Thursday, August 11, 2011

Psst...another "R" we don't like to discuss

I've taken a few weeks to mull this over and I've taken those weeks, too, to make sure that I don't over-react or say something that I would later regret...Now that I've gotten that out of the way...

There are a lot of subjects we don't discuss with people for fear that you may have differing opinions and it would harm the relationship, or you end up walking into a debate.  Politics is one of them, race is another, and then there's the other R word, Religion.

Of all the religions in the world, it seems that there is just one that wants me to be a part of it.  You know who they are, they come to your door, they offer to "share" something from the Bible with you.  You play along and smile, nod politely and then give them some random excuse as to why you have to cut their conversion - I mean conversation, short.  They leave you with a little pamphlet or booklet and depart.  Usually that's they way it happens and perhaps its just once or twice a year.  My poor husband had this happen to him right around Christmas time one year and they had the gall to call him a hypocrite for having a Christmas tree and to not associate with any certain religion.  See, my husband is not the type to simply play along, he tells them up front that he's an atheist and that he isn't buying their b.s.  Now myself, on the other hand, sometimes I play along and other times I just say, "No thanks!"  People have been knocking on doors to sell things to others for a very long time.  Whether it's a vacuum cleaner or a religion, we all manage to be nice for the most part and then send them on their way.  The thing that gets me a bit hot under the collar is when they try to sell it to my kid, at school, in the guise of a "present".

That's right.  One of those people who normally go house to house knocking on doors trying to sell people on their religion in the hopes that they'll convert more people, either that or out of pure insecurity on the part of the leaders of said religion...(haven't quite figured that one out yet) tried using proximity as a device for converting my child.  Just because my child was a schoolmate, it meant that he MUST have a copy of this very interesting piece of literature called, "Learn from the Great Teacher":

This book was wrapped and placed into my child's hand by a parent.

I am usually a very open person; I am open to new ideas, open to conversations about a lot of things, heck, I can even have conversations with people about subjects that make most other people rather uncomfortable.

But when you try to sneak religious materials into my son's hands at school...it's a no-no.

The note on the package read, "To take home and share with your parents," because we ALL need to learn from the "Great Teacher".

I was mildly aghast, my husband on the other hand, had a more visceral reaction. His first thought was to get her phone number, call her and give her a piece of his mind.  Obviously, it didn't happen.  He instead wrote to American Atheists who in turn responded (albeit one month later) by telling us the school did exactly what they should have done in the situation, as did we.  The principal and the teacher were horrified and contacted the area superintendent as well as the district lawyer.  A letter was sent home with the students explaining that the school was not aware of the book's existence or the fact that it went home with every student.  All bases were covered.

I do feel a bit of sadness for that parent, who either is so insecure in her own beliefs that she felt the need to beg acceptance by sharing the book or she is just completely unaware of the fact that church and state have been separate since the creation of the United States of America.  Well, I'd like to believe it's the former and not the latter.

I'm always up for an intelligent conversation about religion and I do not discriminate against any religion.  I do however, have issue with those religions that practice the "seek and conquer" form of recruitment.  Sharing your beliefs is fine by me, just wait until I ask you what those beliefs are.

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