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08-03-2013, 02:38 PM
opinoins
Letter I have written to my childs school in the UK over allowing someone from the church in to "preach" to them without our consent... Is it ok in your opinions?I've tried to be as polite as I can be!



Dear Mrs Burges,


Whilst I generally, genuinely hold a high regard of your
school and the teaching abilities of your staff, it's with dismay that I have
to write to you regarding this subject; I was informed by my daughter, Elena
Courtney that her teacher, Mr Alford had insisted I write to you for this
matter to be acknowledged. Apparently sending the request via Elena was
insufficient...


It has been brought to my attention that there is a practice
of forced ideological (religious) indoctrination occurring at your school involving
a third party.


Whilst I appreciate the school's enthusiasm to teach "about"
religion, the school should not presume ANY child to be a practitioner of any
particular religious conviction, whether it be Abrahamic, Dharmic or Neopaganism.
I'm sure I don't need to remind you that in a non-faith school, religion should
ethically, always be taught subjectively ; This being one of the reasons we
chose to send Elena to your school.


Even as an atheist I do not force my views upon my children,
they are "without religion" and not atheist, it is for them to decide
their spiritual inclination should they wish to have one once they are of an
age where they have enough understanding and comprehension of all religious
doctrine in its entirety. I do however wish for them to learn "about"
religion, who the various deities are and belief systems that exist, whether
they be current or resigned to ancient history.


As a secularist humanist I believe that wherever religion
shows an influence on a young and/or vulnerable mind, it should be countered
with an equal amount of science and reason from an opposing school of thought. How
else can an evolving mind learn about [all] religions subjectively and form a
rational, dispassionate opinion of them and their influences.


May I ask? When the children are (and this is what has been
reported to me) "made to pray", is there any counter from an opposing,
secular point of view, or any choice given to the children to be excused from
taking part in the ritual?


I do not wish for Elena to be excused from religious
education, in fact far from it! It's imperative, in my view, for young evolving
minds to learn about all religions to help them understand the mechanics of
human social development throughout history, the world around them, conflicts
and institutionalised prejudices in modern British society as well as globally
(advancement of women's rights, oppression and persecution of homosexuals in
Muslim societies etc). I would only ask that when someone "of the
cloth" attempts to involve my child in any type of ritualistic practice,
Elena be given the option to not partake and sit quietly "to observe"
the ritual.


May I recommend that you seek the permission of the parents
of the other children in the school before continuing current practices of
allowing someone, from outside of the school, lecture the children as to what
spiritual belief they 'should' have and if at all. I have spoken briefly to the
parents of other children in Elena's class who have expressed similar concerns.



It may of course be the case that Elena was given a letter
explaining these visits previously, that we never received (it is often the
case that we find the letters sent home to us via the medium of Elena, long
after the letter has any relevance to its content!)


As a whole we are very happy with Elena's progress at your
school and we congratulate her and yourselves with regard to that. I would ask
though that you reconsider the forced religious practices that appear to be allowed
to take place. I would hate for the school to get in to any trouble over it and
I sincerely do not mean that as any kind of threat.


May I request a written acknowledgement of this letter
please to our home address so that I know it has reached you. I'd also like to
hear what action you are prepared to take of it, if any.





Kindest Regards
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08-03-2013, 02:43 PM
RE: opinoins
Too nice. I would not be so nice if some church were indoctrinating my children without my consent.

But it does get the point across and was excruciatingly polite. Well done.

I disagree with one point. You said:


Quote: they are "without religion" and not atheist
But I submit that this is the very definition of "atheist" - lacking a belief in god.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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08-03-2013, 02:46 PM
RE: opinoins
Honestly no way could ever be that polite....overall tho...hopefully they'll listen and not just dismiss it.


Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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08-03-2013, 03:15 PM
RE: opinoins
(08-03-2013 02:43 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Too nice. I would not be so nice if some church were indoctrinating my children without my consent.

But it does get the point across and was excruciatingly polite. Well done.

I disagree with one point. You said:


Quote: they are "without religion" and not atheist
But I submit that this is the very definition of "atheist" - lacking a belief in god.



Many thanks for your response, but I disagree with your commet... to be atheist is to have a definitive denunciation
of a deity. Kids aren't that, they've not really considered religion and
"intelligent design" to have an opinion, and hence are "without
religion". Until they are of the educated opinion that, to them, that they
denounce all faiths, they aren't atheist. But please lets not argue between ourselves! Thanks again for your response. I dont want to get the schools back up with the letter, but if they poopoo it, I will report them to a higher authority. Its not a church of england school and thus should not be practicing any religion with its subordinates.
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08-03-2013, 03:29 PM
RE: opinoins
Way too long.
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08-03-2013, 10:17 PM
RE: opinoins
(08-03-2013 02:38 PM)paulhe Wrote:  Letter I have written to my childs school in the UK over allowing someone from the church in to "preach" to them without our consent... Is it ok in your opinions?I've tried to be as polite as I can be!



Dear Mrs Burges,


Whilst I generally, genuinely hold a high regard of your
school and the teaching abilities of your staff, it's with dismay that I have
to write to you regarding this subject; I was informed by my daughter, Elena
Courtney that her teacher, Mr Alford had insisted I write to you for this
matter to be acknowledged. Apparently sending the request via Elena was
insufficient...


It has been brought to my attention that there is a practice
of forced ideological (religious) indoctrination occurring at your school involving
a third party.


Whilst I appreciate the school's enthusiasm to teach "about"
religion, the school should not presume ANY child to be a practitioner of any
particular religious conviction, whether it be Abrahamic, Dharmic or Neopaganism.
I'm sure I don't need to remind you that in a non-faith school, religion should
ethically, always be taught subjectively ; This being one of the reasons we
chose to send Elena to your school.


Even as an atheist I do not force my views upon my children,
they are "without religion" and not atheist, it is for them to decide
their spiritual inclination should they wish to have one once they are of an
age where they have enough understanding and comprehension of all religious
doctrine in its entirety. I do however wish for them to learn "about"
religion, who the various deities are and belief systems that exist, whether
they be current or resigned to ancient history.


As a secularist humanist I believe that wherever religion
shows an influence on a young and/or vulnerable mind, it should be countered
with an equal amount of science and reason from an opposing school of thought. How
else can an evolving mind learn about [all] religions subjectively and form a
rational, dispassionate opinion of them and their influences.


May I ask? When the children are (and this is what has been
reported to me) "made to pray", is there any counter from an opposing,
secular point of view, or any choice given to the children to be excused from
taking part in the ritual?


I do not wish for Elena to be excused from religious
education, in fact far from it! It's imperative, in my view, for young evolving
minds to learn about all religions to help them understand the mechanics of
human social development throughout history, the world around them, conflicts
and institutionalised prejudices in modern British society as well as globally
(advancement of women's rights, oppression and persecution of homosexuals in
Muslim societies etc). I would only ask that when someone "of the
cloth" attempts to involve my child in any type of ritualistic practice,
Elena be given the option to not partake and sit quietly "to observe"
the ritual.


May I recommend that you seek the permission of the parents
of the other children in the school before continuing current practices of
allowing someone, from outside of the school, lecture the children as to what
spiritual belief they 'should' have and if at all. I have spoken briefly to the
parents of other children in Elena's class who have expressed similar concerns.



It may of course be the case that Elena was given a letter
explaining these visits previously, that we never received (it is often the
case that we find the letters sent home to us via the medium of Elena, long
after the letter has any relevance to its content!)


As a whole we are very happy with Elena's progress at your
school and we congratulate her and yourselves with regard to that. I would ask
though that you reconsider the forced religious practices that appear to be allowed
to take place. I would hate for the school to get in to any trouble over it and
I sincerely do not mean that as any kind of threat.


May I request a written acknowledgement of this letter
please to our home address so that I know it has reached you. I'd also like to
hear what action you are prepared to take of it, if any.





Kindest Regards
Good letter.

If you don't get a positive response, send it to all the other parents.

You may like to read my blog on this, http://www.markfulton.org/churches-and-children
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09-03-2013, 03:27 AM
RE: opinoins
(08-03-2013 03:15 PM)paulhe Wrote:  Many thanks for your response, but I disagree with your commet... to be atheist is to have a definitive denunciation
of a deity.

Wrong. Very wrong.

I know that quite a few people believe this, but until now I've never met an atheist who believed it. Are you really an atheist? You said you are, so I'll take your word for it - please take my question as an expression of disbelief. I cannot express my astonishment at hearing such an incorrect statement coming from an atheist; I only ever hear this from closed-minded Christians who learned it from their closed-minded pastors and fellow church members but never thought to actually consider the idea.

You do know that the prefix "a" simply means "not", right?

Consider:
"chromatic" = colorful, "achomatic" = colorless, not a definitive denunciation of color.
"moral" = ethical, "amoral" = unethical, not a definitive denunciation of ethics.
"septic" = rotten, "aseptic" = pure, not a definitive denunciation of rot.
"typical" = normal, "atypical" = abnormal, not a definitive denunciation of normalcy.
"sexual" = active with sex, "asexual" = not active with sex, not a definitive denunciation of sex.
Etc.

I think you get the picture.

Sure, sure, some atheists do definitively denounce god(s). In my experience, most of us do not for doing so means making a claim that we have knowledge that most of us are aware that we do not have. I have no specific knowledge that there are no gods, though I do claim that the lack of evidence supporting their existence leaves me disbelieving in them. For all I know, there may be one or more gods and they just like to hide and screw with us - I can't rule it out. But by not believing in any of them, by not being religious in any way, I most certainly am an atheist.

(08-03-2013 03:15 PM)paulhe Wrote:  Kids aren't that, they've not really considered religion and
"intelligent design" to have an opinion, and hence are "without
religion".

Quite correct. They are not theists. Not-theist. A-theist. Atheist.

(08-03-2013 03:15 PM)paulhe Wrote:  Until they are of the educated opinion that, to them, that they
denounce all faiths, they aren't atheist.

Back to the wrong point. They're already atheist, and when they are of the educated opinion that they denounce all faiths, they are then "strong atheists" or "gnostic atheists" for those who like to apply extra labels; me, I'll still just call them atheists.

(08-03-2013 03:15 PM)paulhe Wrote:  But please lets not argue between ourselves! Thanks again for your response. I dont want to get the schools back up with the letter, but if they poopoo it, I will report them to a higher authority. Its not a church of england school and thus should not be practicing any religion with its subordinates.

I agree, we shouldn't argue amongst ourselves. I'm sorry if my reply here comes off a bit strong, it's one of my pet peeves. I'm willing to disagree on the definition of atheist with just about anyone, until their definition excludes me from being an atheist - that's when I draw the line (by your definition, I am not an atheist and therefore I'm a theist which I most definitely am not - there is no grey area in between, no semitheist, demitheist, maybetheist, etc., and if there were, that wouldn't fit me as a label anyway).

I would report the school to the higher authority regardless of whether they stop their actions - I would want them to stop and I would want their behavior on record with the appropriate authority so they don't start up again later, maybe when my kids have moved on and I'm not involved anymore, and pollute the minds of future youngsters.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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09-03-2013, 06:29 AM
RE: opinoins
I'm not familiar with U.K. laws regarding education and religion. But,that letter seems ok.

I do agree with some people above,that you might be a little too nice - it could work though.
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09-03-2013, 01:09 PM
RE: opinoins
The letter is entirely too long. All it needs to say is that you were informed by your child that this event was taking place, your pissed that the school didn't inform you, and that you want your child excluded. Three paragraphs at the most. You don't have to explain your views on religion or children, just that your child is not partaking in it and you would appreciate a heads up if something like this is planned again. As a parent, I do not express my views to my children. If they learn about god, fine. Once they are old enough to make their own decision, I will tell them how I made mine.

~Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.~
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