Hey kids, don’t accept candy or theology from strangers!
In Edmonton, a church has been setting up shop in local parks, approaching kids with candy and Bible verses. Kids are promised more candy if they memorize the verse and return the following week. One mom isn’t happy with the proselytization attempts:
“What if the next person who offers her candy doesn’t have the same intentions as the church? That’s always a fear in the back of every parents mind,” Crowe said.
City officials say Victory Christian Center has a permit allowing it to host activities like crafts and singing, but not for handling out religious materials.
“I think generally we would frown away from that, it isn’t appropriate unless they have a closed function,” said Laura Shewchuk of the city’s Community Service department.
Most parents aren’t in favor of strange people offering candy to their kids — and I’m not sure how these Christians thought this was a good evangelism strategy. I wonder how these believers would feel about Muslims or Mormons going to local parks and approaching kids by handing out candy with passages from their holy books. I have a feeling they wouldn’t be so nonchalant about it.
That said, as an atheist parent, I’m not scared of my kid being exposed to the different belief systems out there. In fact, I’d like her to learn about as many of them as possible (though I’m not keen on her being approached by proselytizing strangers in a park).
I know that I can’t prevent her from coming across religious elements or people in our society, so I figure if she has a working understanding of all the different ways humans have tried to make sense of the world, she won’t be allured by one ideology in particular. The tricky part is contextualizing the beliefs and dogmas.
Of course there is a nagging fear in my head that one day she’ll grow up and will be entrapped by evangelical Christianity (the same belief system I rejected) — but I don’t let that fear prevent me from talking to her about different religions.
It’s easy to point my finger and accuse some religious parents of indoctrinating their kid, but I think if we godless parents aren’t careful, we could fall into the same trap. I don’t want to present my atheism as a choice my daughter must make in order for me to accept and love her.