On Saturday, January 29, 2022, advocates worldwide will be holding the 11th Annual International Day of Protest Against Hereditary Religion. One of the goals of the annual protests is to raise awareness about the handicap of forcing religion on children.
End Hereditary Religion, a Facebook page dedicated to promoting the movement against religion being passed from parents to children, said, even if the practice has been ongoing for centuries, "that does not make it right." The page has now reached close to nine thousand followers.
Rivka Goldstein, one of the organizers of the 11th annual protest, defines hereditary religion as the religion that gets passed on to a child. "These religions are inherent to the family and to the culture where the child belongs," Goldstein said.
End Hereditary Religion was started in 2009 by Eric Schulke, an activist who promotes multiple advocacies. The annual protest, which began in 2010, is slowly growing and gaining traction within the atheist, humanist, and agnostic communities.
According to the American Psychological Association, "data suggest an interplay of both genetic and environmental factors in people's attitudes toward, for example, sex, politics, and religion." However, in most cases, the environment plays "a stronger role."
Parents are a source of genetic factors and serve as an environmental force that shapes a child's belief systems. The parental obligation to indoctrinate children remains an overwhelming tendency in many families.
There may be forms of indoctrination that are harmless, but in general, telling a child that they will burn in hell for an eternity if they fail to meet the requirements of an imaginary being is psychologically impairing.
End Hereditary Religion echoes the same scientifically founded findings that hereditary religion may be detrimental to children. There are cases where sexual abuse on children is facilitated because a "parent's perception towards a religious authority figure is impaired," Goldstein further explained.
To join End Hereditary Religion in the 11th Annual International Day of Protest Against Hereditary Religion, send a picture of yourself with the graphic provided by the Facebook page.
The group is also planning to roll out hashtags on Twitter and set up Instagram accounts to increase the protest's coverage.