEIR own path. Ahh forget it. I don't know what I'm saying.
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#24 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 07:44 PM
 
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Now I'm really curious what the principal will do. I believe it falls within a child's 1rst amendment rights to hand out tracts in school and to speak about religion. The school can't hand out tracts or speak about religion in a "witnessing" way but each individual has the right to do so. I believe very strongly in freedom of religion and freedom of speech so if this happened to my child I would not be upset, I'd explain to my child that this country has freedom of religion and speech blah blah blah and some people believe things other people don't. But that is just me!!!
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#25 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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I don't know if this has changed, but I believe that someone could be charged with corruption of a minor here for such things. It has been quite sometime since then though, so it has possibly changed.
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#26 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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Now I'm really curious what the principal will do. I believe it falls within a child's 1rst amendment rights to hand out tracts in school and to speak about religion. The school can't hand out tracts or speak about religion in a "witnessing" way but each individual has the right to do so. I believe very strongly in freedom of religion and freedom of speech so if this happened to my child I would not be upset, I'd explain to my child that this country has freedom of religion and speech blah blah blah and some people believe things other people don't. But that is just me!!!
My understanding of the law in my state is that this "tract" as people call it would fall under proselytizing, and would thus be illegal in public schools.

I don't know exactly how the line is drawn, but there is a line here.
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#27 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 08:45 PM
 
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Even if it's covered by 1st amendment, it's grossly innapropriate.
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#28 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 09:01 PM
 
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And we've all already seen what I said, right? but I do secretly kinda dig them for their chutzpah. I dig a big set. I do really appreciate their thinking that what they think is A-OK and the rest of us are nuts for not thinking so. I can understand and relate, b/c I have my own horses I ride...vaccines, for one.....I don't think I'd do a full on transcript, but I do know that I'll grab any willing and able soul and will talk the legs off a chair on any topic I'm passionate about. Is this any different? '"d still egg their car once a year. ORRRR, wouldn't. But I do respect their value set and moreso, ballsytime.

just sayin.

I listened to my gov't. I can agree to disagree w/a LOT...lot lot lot ohhhhh so much of a lot of lot....this is small taters to get wadded over, though yet, soooo fun to bunge up about. again, just sayin.
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#29 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 09:22 PM
 
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A JW once gave my daughter religious propaganda on our front lawn. I completely flipped, didn't handle it at all the way that I wished I had. I was just so shocked that she would do that.

Imagine if I were to try to influence her child into believing there is no god, though, she would have been outraged.

That said, it's pretty unusual for people to target children, and it sounds like the principal is going to handle it.
I highly doubt it. If it were me, and somebody tried to tell my child that there was no god, I'd sit down and go over with him why I believe there is, show him Scriptures and peices of evidence that point to why I believe what I believe, and have a healthy conversation with him about it. When he gets old enough, he will make up his own mind.



And yes, I agree with you, however, that that individual would have been better off asking to speak to the adult of the household instead of taking the liberty of speaking with the child.


When I read the OP, I just knew JWs were going to get thrown into the mix.
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#30 of 66 Old 02-29-2008, 09:39 PM
 
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Not cool. Regardless of what the religion, it has no place in a public school IMO.

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