Justifiably Annoyed?

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Randomhero1982's picture
Justifiably Annoyed?

So, my 7 year old son came home from school yesterday and as always I asked him how his day went....

After a good conversation on what he learnt what he had for lunch (more importantly, pudding) and what he did during his break times with his friends...

He told me that, "the school had a special visitor today".

I asked him who was it.

He replied, "I can't remember her name, but she was telling us about Jesus".

I can't even properly articulate just how angry this has made me despite keeping the guise of 'fun dad'.

Half of me feels like I should talk to the school, another half thinks I should leave it and discuss this with my boy on an individual level, allow him to develop critical thinking skills etc...

Any thoughts?!

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Cognostic's picture
There is an organization,

There is an organization, "Freedom From Religion Foundation" .... "The Foundation acts on countless violations of separation of state and church on behalf of members and the public, including: prayers in public schools, payment of public funds for religious purposes, government funding of pervasively sectarian institutions, and the ongoing campaign against civil rights for women, gays and lesbians led by churches." https://ffrf.org/about

I have seen one of the attorneys interviewed on Atheist Experience. If you contact them and inform them of the situation, they will send a letter to the school informing them of the legal violation anonymously.

From what I understand, it is one of the services they provide.

As far as your son goes, I would just make a joke out of it. "Some people believe in ghosts." Fun dad and not serious is probably the best way to go. Treat it like nothing. He probably told you because the lady's message bothered him and he wanted to see your reaction. (You might use a Sunday to take him to church. Find the most boring service you can, and take him. Once should cure him.)

As for the school. Wow! I would be hard pressed not to walk into that principal's office and read him / her the riot act. (Still, that would depend on many things. Is my job secure. What is my relationship in the community like? Do I live in a small rural town or a city. CITY: No question at all, I am in that office. SMALL TOWN: I have to seriously consider blow back and ask if it is worth it or not.l

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Unfortunately, If you are

Unfortunately, If you are from the UK as I believe you are, from what you have alluded to.
R.E. is part of the curriculum and is therefore perfectly valid to be taught in schools.

So I would strongly suggest that you teach him critical thinking and arguments against theism, quickly.

Cognostic's picture
RE: UK - Oops.... Never

RE: UK - Oops.... Never mind the link if that is the case. You are all religious and support the Church of England in the UK. You do this whether you are an atheist or not. The Church of England always gets its money. (FROM YOU) Here is the rub..... If you are in the UK, (THIS IS GOING TO HURT) You actually paid for that woman to come to your son's class. Sorry... :-( My advice was no good.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Would you care to elaborate?

Would you care to elaborate?

Tin-Man's picture


Yeah, you are definitely justified in being annoyed. And I admit it would be very tempted to go have a little chat with the principal, even if only to ask why that individual was allowed.to preach to kids in a public school. However, my personal opinion is that it is more important to focus on your son.

Look at it this way... He is going to encounter such things in some form or fashion on a regular basis, especially as he gets older. No way to avoid that. Moreover, there is no way you can ever deflect every source of religious exposure or shield him from it. Therefore, it would be far more practical and effective to simply instill in your son the ability to think for himself and determine on his own just how silly it all is.

Now, considering your son is only 7, I like Cog's suggestion that you just play it off to him as if it is no big deal and maybe even make it a bit of a joke. Remember, you are that boy's "super hero", and he is watching everything you do and absorbing like a little sponge. Basically, he will adapt and take on whatever attitude you display. Then, as he gets older, wait for him to come to you with questions, and have your answers ready. But (speaking from personal experience) if you try to make a big deal out of it and have some sort of "serious" discussion with him at this point, it could possibly confuse him. Because I know when I was that age, the last thing I wanted to do was have duscussions about god/Jesus/Satan etc. But I kept getting it shoved down my throat on a regular basis, and all it did was make me resentful of it all. Don't do that in reverse with the atheism. Just my two cents worth.

xenoview's picture
You should talk to the school

You should talk to the school and your son.

watchman's picture
You MUST contact the school …

You MUST contact the school …

if only to find out who this random person was ,what church or organisation does she represent.... who in the school authorised this exercise..... remember it was only in 2013 that various American Evangelical missionaries were found to be insinuating themselves into Scottish schools …. supposedly to "help" the schools …..


let us know what you find out....

boomer47's picture
Your son comes first (even

Your son comes first (even before your anger) take care that he is not made to feel in any way 'different' at school.

For goodness sake get expert advice on an age appropriate ways to approach this with your son , now and going forward.

Not that I'd really know, what with not having kids and all.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Random

@ Random

You are in England? "Religious Education in England is mandated by the Education Act 1944 as amended by the Education Reform Act 1988 and the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. The provision of Religious Education is compulsory in all state-funded schools, but it is not compulsory for any of the children to take the subject."

If they have a speaker from an evangelist church or any religious organisation that is speaking NOT during the regular RE allocated lessons i.e the whole or part school is required to attend during normal lesson time then a written parental permission slip is required under the Act. This true of non religious activities as well to allow the religious to opt out.

If in doubt contact OFCOM before talking to the Head.

I brought up several step and foster kids, even at 7 they understand that people believe different things. When we were put in this situation I just used to ask how they felt about the talk, did they learn anything? I would then have a conversation about what they asked not what I thought. It opens up the floodgates for great conversations later. They DO talk about that stuff among themselves, it is best that one kid has it right LOL.

Sheldon's picture
It's a requirement apparently

It's a requirement apparently, my brother in law's a teacher and had to sit mute while some idiot apologists lectured his class on the bible and christianity.

He said the anger he felt was negated by the look of incredulity on many of their faces when fantasies like Noah's Ark and Adam and Eve were being "explained" to the class.

It's a shocking state of affairs but trust your boy to see through it in his own time. You could ask him salient questions about religious teachings, especially how they are contradicted by scientific fact, and of course how none of it is evidence based.

My grandson at 7 announced he was an atheist. His fathers family background is Irish catholics, so I was a little uneasy I'd made an unguarded comment in front of him.

Turns out he'd prayed to god to cure him of his nut allergy, and all the pain in the arse restrictions its imposed on him.

God did nothing, ipso facto, god doesn't exist. I smiled at his reasoning, then laughed out loud when I was sure he couldn't hear me. Many children, especially in the current climate where knowledge and information are exchanged faster than ever before, can spot bullshit almost instinctively.

Without telling him what to think, I would ask him questions that will help him examine the claims critically himself. He'll get there on his own I'm sure...

Cognostic's picture
Thank you for that She el

Thank you for that She el don.

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