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visiting gurdwara

(294 Posts)
spiderpig8 Thu 03-Nov-11 16:55:46

MY DDS school is visiting a gurdwara and they have been told they have to wear a scarf and bow to their religious book.
Whilst I respect other peoples right to take part in whatever religion they like, I do not respect their religion , because as a Christian I believe christianity is the only true religion.
I feel that wearing a headscarf and bowing to a book crosses the line from educational into observing some of their religious beliefs.
DH has been into Muslim, sikh and hindu temples in the courses of his work and never been asked to cover his hair, so it can't be an 'absolute' rule.

thisisyesterday Thu 03-Nov-11 16:58:16

it may not be a "rule" but it would be the polite and gracious thing to do.

if you have a big problem with it then I would suggest not allowing your children to go on the trip

JaneFonda Thu 03-Nov-11 16:59:54


MrsCarriePooter Thu 03-Nov-11 17:00:01


If you don't like it, then pull your DD out of the trip. (And did it occur to you that perhaps different rules apply to your DD and your DH, him being a man and all?).

squeakytoy Thu 03-Nov-11 17:01:08

It is called respect. I am not particularly religious, but when visiting churches in Rome I will always cover my shoulders.

Groovee Thu 03-Nov-11 17:02:40

I'm not religious but I always respect other religions and if they asked me to do it I would do it.

If you don't wish your child to do this, then you have no option than to not allow her on the trip.

spiderpig8 Thu 03-Nov-11 17:03:13

Did they make you bow to the bible?

seeker Thu 03-Nov-11 17:04:03

Keep her home that day. And if asked why, say that you do not wish your child to be respectful of other faiths because yours is one true faith and all others are idolatrous.

Trifle Thu 03-Nov-11 17:05:34

I dont call it respect, I call it shoving your beliefs on others.

I objected to my son being forced to wear a hat on a visit to a synagogue. I emailed the rabbi to say so and said they should respect the fact that we are not of the same religion and not to force their customs on us. The rabbi agreed and said the wearing of the hat was 'fun'. Really ?

The thing I object most to is the fact that they are forcing children to do this as they 'dont have a voice'. It's easy to get them to do as they are told without questioning why.

Forcing kids to wear a hat 'out of respect' gives them no insight into what a lot of this mumbo jumbo religion is all about.

It's all done to appear politically correct.

Minus273 Thu 03-Nov-11 17:05:38

Its a mark of respect, they are not asking your dd to adopt their religion.

IndieSkies Thu 03-Nov-11 17:06:18

Do you cover your head when visiting Greek orthodox churches on holiday?
Would you curtsey to the Queen if you met her? Curtsey to the head of another state if that was the custom?
It's just a courteous respect for someone else's culture / religion - although I would find bowing to the book a bit hard and make it v minimal as I do with signs of praying when I go to the DC's Cubs Church Parade, as I am not a Christian.
Loads of Christian denominations require a woman to cover her head - and shoulder snad legs, for that matter (Greek Orthodox Churches).

Tell your DD that she is doing it as a sign of respect to her human hosts, not as a mark of worship to any other God.

LaurieFairyCake Thu 03-Nov-11 17:06:25

You have to weigh up the benefit to her, her class and society (religious tolerance) before you decide to pull her out of the trip.

It's a small thing and I have no problem with it - frankly it would have to be very serious before I would think to stop her going.

Dawndonna Thu 03-Nov-11 17:06:55

If the head of the Church of England can do it, namely The Queen, so can your child.
As other people said, it's respect, just can you don't choose to believe it, you should, in this situation, respect others rights to their beliefs.

trixie123 Thu 03-Nov-11 17:07:22

both the hair covering and the bowing are not acts of worship but signs of respect in the same way that you would not expect anyone to come into your church in shorts or a low cut top. If it helps, they do not believe the holy book is a god or anything, simply that it is the equivalent of one of their gurus (the last of whom died in the 17th century). The book is a distillation of the teachings of all 10 gurus. To say that you don't believe in a religion is fine but its a step further to say you don't respect it. Sikhs are monotheistic and have many of the same core beliefs about God and ethical behaviour as Christians. What are you actually worried about? Can you not explain to your daughter that it is important to understand and appreciate different people's customs or they will not respect yours and leave it at that? I have been an RS teacher for 14 years and have only once had a student not want to go on a trip and that was a rather pretentious teen who said she worshipped Satan and didn't want to go to a church! I have taken extremely devout Christians, Muslims and Jews to various places of worship and none of them have been confused or had their faith compromised in any way.

spiderpig8 Thu 03-Nov-11 17:08:05

I have told the school that they will not be bowing or covering heads .They said a Teaching assistant will wait in the park nearby with them because they can't force kids to stay at home for a reason like this.
They are doing something good in the afternoon so i don't want them to miss the whole trip

babybythesea Thu 03-Nov-11 17:08:22

I don't think so - I understand where you are coming from but if you don't believe in what you are doing, it doesn't hurt you to go along with it. That's the way I see it, anyway.

One of my friends got married in a gurdwara and we did have to cover our hair to go in. We also removed shoes. And sat on separate sides of the gurdwara to the men. I didn't see any of this as observing religious beliefs, but as going along with the custom of the place I was in.
In the same way, I am not Christian (proudly atheist, in fact). I observe christian traditions because they are the traditions of the place I happen to live in. I go to church when friends get married in church, and warble along with the hymns because I happen to like singing - doesn't mean I believe a word of what I'm saying. It does me no harm, and pleases those who do believe it.

Having said that, I suppose I have the choice to stand dumb if I want to, whereas your dd doesn't have the choice about bowing etc - hmmm. If she went to a country where people covered their hair, or their ankles, would you advise her to? Again, I see it as just respecting the culture and beliefs of somewhere I've chosen to be, and if I don't share those beliefs, in the end it doesn't hurt me to go along with it for a few weeks.

So although I can see it's a difficult one, I think, for me, I'd be happy enough to let my dd do it if it meant showing respect for others - go through the motions even if it means nothing to you.

EdithWeston Thu 03-Nov-11 17:11:37

I think it's OK to conform to the dress code of any establishment (fight separately if the dress code is wrong and you wish to influence i in future, but don't put your children in the thick of it).

Behaving respectfully in a place of worship, even if it is not your religion, is just basic manners.

Performing religious rituals of a faith other than your own - no, shouldn't be required. Non-participants should stand quietly and respectfully when others are doing so, especially when the purpose of the trip is educational.

HappyCamel Thu 03-Nov-11 17:11:53

I'd say observing the dress rules is fair enough but not bowing to the book. I think it's offensive to those who truly believe that religion. Its parody. Reassure your DD that it's ok to not follow the herd.

You wouldn't find them forcing a Muslim child to join in. It's only Christians that are supposed to be doormats.

worraliberty Thu 03-Nov-11 17:14:01

So they're going to have to waste a TA because your children won't show respect for another religion? Sounds like we're back in the dark ages.

I hope the school re-think that and your children are put in other classes for the day.

somewherewest Thu 03-Nov-11 17:14:43

Its a tough one. I'm presuming that the 'book' is a form of Sikh scripture and that bowing to it symbolises accepting its authority in some way? I can see how that would be problematic for a devout Christian (or Muslim or Jew or committed atheist), as it involves them appearing to accept something when they don't. I don't think RE should ever be taught in a way which forces anyone to do that. Could you ask the school if the bow could be omitted?

KRITIQ Thu 03-Nov-11 17:15:08

Really Happy Camel? Your evidence that only Christian children are expected to show respect to other religions?

spiderpig8 Thu 03-Nov-11 17:15:36

The whole school are goin worraliberty there's only about 50 kids.

LondonMumsie Thu 03-Nov-11 17:16:33

I think this is a terrible shame. There is nothing I know of in the bible that says you can't wear a scarf! In fact, when I went to a friend's catholic church as a child I was made to wear one.

Nor do I know of anything that says you can't show respect to others of different faiths. In fact, the whole point of the story of the good Samaritan was that it was a member of a reviled minority (those from Samaria) who came to the aid of the one in need rather than the pious great and the good who did so, including priests.

Yes, it says "worship no other god but me" and if they were asking her to chant a creed or say a prayer which renounced her faith, then you may have a point, but a scarf and a bow? Really??

crazyspaniel Thu 03-Nov-11 17:16:40

You wouldn't find them forcing a Muslim child to join in. It's only Christians that are supposed to be doormats.

Where did the OP say that her child was being "forced" to join in? Straight out of the Daily Mail.

spiderpig8 Thu 03-Nov-11 17:18:54

Also squeakytoy, you went into a church voluntarily, this is part of a schoolday which children by law have to attend.

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