One thing that religious people and atheists have in common is that when you start talking about religion… particularly someone else’s… around ‘the children’, you tend to upset people. There is the indoctrination, which some equate to child abuse, and of course the pedophilia, which always seems to come up in such discussions, but as atheists, we have at least a nominal attachment to reality, and religion is part of reality, whether we like it or not. Hard truth is something that we often claim for our own. So at what point, does the reality of the existense of religion become something we must in all honesty acknowledge? Where does education become indoctrination? And does protecting our children mean being intolerant and petty, to the point we demand silence?
Guidelines on the Quebec government’s website say it is all right for daycares to celebrate cultural aspects of religious holidays, but only when activities do not impart religious beliefs to children.
Staff may not lead children in prayers, religious songs and sacred texts or have a member of the clergy do so. The rules also forbid arts and crafts, role-playing and songs that could inculcate religious beliefs.
Repetitive practices related to holiday celebrations are also considered as religious instruction and thus banned, the guidelines say.
Do we really want to ban singing songs? Religion in education is a serious issue, prone to all sorts of abuses, and children always make people defensive, but is there a clear line here, are there ways of dealing with religion? Pretending it doesn’t exist seems… delusional.