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To not want my DC to participate in nativity?

(632 Posts)
Spru Wed 05-Dec-12 15:47:56

I asked school to excuse DC from nativity (due to religious reasons - we do not depict jesus/mary/joseph.) They were absolutely fine with it. Happened to mention this to work colleagues - and they basically told me that I wasn't willing to integrate! hmm

I was a bit shocked that they saw it like this despite the fact that I explained why. I didn't realise that this decision was perceived as a lack of willingness to integrate - in a country which I have been born and brought up in.

I had to bite my tongue for the sake of peace!

So...MN jury...grin AIBU to exclude DC from nativity for religious reasons (note: DC is not excluded from other christmas activities at school). Am I just not integrating well into the society that I was born and brought up in?



(please be gentle)

KitchenandJumble Wed 05-Dec-12 16:32:51

YANBU. Your religious beliefs do not permit the depiction of prophets, so it is entirely reasonable for your DC not to participate in the nativity play. Some of the posts on this thread indicate a complete lack of understanding of the issue at hand.

Integration does not mean that you must give up your beliefs and traditions. They are every bit as valid, and as much a part of the culture of the contemporary UK, as Christian festivals.

I'm an atheist, from a non-practicing interfaith family. smile We have both Jewish and Christian heritage, and we celebrate all sorts of festivals for reasons of culture and tradition. However, if I were a religious follower of any one religion (as you are, OP), my participation in other faiths' celebrations would be much more bound by what that religion teaches. Stick to your guns and don't worry about the naysayers.

rednosedreindeerinthegarden Wed 05-Dec-12 16:33:31

YABU, in my opinion. DS1 (9) and I are atheists, DS2 (6) is a Christian (Their definiitions). Both have been in Nativity plays. Your child does not have to depict a prophet, but school plays are not just about religion - they teach children a range of social skills too.
I feel rather sorry for your child. Don't they have their own choice in this as well?

littleducks Wed 05-Dec-12 16:33:36

My kids would love me to pull them out the xmas play/concert, they hate the practice and practice and practice and they get bored.

We don't celebrate xmas at all (also muslim but probably a different sectto the OP). No secret santa, no christmas cards, we never go out for xmas work does (though to be fair that is because there is alcohol present not because its an xmas thing).

My kids are in the concert, they dont sing the 'lord, christ saviour, king' bits of the songs. I might pull them out when they are older as they hate it so much and the junior production is after school in the evening rather than in the school day.

There are children (I'm pretty sure they are JW but not certain) who do not participate in any christmas related activities, they go and 'help' in the nursery.

WileywithSageStuffing Wed 05-Dec-12 16:35:50

I feel sad for your DC but only because of the fun that they must be missing out on ...although you say that they are fine with it I just can't really believe that's true

The only part of it I can't understand is why do you do all the fun crimbo stuff like meals out, secret Santa (giving, receiving presents)? That's a bit naughty really!

I don't get the "integration" comment from your colleagues. That has nothing to do with your religious beliefs. They are being unreasonable.

KitchenandJumble Wed 05-Dec-12 16:39:50

MrsTerryPratchet wrote "Muslims and Jews 'believe' in Jesus just not that he is the son of God."

Not exactly. Jesus is recognised as a prophet in Islam. There is no Jewish teaching about Jesus at all, since, of course, Judaism was around long before Jesus was born (if he actually existed at all in the historical sense).

Otherwise, I completely agree with your post.

ChoudeBruxelles Wed 05-Dec-12 16:40:49

If its anything like ds's school the navity play has only a passing reference to Jesus. This year the sang and danced to "feeling hot hot hot", "walk 500 miles" and "holiday" amongst others

Groovee Wed 05-Dec-12 16:41:43

My dh's cousin's children never participate as they are JW. They don't do anything outwith their own religion. They came to my church service in my wedding but not the celebration.

cazza40 Wed 05-Dec-12 16:43:41

YABU - I feel a bit sad for your DC

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 05-Dec-12 16:43:52

Yes, true Kitchen. I sort of meant in my befuddled way that it is not a fictional story to Jewish people. Just a fictionalised account of a real person. People were talking about it like it was a Gruffulo or Little Red Riding Hood.

innoparticularorder Wed 05-Dec-12 16:46:04

I'm Muslim and my son played a Shepard in his nativity today, he was pretty oblivious to the actual 'story' anyway.

If that's how you feel then as someone has already said your kids your rules. To suggest you don't integrate is rather bizarre.

ethelb Wed 05-Dec-12 16:47:40

I was under the impression that some Jewish scholars wrote about a man called Jesus who claimed he was the messiah, along with all the other people who claimed they were the messiah at the same time.

RiaUnderTheMistletoe Wed 05-Dec-12 16:49:21

So you and your dc take part in the Christmas celebrations which are permitted by your faith, and not the ones that don't? Can't see a problem with that.

And a number of posters seem to be conflating not-Christian with atheist confused

2cats2many Wed 05-Dec-12 16:49:27

YABU. I don't believe in talking animals, but I didn't kick up a fuss when my DD took part in a school play based on the Monkey Puzzle book.

I also wouldnt kick up a fuss if they took part in a play based on a story from a non Christian religion.

The nativity is just a happy, seasonal thing to do. You always have the opportunity to explain your own views about the truth/non- truth of the story to your DC.

What a shame.

LadyInDisguise Wed 05-Dec-12 16:50:24

This is actually a difficult one.
As England is (mainly) a Christian country and because schools have to include some religious ceremony in their teachings (cue for some hyms to sing at assemblies etc..), the nativity scene seem to be part of the culture of the country and not participating in it will feel like stepping out of the 'cultural norms'.

However, a lot of people refuse to see playing the nativity scene as a religious activity (which it is). They will also refuse to see the impact on children saying 'you can teach what you believe in at home'. It certainly has had some impact on my dcs. One has now decided that all christian are 'stupid' to believe that jesus has done all the things the bible says he has. The other has taken exactly the other way as 'this is the right thing to believe' because that's what his teacher says...

I do have a big issue about the fact 'It's just a story like any other story'. It's not. This is what Christmas is supposed to be about (even though seeing what happens now, you would be forgiven to think this is not what it is about). The nativity scene sets out the idea that there was jesus and he was a very special person indeed. And this is a religious idea part of religious belief.
Taking it as 'just a story' is watering down the strong message given by the nativity actually.

I am actually interested to know why your work colleagues brought this idea of integration to someone who is english, born in the UK.... Is there any other reason why they might think you are not entirely integrated?

squeakytoy Wed 05-Dec-12 16:52:17

You could always say your child is allowed but as a donkey or a shepherd... they dont have to have a leading role.

YABU to object if you yourself take part in some christmas festivities. Being in the nativity play will not make your child a christian. If there was a muslim based play, would you object to non-muslim children participating in it.

MissCellania Wed 05-Dec-12 16:53:14

I find it quite offensive that if you don't allow your children to take part in a religious ritual you are somehow not integrated into your own society.
Especially when the vast majority of people who do have their children participate are non-church goers who care little for the religion anyway, yet feel it is somehow ok for them to force it onto others.

To be integrated is to be a functioning equal part of society, it does not mean pretending to follow aspects of a different religion so people won't call you cruel or say how sad your children must be.

usualsuspect3 Wed 05-Dec-12 16:57:05

It's just a play at school. No big deal IMO.

LadyInDisguise Wed 05-Dec-12 16:57:33

Oh and Santa has nothing to do with a nativity scene. I don't think there has ever being a story linking Santa and Jesus or whoever else.

Santa is Christmas in the non-religious sense whereas a nativity scene is about Christmas in the religious sense.
I can't see an issue with not wanting to do a nativity scene and having Santa coming to your house.
Unless you can't have Santa if you aren't christian confused

usualsuspect3 Wed 05-Dec-12 16:58:03

No need to take a dramatic stand against it really.

LadyInDisguise Wed 05-Dec-12 16:58:13

What squeaky said

LadyIsabellaWrotham Wed 05-Dec-12 17:00:01

YABU of course insofar as unreasonableness is a defining feature of all religions (nothing wrong with that - there's more to life than rationality).

However, given that you believe, YANBU to adhere to the tenets of your religion. I'm staggered by the lack of understanding on this thread. Gift giving is not forbidden by Islam, decorated trees, turkey and mince pies are not forbidden by Islam, singing songs about how lovely Baby Jesus is are not forbidden, (although the ones specifically saying he was the Son of God are probably iffy). Depiction of the prophets of Islam is specifically forbidden by most Islamic branches. The OP is not being remotely hypocritical.

While I'm here though - are any Muslim parents sufficiently observant to forbid their DC drawing pictures of people and animals in nursery? Never heard of it being an issue in real life, just idly curious.

KitchenandJumble Wed 05-Dec-12 17:00:12

"So you and your dc take part in the Christmas celebrations which are permitted by your faith, and not the ones that don't? Can't see a problem with that."

Well said, RiaUnderTheMistletoe.

Scheherezade Wed 05-Dec-12 17:02:56


NameGotLostInCyberspace Wed 05-Dec-12 17:05:07

Asa, I understand your dilema. I too am Muslim and get what you are saying. I do let DD partake in the Nativity.
She was actually Mary last year and the teacher asked my express permission for the role. I said fine but on no account will she say Jesus is the son of God or refer to him as God or the son of.

Neither May or Joseph were Prophets and Jesus is usually played by a doll smile.
Anyway, like I said I do understand and each will understand as they want to. I really don' think you need to stop your secret santa or xmas meal with work either smile.

in a nut shell YANBU but just gave my take on it.

KrisMoose Wed 05-Dec-12 17:07:30

I think it's unusual and fab to have a traditional nativity - they get rarer and rarer every bloody year. Narnia and it's equivalents have taken over and that's a shame.

WRT this situation, so far YHBU as you partake in what suits you about Christmas and not what doesn't.

You are trying to have your Christmas Cake and eat it too.

But if you must insist on marking out your DC's as different, then you should also stop joining in with colleagues.

Which is a damn shame. Britain should be getting more intergrated, not less...and attitudes like this do nothing but hinder that.

My sons partake in all religious festivals at School, and quite right too. I think the compliment should be returned.

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