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To not want my 4yo DD to go to an evangelical church?

(65 Posts)
CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Sun 04-Nov-12 15:29:50

XDH and I split almost 2 years ago, he is Roman Catholic by birth (he comes from South America and is what I call a lax follower, i.e. says the words but doesn't live the life) and I am Atheist.

When we split we agreed he would have her every other weekends, and he has occasionally taken her to church with him duringthese weekends. I didn't really have an issue with this as I was told that she was going to the local Catholic church and I felt that she'll come to her own conclusions when she's old enough.

I've now found out that his mother moved to an Evangelical church some time ago and XDH and DD have been going to these with her instead and it really doesn't sit right with me; from what I can gather from anecdotal evidence and what I've read, it it is just one step to far in the direction of brainwashing for my liking.

Beamur Sun 04-Nov-12 15:32:40

Is the church near you?
Could you go along once during a service and see for yourself what it is like?
Evangelical doesn't automatically mean it's a bad place - but perhaps you should find out for yourself first - if it is somewhere that you feel uncomfortable with your daughter going you can then have a more informed conversation about it.

LFCisTarkaDahl Sun 04-Nov-12 15:35:46

You've likely got the wrong end of the stick - most evangelical/Pentecostal churches are much more friendly for children - lots of clapping and singing

Obviously some Catholic churches are like that too but there are quite a lot still which are very dry Mass and not at all fun for children.

So hopefully the one he's taking her to is a fun one for her.

Whatever the answer is you really can't dictate what he does unless it's really off the wall - maybe you'd have cause for complaint if he took her to a BNP meeting (unlikely even then as they're a legitimate political party unfortunately). You likely can't stop him so is it worth picking a different battle?

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Sun 04-Nov-12 15:37:22

It's reasonably near (prob take me an hour to get there) Beamur but it is performed in a foreign language (which I only speak a snippet of ...I am useless at languages) so I'm not sure if it would be of much use. XDH did show me a video of part of a service on his phone recently and it seems to consist of a lot of crying and hands in the air, but that's about as much as I could gather.

Mumsyblouse Sun 04-Nov-12 15:37:24

I think you are quite strange for caring she goes to an evangelical church but not a catholic one: if you are not a believer yourself, surely both seem equally 'wrong'?

I wouldn't have a problem with it myself, however, even if you did, if she is safe and in her father's care, I don't see what you can do, because you presumably can't put limits on what they do during their contact, even if you personally believe it to be wrong.

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Sun 04-Nov-12 15:39:52

LFCisTarkaDahl there did seem to be a lot of singing, yes - so hopefully it is just fun. I suppose my major concern is that when she is old enough to understand there will be a lot of "you must do/act/behave like this or you won't get to heaven"

LFCisTarkaDahl Sun 04-Nov-12 15:40:14

You might find a full service or a large portion on YouTube or their own website - might give you more of an idea?

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Sun 04-Nov-12 15:40:52

well that's one of the reasons I've posted in AIBU Mumsyblouse, I can see why it could be perceived as hypocritical for me to "accept" one but not the other.

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Sun 04-Nov-12 15:41:54

LFCisTarkaDahl I will see of I can find one, take a look and see what I can decipher (easier to look up words when you can pause and rewind!)

MichaelaS Sun 04-Nov-12 16:01:09

Sorry but I think YABU, if you exH goes to church (any church of his choosing) then he should be"allowed" to take his daughter there on his weekends. I also think its a bit silly to be more worried about some churches than others.

I think YWNBU to discuss with your exH how you can give your DD a consistent message though, eg mummy believes this, daddy believes this, you can decide what you believe but whilst you are still little you can't stay at home on your own so if daddy is going to church then you have to go with him.

It's such an emotive topic though isn't it?

CuppaTeaAndAJammieDodger Sun 04-Nov-12 16:05:56

no need to apologise - am honestly interested in peoples opinions and you've raised a very good point about discussing a consistent message

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 04-Nov-12 16:10:04

I don't think it's unreasonable to worry about which church, actually. I have heard worrying anecdotes about an alarming emphasis on demonic posession as a cause of naughtiness in children insome more, er, extreme churches.

I think I'd attend a service myself, with translator if necessary, and check whether it's a happy-clappy form of evangelism, or a rather darker one.

PhyllisDoris Sun 04-Nov-12 16:15:23

I too think YABU. I'll bet there are things you do with DD that EXP doesn't particularly agree with. He is her dad, and is entitled to share his faith with you, whether you are together or not.
If you feel strongly, make sure she understands your point if view/beliefs too. "Some people think like Daddy, but this is what Mummy thinks.... and when you are a big girl, you can make up your own mind"

CrunchyFrog Sun 04-Nov-12 16:17:44

What church is it? Is it Maranatha?

AThingInYourLife Sun 04-Nov-12 16:24:43

I would freak the fuck out if anyone took my 4 year old to an evangelical church and I'm a lapsed Catholic whose daughter goes to Catholic school.

Happy clappy, weepy worship is horrible and I don't want my kids anywhere near it.

A boring mass I would be a lot less bothered about.

PrincessSymbian Sun 04-Nov-12 16:29:07

Athing that was kind of my feelings too.

MichaelaS Sun 04-Nov-12 16:31:41

But that is your view athing. Surely the OP and the OPs exH have the right to bring their daughter up based on their own views. If the exH attends this church I think the OP should only be concerned if there is some sort of child abuse going on (e.g. Threats of casting demons out of children).

I should probably declare that I attend an evangelical church btw. In my opinion it's a very accepting, relaxed and friendly church with a great crèche for the littl ones and Sunday school for the older ones. If I was split from my kids father I would be livid if he said I could not take them there, as it's very important to me. I would be happy for him to share his own beliefs and religious practises with my kids too though. All of the above said barring any potentially harmful or abusive situations though.

Of course there are some people who think any religious observance is tantamount to child abuse. And others (me) who think its abusive NOT to teach your children about God as well as teaching them tolerance for other beliefs too.

seoladair Sun 04-Nov-12 16:41:04

"And others (me) who think its abusive NOT to teach your children about God"
Michaela, isn't that rather an extreme position? Abusive? Seriously?

Trills Sun 04-Nov-12 16:47:09

Not that extreme really.

I don't believe in God, but if I did, and if I thought that people who don't do X go to hell, then I'd think that "letting your child go to hell" was pretty bad,

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 04-Nov-12 16:49:13

Yeah, I can understand Michaela's view, though as an atheist I don't share it.

Trills Sun 04-Nov-12 16:49:30

To the OP - I think YA probably BU because the church probably will not be anything like what you are imagining.

I can sympathise, but I don't think you can (within reason) prevent a parent from teaching their child about their religion.

carolinemoon Sun 04-Nov-12 16:51:30

I agree that "evangelical" doesn't mean anything sinister per se. I went to an evangelical Sunday school for many years (wasn't even particularly happy clappy, although we did visit a church in bognor where there was speaking in tongues - weird (to teenage me) but not dangerous).

I also went to catholic convent school, which was actually v happy clappy in the songs sung. I think the message about believing in god to get to heaven was rammed home more heavily at the convent.

Despite practically a whole childhood of church attendance, I have never believed in god! I would just ensure your DD understands your beliefs as well as her father's.

Northernlurker Sun 04-Nov-12 16:56:14

We attend a church that would certainly be described as evangelical and it's a perfectly normal, mainstream sort of place. All religions will teach the beliefs that they are built on. That's how religion works.
You should find out what happens at his church. Then you can base your view on knowledge not prejudice.

Sirzy Sun 04-Nov-12 16:57:17

Unless you have very good reasons to believe that going will be damaging to your DD then you can't really start imposing rules on what her father can and can't do with her.

I would make sure your Daughter is aware that any questions to do with religion she is free to ask you and make sure you talk to her regularly about it so you know how SHE is interpreting the services.

Learning that Mummy believe x, Daddy believes y and I can believe whatever I want as I grow up won't do her any harm and I would talk to your ex about making sure there is no pressure on her either way as she grows older and starts to understand more.

MichaelaS Sun 04-Nov-12 17:01:31

Yes, what trills said. I believe God is real and you can have a fulfilling, eternal life of happiness by getting to know him. I think it would be really cruel if I didn't teach my children about that. I think I would also be cruel if I didn't teach them there are other viewpoints and they can make their own decisions, and I will love them whatever they believe or do.

It is so hard to co parent with someone with very different religious beliefs though, so OP I think you have a hard task but one that can be achieved if you work at it and try to keep respect for each others views.

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