Separation of Church and State? I think not.

It’s a great notion, really. To be completely honest and fair, I have never had a problem with the First Amendment as it applies to education in public schools until the past year. I never had a problem with prayer at football games or during school assemblies. This was, of course, because I was a Bible toting Christian at the time. I always thought that if this bothered an atheist or someone with another religious background…well, they would just have to ignore us and deal with it. I realize now how rude and dismissive I was for thinking this way.

I have kids. They attend a state run daycare and public schools here in the Bible belt. I was under the impression that religion was not allowed in the classrooms of state funded schools. Last week as I was driving one of my kids home from school, he starts to tell me about Moses and the burning bush. This was something that he had learned that day in school. He isn’t old enough to have history class, so that is not the context that it was taught. My other child comes home from daycare with coloring pages of manger and resurrection scenes. How confusing is it going to be to tell them that Jesus isn’t the only way and that there are other options including non-belief? I want my kids to be open minded to all that this life has to offer. I don’t want them to be closed minded like I was for most of my life. How difficult is it going to be when there are others in their path that are telling them otherwise, including the public education system and my Christian family?

I would love to get the opinions of others in the free-thinking community. And GO!

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8 thoughts on “Separation of Church and State? I think not.

  1. That is an extremely good question to ponder. It is part of why I contend that even moderate believers are caustic to society.

    I would personally begin teaching them at home so that they will be able to question it when people tell them such stories as though they are true. It may be time to tell them that Santa is a myth as well as the tooth fairy so you can explain why people believe in things that are not true. Hercules is a great story among many others. Thor and Zeus make for fun movies and stories. You would not worry if they came home with a coloring page of Hercules, would you? Show them that they are the same.

    Daycare is an early point to start. There are things that you can do now though. Place the bible both physically and in treatment with other fairy tale books. buy a Koran and other books etc. and show them in the same light as santa and other fairy tales. Get science books for kids and separate them from the fairy tales. when asked questions, get answers from science books, not fairy tale books. Your kids will mimic you naturally. Kids are actually smart. If they are shown both science and religion and see that you prefer science answers they will find the logic of it and know even if they cannot articulate it well.

    They can be shown that evolution is true…

    I have found that answering a child’s question with complete honesty and earnestness is the best way for them to learn. You have the Internet and there are tons of resources to help explain things to children. None of the answers to the questions they will naturally ask will come from the bible.

    With luck and effort you’ll get to answer the question: why are there so many religions?

  2. anothernone says:

    Thank you so much for the reply! You have given me some things to think about and consider. You are right though, this re-education needs to start now and not 10 years down the road.

    Thank you again! I look forward to reading your blog.

  3. My kids have started asking questions. I think myatheistlife is right. Honesty is the best. The AH and I like to read church signs. We liked to read them before we deconverted as well, and while reading one the other day, one of my kids asked what it meant. This lead into my telling them that a lot of people believe in a god and that it’s not always the same god and each god has a set of rules and so on and so forth. They had lots of questions that I answered as best as I could. At the end they asked if I believed in a god. I said I did not, but I used to and that when they are old enough they can decided for themselves what they think. They do know that all of their other family members to believe in a god.

    In the mean time, we keep them interested in science. They love science and already know we evolved. They have never even been told that some people think we were created. They are both skeptical in a good way and always have lots and lots of questions. I’m never afraid to say I don’t know and look it up if we need to.

    • anothernone says:

      I agree with both of you that honesty is best. It is hard right now to be as open and honest with them since my family and friends don’t know that I am atheist. I am hoping that I can change that one day soon. Until then, I will bypass all religious texts and thought as answers and point them in the direction of science and reason.

  4. Ashley S says:

    Found you through The Agnostic’s Wife 🙂 I came out of the agnostic closet about three years ago, and it was mainly due to my children. I think my mother, who is quite religious, had an inkling since I had stopped going to church years before, but I’d never just come out and said it before. My kids, who were 3 and 4 at the time, went to visit her for a few days during the summer and I hadn’t really been proactive about talking to them about religion. She read them Bible stories and prayed with them, and they came home very excited about Jesus. DH and I explained to them that everyone believes different things and just tried to be open and honest with them. Then I let my mom know our stance and that she was open to sharing with the kids, but to respect our beliefs when talking to them. My experience over the last few years has been that many people will be interested in ‘saving’ the kids, especially their family members who will feel like it is their own personal duty to save them from ending up in hell. As a parent, I just try to be as open and honest with my kids, and to give them the tools to think for themselves.
    And I totally agree with myathiestlife, we treat all the religious teachings as fairytales, which the kids know aren’t real. Kids are smart, and mine will call b.s. on things that they know are false. The most aggravating thing, for me, is raising my kids to respect all the beliefs of others, when so many religious people I know think that since God is on their side they can do or say anything about what we believe and it’s okay. But at the end of the day, this whole experience has

  5. anothernone says:

    Hi Ashley! Glad you found me through such a fine sister blog. AW is pretty awesome!

    Your reply struck a chord with me on many levels. I am also very frustrated with the way that others will push their religion (namely Christianity) on ANYONE because they assume that it is okay. I live an area where it seems like there is 1 church per square mile, so the Christian population is pretty dense. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I knew Jesus last year, … well, you know the rest. I do hope that one day I can raise stong and intelligent children that are respectful of others no matter what.

    I am still trying to figure out the right way to tell my family and his that I am non-believer without making it some big hairy deal. They will all be very upset and try to save me, I’m sure. My mom will cry because she doesn’t want her grandchildren to go to hell. I am also pretty nervous that my husbands family will try to drive a wedge between us as he is still a believer. Why does it have to be so hard? Why can’t we live in peace with our beliefs or lack thereof?

  6. anothernone says:

    Not sure if this matters to anyone other than me, but I researched it and there are 4 churches per square mile in this fine state where I reside. This explains SO much!

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