Do Parents Have the Right to Force Religion on Their Kids?

by maxwell 22 Replies latest jw friends

  • OnTheWayOut

    Avoiding all the philosophical discussion on what rights people have,
    parents should be able to take their children to religious services.
    They should be able to encourage participation. I don't think they should
    be able to force participation.

    All young people should be allowed to decide these matters for themselves.
    Infant and child baptism or other indoctrination should not be allowed, but
    even there, someone will object as many ceremonial rituals and procedures
    are given to minors.

    It's such a tough call. I guess government has to refrain from sticking it's
    nose in such stuff. I mean circumcision and Santa Clause come from
    religious origins. Trick-or-treating and egg hunting are coercive methods to
    get kids to participate in religious beliefs. While I am not really opposed to
    encouraging participation in such things, I hate cults that implant fears or
    get teenaged girls pregnant. There is no easy answer, once you start
    legislating this.

    It goes back to defining "harmful," "force," "religion," and such terms.

  • The Oracle
    The Oracle

    I agree with the point regarding religions having to pay taxes.

    I don't like freeloaders. Unless you have a serious disability and can't work or pay taxes then you better cough up some cash and carry your own weight.

    The Oracle

  • lonelysheep
    Why don't we expose our children to multiple religions without picking one, and them let them decide for themselves as adults -- as we do with most important decisions, such as careers, spouses and where to live?

    I'm actually taking it further and doing my kids some good by NOT exposing them to religion or god. Of course, being the only atheist around them for 100 miles, they are exposed to both by family members and their beliefs. I am raising them to think and question religion, god and me.

    Is it force when you are simply teaching your child what you believe?

    For me, yes. I believe they'll have more respect for themselves if they keep a clean room. I don't believe the supernatural and/or religions will make them a better person as I think their choices and true feelings in life as they mature will be there regardless if the extras are involved or not.

    I'm drugged and sleepy so I hope this is clear!

  • WTWizard

    It is very simple. No one has the right to initiate the use of force, threat of force, or fraud against another person or their property. When parents try to make their children go to church or the Kingdumb Hell or obey the church or Kingdumb Hell doctrine, that is initiating force to get the child into that religion. They should present the facts, in an unbiased fashion, and let the children decide whether or not to join in.

  • FlyingHighNow

    My mother wasn't the best mother, but she did religion right. She took us to a very healthy, positive church. She taught us to pray the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep prayer. She never spoke of hell or a punishing god. She allowed us to go to any church we liked and read any books on Eastern religions or astrology. Mother let us make up our minds about doctrine. She didn't believe in the trinity or hell, but didn't mention that unless we brought it up first.

    The church she took us to, the Episcopal church was about the positive messages from the bible. There was never a mention of things you should not do. They only encouraged you to be loving, giving and follow Christ's example in hope and generous spirit. They did not mention hell and they did not insist you believe any certain thing. I guess this is why the Episcopal Church doesn't have large numbers anymore. They don't get into frightening people or into controlling them.

    And they love children. They make church a loving, welcoming place for any and all kids. Mother Val has gotten a professor at Holy Trinity to tutor and mentor Julian. She has set up a scholarship for him at summer camp. She comes to take him out to eat and for fun once a month. She is also setting up a tour for him at Kendall Art College.

    Religion doesn't have to be shoved down kids' throats. It can be a fun, positive, loving enhancement to their lives.

  • Xena

    I force my kid to do things she doesn't want to all the time. It's what parents do. As long as abuse isn't involved you should be allowed to raise your kids how you want to..course I also think people should be screened and given a license to have kids and not be allowed to breed willynilly, but that's just me.

  • sammielee24

    I honestly think that you cannot sever force from religion. It's impossible because once indoctrinated, the forces of that religion remain with people wether they like it or not, for years or forever. Completing the circle, the parent who forces their child to attend church services every week, or bible study, because that is their belief, uses force. When you take that a step further and put your child in the same religious summer camp, or friendship group and so on, that is nothing more than subtle force and/or manipulation. Kids need guidance. They need the wisdom and care of adults to get them to adulthood and if part of that responsibility from the adult, will most likely be in the form of religion. Force cannot be defined because there are very subtle ways of achieving the same goal of indoctrination. Force by abuse is more straightforward and that can be verbal or physical. I think that if you grow up in a very religious household, or in a society where you use the guidebook of the community religion, that you are forced to accept that if you wish to conform and exist in relative peace and security. Religion by its very nature can force you to accept the concepts or else suffer rejection, emotional problems and in some countries death. A parent living in a strict religion environment might in fact force their religion on their child believing the child will not face discrimination or persecution from their peers. There is no right answer. sammieswife.

  • FlyingHighNow

    Sammie, were you raised as a JW or in a fundy religion? Not all religions are forceful.

  • serotonin_wraith
  • AGuest

    force their children to eat vegetables when they don't want to? force their children to go to bed when they don't want to? force their children to come in the house when they don't want to? force their children to go to school when they don't want to? force their children to put down that cigarette, blunt, pipe, when they don't want to? force their children to clean their room when they don't want to? force their children to be home by... whenever... when they don't want to?

    Of course, they do. They have the right to force their children go to church, kingdom hall, temple, mosque, whatever, so long as that child is not old enough... or trustworthy enough... to be left at home. And so long as the child is not abused in the process. Because the other side of that coin is, is it okay for a parent to leave a child alone at home in order to go? Do children have a right to make their parents not go?

    Parents do not have the right to abuse their children, in any way. Nobody has that right. Forcing a child go to church is not necessarily abuse, however: it really depends on HOW that child is made to go and/or what will happen (or they are told will happen) if they don't. Mine went because, what, they were going to stay home and do what? I don't think so. Indeed, there's a whole lot of folks out there who probably should go/have gone to church... depending on the church.

    What "church/temple/synagoge/mosque/KH" should be is a place for a community to come together to fellowship and find out what's up with one another and who needs help, how, etc., regardless of their religious belief. What it should NOT be... is a place to "learn" about God. First, because the ones "teaching" there don't know about God themselves... and second, because God is not there, per se... unless somethere has His spirit.

    I understand so many have been hurt by what the WTBTS has done to them and/or what it has turned out to be. And lot have been hurt by their parents. But as some here have stated, while most had a bad spiritual experience, not all had a bad physical experience by reason of attending church/temple/KH, whathaveyou. And you can't start messing with a parent's right to raise his/her child in the manner they wish (excluding abuse, of course). That parent is ultimately responsible for that child, and you have to let them do their job, whether you agree with it or not. Because push come to shove, YOU most probably aren't going to be there... when that parent is.

    For of you in this position, I exhort you: let yourselves heal. Allow it. PUSH for it. Because the people who hurt you most probably don't even know, didn't know... or aren't thinking about it. Do it... for yourselves.

    I bid you peace.

    A slave of Christ,


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