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WIBU to berate the Christians who insisted on giving my ds a pamphlet?

(154 Posts)
HarrietSchulenberg Sat 08-Mar-14 15:27:17

In Chester this morning. Only nipped in as I had an eyetest but H and dses wanted a quick nosey round town. A large group of middle aged and elderly Christians were singing and leafleting in the middle of town, which is fair enough: live and let live etc. First time we walked past H and I said polite "No thank you"s when offered leaflets, as we are Atheists so really had no want or need of them.

Second time we walked past them they offered leaflets again. We are quite a distinctive family so I'm sure they remembered us from earlier, but thought they'd try again. Firm "No thank you"s from us again but two of them started pushing leaflets at Ds1 (13) and 2 (11). Ds1 ignored them but ds2 took one to be polite. Luckily they didn't try ds3 (6) but mainly because he was on the other side of H so they couldn't reach him.

We started to walk away but then I realised what they'd done. So I went back and told them not to give leaflets to my children, just adults, and us adults didn't want them. First man smiled and said, "It's OK, Jesus loves you": cue curt declaration of my atheism and another request not to target children.

Second man repeats, "Jesus loves you" mantra at which point my politeness vanished and I might have bellowed something about pixies in the sky and not preying on the vulnerable. And walked off while they were telling me again that Jesus would forgive my sin if I would just admit what I already knew (hmm ) and believed.

Only to be approached by a third man round the corner who also seemed hell-bent on giving us leaflets. He also insisted on telling us that Jesus loved us and also told me that Jesus cured his alcohol addiction, at which point I gave a loud snort, told him to back off and rounded everybody up ready for home.

And the leaflet? Tells us that we are all sinners and in debt for our sins (what sins has an 11 year old committed other than the occasional nocturnal raid on the biscuit tin?). But the debt "must be paid ... to have any hope of heaven". And then a lot more about believing in Jesus and a contact address for a free New Testament on the back.

H and ds2 think I should have just binned the leaflet and walked away, but ds1 agrees with me that such blatant attempts to indoctrinate need to be challenged, even if it does mean a "scene" in the street. So, WIBU or is it OK for people to peddle religious twaddle directly to children in the middle of a busy city on a Saturday morning?

heather1 Sat 08-Mar-14 15:34:55

To you it's twaddle. To them it's the truth.
They didn't physically hurt you or damage you and your children mentally.
If you disagree with their views it should be possible to have a calm and measured conversation. If they become abuse of continue to repeat the same phrase verbatim then it's your prerogative to walk away.
I wouldnt describe what you have experienced as indoctrination.
Imo yabu.

EyelinerQueen Sat 08-Mar-14 15:35:15


I have berated them loudly in the past.

And ripped up their flyers in their faces.

Nobody gives that brain-washing garbage to my kids and goes unchallenged.

Floggingmolly Sat 08-Mar-14 15:35:52

Yes. You should have just put it in the bin. You sound just as evangelistic as he was.

BOFtastic Sat 08-Mar-14 15:36:12

Life's too short, love- and let's face it, it's not like you'll get your reward in heaven or owt wink. Mellow out!

MaxsMummy2012 Sat 08-Mar-14 15:38:02

'religious twaddle' - what an offendive statement, just because you dont believe doesn't mean that your beliefs are superior to those who do believe!

In relation to the leaflet YWBU, presumably your child has learnt to be polite and respect others from what you have taught him so he took the leaflet to be polite! You were being uneccessarily confrontational and that is why you were given the 'Jesus loves you' line!

At the end of the day they handed your son a leaflet - it's not like they handed him a bottle of vodka!

Feminine Sat 08-Mar-14 15:38:23

What church did they claim to be from?

It all sounds really odd. Not that I don't believe you. More that I have no idea how they expect to gain any members that way.

I saw some Witnesses in town this morning, they also had a whole rack of leaflets but they were very composed.

gordyslovesheep Sat 08-Mar-14 15:38:35

YABU - it's a leaflet - what did you think it was going to do - explode and turn your child into a Christian by magic?

I am also an non believer but I don't think it means it's okay to shield my children from any religious knowledge - how are they supposed to make their OWN minds up about things if they aren't exposed to them

I am not sure what you are so scared of?

ashtrayheart Sat 08-Mar-14 15:40:10

Yanbu. People get up in arms over operation Christmas child but this sort of crap is fine hmm

ipswichwitch Sat 08-Mar-14 15:40:31

I am a non-believer, but personally don't care what others believe in or what religion they may . What I really have a problem with is having someone basically forcing their beliefs on myself and others. I don't like being accosted on the street and really dislike it when they knock on my door in an attempt to convert me. They certainly shouldn't be going after children and especially when you had already told them no. You don't see groups of atheists roaming about the street handing out leaflets saying "it's not real" do you. That would no doubt be seen as provocative and inflammatory and disrespectful towards religious people. I feel likewise when my own beliefs (or lack thereof) are disregarded in such a manner.

HarrietSchulenberg Sat 08-Mar-14 15:40:45

So it's OK to give a child a leaflet that tells him he's a sinner? And that he owes a debt to Jesus that "MUST BE PAID" (their caps not mine)?

gordyslovesheep Sat 08-Mar-14 15:42:11

yes - because he can then ask you about it and you can explain that some people believe .....etc and he can go 'oh okay' and add it to his list of things he knows knows about - I'm a bit baffled

LookingThroughTheFog Sat 08-Mar-14 15:42:23

No, it's absolutely not, Harriet, and I say that as a Catholic who spent the morning teaching in church. Your children's faith or non-faith is your business and your children's business - not theirs.

EyelinerQueen Sat 08-Mar-14 15:42:30

No it's not ok.

This kind of behaviour is not harmless. Live and let live only applies when these kind of people keep their delusions to themselves.

The minute they infringe on my life and my family's life completely uninvited is the minute I stop being polite to them.

SometimesLonely Sat 08-Mar-14 15:43:26

I wonder what branch of Christianity they were.

LookingThroughTheFog Sat 08-Mar-14 15:44:16

I think it would be a pretty rare teenager who had never heard of any religion and was unable to ask someone about it. Being accosted while you go about your business is really not on.

Salmotrutta Sat 08-Mar-14 15:45:15

I'm not sure that having a bit of a loud rant at the man about "pixies in the sky" is all that different to religious proselytizing tbh.

I'm atheist but I tend to just smile politely and decline leaflets. Or quietly bin them later.

No need for drama.

ScrambledeggLDCcakeBOAK Sat 08-Mar-14 15:45:22

The point I think is this

Don't push any religion on any one.

I have my faith and I am proud of it, I share it when appropriate (would never hide it) and welcome other people religious views BUT I would never push mine on ANYONE EVER and I expect the same in return.

When I'm walking down the street I do not expect to have religious leaflets shoved at me and if my child was handed one I would hand it back and out of politeness would expect them to respectfully accept it as unwanted rather than rudely spouting Jesus loves you like your the arsehole!

I know Jesus loves me I don't need to hear that in the form of a rude retort!

It's like a child shouting na na na na na at you

BackOnlyBriefly Sat 08-Mar-14 15:46:56

YANBU, they should not give them to children. They may offer them to an adult and I'd then politely refuse. If they pressed me I'd tell them why I didn't want it - in detail.

Feminine Sat 08-Mar-14 15:49:15

This group you encountered sound a little unhinged, not like any Christians I know.

Where did they hail fromwink do you know?

ScrambledeggLDCcakeBOAK Sat 08-Mar-14 15:49:50

To reiterate I'm not as upset about the leaflet per say (although I don't agree see above)

It is the rude retort when someone hands it back that grates me!

Having said that biting like that and doing the pixie in the sky bit hurt your cause in my opinion. (I understand he was being tot tw*t though)

Joules68 Sat 08-Mar-14 15:51:04

Well all i want to know is 1)what makes your family of 5 so 'distinctive' and 2) how the hell do you 'snort'? Was it mummy pig style? grin

HarrietSchulenberg Sat 08-Mar-14 15:51:13

Gordy, believe you me we did talk about it! All dses have received religious information at school and we've talked about it at home. It's generally not a big deal as we just talk about "what other people believe".

As I said, I am an atheist. I don't care what other people believe but I respect their right to believe it. I do care that my beliefs are dismissed by a bunch of smug fanatics who are adamant that their way is the only way, and that they are prepared to peddle fear to my children to achieve their end.

MyMILisfromHELL Sat 08-Mar-14 15:53:36

What gordyslovesheep said

Feminine Sat 08-Mar-14 15:55:04

What Church do you think they came from third time of asking grin

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