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To feel a bit [hmm] about 'Christianity Day' at school

(253 Posts)
nameforaday Fri 17-Jun-11 13:07:00

Regular MNer, namechanging because this identifies my son's school.

He is in year 7. Now their end of year exams are over there are a lot of special projects, away days etc...One of the compulsory events is 'Christianity Day' which as far as I can work out is a whole day run by these people...groovy young evangelical Christians who are basically doing missionary outreach work in schools - their aim is to bring more young people to Jesus.

I don't think it is appropriate; it is one thing to teach children about different religions, but another to give over teaching time and premises for an evangelical group to peddle their wares for a whole day. They didn't even send home a letter saying what they day was going to be, and giving people a chance to withdraw.

Any advice on what to do? If if it was primary school I'd go and have a chat with the Head, but secondary school is so much more intimidating! I don't think it will harm my son, I just think its a bit off.

worldgonecrazy Fri 17-Jun-11 13:14:27

"We all suffer because mankind as a species has chosen to live without God" (quote from the website)

Are the school going to allow all evangelical groups to come and do a presentation?

Like you, I think it's a bit off, especially given that some Christian-marketing has had a lot of psychology and marketing experts giving input into how best to appeal and sucker people in.

meditrina Fri 17-Jun-11 13:15:34

Do they give other faiths a similar opportunity?

porcamiseria Fri 17-Jun-11 13:16:34

thats a bit odd. I am christian and I get VERY sensitive about christian bashing but even I think this is a bit odd. unless its a CorE school? then tough titties!

smashinghairday Fri 17-Jun-11 13:18:29

I'd be absolutely fucking steaming and would be going in all guns blazing.

How dare they!

FourEyesGood Fri 17-Jun-11 13:18:44

"If if it was primary school I'd go and have a chat with the Head, but secondary school is so much more intimidating!"
I bet the Headteacher would be horrified to learn that you feel that way! Ring up the school and ask for a word about it; I'd be really uncomfortable sending my children to a day run by those people.

vmcd28 Fri 17-Jun-11 13:19:31

I'm surprised the school are OK with this, tbh. Are they "allowed" to arrange things like this?

FingandJeffing Fri 17-Jun-11 13:19:36

It is hard to see what that stand for but I wouldn't be best pleased either. However at 12 ish the kids will be absolutely fine at seeing it for what it is and taking appropriate action, eg engaging if that is their thing, looking out of the window aimlessly or mucking about and ignoring.

Can I ask whether your son is at a christian school as I think that this makes a difference? I still would like it but it makes it easier to understand.

I remember when the Gideon people came to my school with the bibles and they did not have and uncritical reaction for the kids themselves.

worldgonecrazy Fri 17-Jun-11 13:19:39

meditrina the problem is that many faiths are un-evangelical. Some faiths discourage active recruitment.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 17-Jun-11 13:20:27

If you're going to be tolerant of diverse faiths then that includes Christian god-botherers.

If you've raised your children to be free-thinking and confident in their ability to make their own minds up then you have nothing to worry about.

fedupofnamechanging Fri 17-Jun-11 13:20:54

I wouldn't like this at all and would contact the school to say I don't think it is appropriate. I'm in favour of children learning about all faiths - you can't understand the world or its history without this knowledge, but school shouldn't be a place that 'sells' religion.

MrsBethel Fri 17-Jun-11 13:22:43

Makes about as much sense to me as if they had a 'Voodoo Day' and turned over a whole day's resources to someone dressed up like Baron Samedi talking to the kids about 'bad juju'.

nameforaday Fri 17-Jun-11 13:23:02

No not a CofE school, although most pupils my son tells me are 'nominally Christian' which is I guess why it doesn't raise too many eyebrows. Apparently they do it each year, and I don't know if anyone has ever complained.

They may do educational things with other faiths in other years e.g. visit to the Mosque/from the imam, visit to the synagogue, but definitely not something evangelical. Can you imagine it?

I wouldn't mind so much if they had a 'religions day' with different rooms/sessions where they circulated around all the different religions.

Scholes34 Fri 17-Jun-11 13:23:10

I am a church-goer, but some evangelic Christians make me feel uncomfortable, and I've no doubt a bunch of self-conscious Year 7s will feel the same. Really surprised the school is doing this as a compulsory activity. If you don't feel comfortable phoning the school, try e-mailing, just to get your point across. Our school is very responsive to e-mails.

smashinghairday Fri 17-Jun-11 13:24:55

A whole day given over to superstition is entirely unacceptable in my book, regardless of which superstition .

Isitreally Fri 17-Jun-11 13:26:41

I agree with OTheHugeManatee - if the school has similar days to learn about other faiths then a Christianity day should not be a problem. Similarly, if it is a CofE school, it is not a problem (although possibly a shock as some CofE schools are a LOT more churchy than others).
I always find it a bit odd that parents view teaching Christianity or allowing overt Christian teaching for a day in a school should be off limits but hours devoted to divali lamps or learning about Islam and other faiths is O.K. even when these are taught in great detail with issues made about observance etc.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 17-Jun-11 13:27:06

I'm sure this or a similar group were mentioned ages ago on MN - does anyone remember?

YANBU btw op. Although good luck to anyone attempting to bring my (inexplicably) atheist son into the fold.

nameforaday Fri 17-Jun-11 13:31:44

Isitreally - I think this is different than learning about Islam or Hinduism etc.. the group's reason for going into the school does not seem to be to spread understanding about their religion, but to invite/encourage more kids to join their youth group etc...

fedupofnamechanging Fri 17-Jun-11 13:35:04

I would complain about any religion being presented as 'fact' to my DC, not just Christianity. There is a difference between teaching children about the beliefs of any given religion and actively trying to promote it.

I think it is up to parents to decide whether their DC are brought up in a particular faith, not the schools.

Firawla Fri 17-Jun-11 13:45:02

I would not be happy with this either, yanbu

ZombiePlan Fri 17-Jun-11 13:52:35

YANBU. School time should be used the educate, not convert (unless in a faith school, obv, when you'd expect the linked church to be involved).

IME the issue with many evangelical churches is that they don't "sell" religion expressly, they promote social activities. So kids will obviously want to join the youth group or whatever, especially if all their friends are going too. And the youth group itself will be largely "secular" in terms of what happens, but at the end there'll be a hymn sung, a prayer, etc. I don't like the way religion gets "sneaked in" like that. I'd have no issue if people were open about wanting to discuss religion, but it's the commingling of the social and the religious, with the initial emphasis on the social, that I dislike. Is a bit reminiscent of a cult's recruiting technique IMO. And I write this as a practising Christian, BTW.

GrimmaTheNome Fri 17-Jun-11 13:59:40

YANBU.

It may not be too overtly evangelical - their website says 'Does Step want young people to become Christians?' 'Yes, but we also believe that schools are educational institutions and proselytising would be inappropriate.'

- you might want to check they adhere to that.

alana39 Fri 17-Jun-11 14:04:52

Well said Zombie - our local evangelical church does this with youth clubs and toddler groups, and I've always felt uncomfortable with it. At least we have a choice as to what we take them to - I would be unhappy with it being a compulsory whole day activity at school.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Fri 17-Jun-11 14:09:22

YANBU. I think you should talk to the head (take DP/a friend or someone if you feel you need the moral support) and express your concerns. If they're just going to be talking about Christianity in a non-evangelical, comparative-religion kind of way, then fine (although I'd still ask for a 'Judaism Day', 'Hinduism Day' etc!) but if there's any suggestion that they are on a mission then you are within your rights to kick off!!
As an aside, Zombie, can I applaud your reasonable and balanced opinion.

Scholes34 Fri 17-Jun-11 14:30:01

My local churches do a lot to provide toddler groups/youth groups for people where we live. No religion creeps in to these sessions as such, but the fact that they welcome people into their domain means some people might want to take it further. The door is open to them and no-one is being forced to do anything.

This is great for the community to provide these opportunities for people to get together. Whatever you might think about organised religion, they have a lot to offer to the community in this way - they give up their time, they give up their premises and I genuinely believe that the people I know locally care more about the local community than they do getting bums on seats in their churches.

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