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To want the Gideons to get the #### out of my child's school

(478 Posts)
PatriarchyPersonified Thu 15-Feb-18 13:50:23

As I have made clear on threads on here in the past, I am an atheist (I'm actually a strong anti-theist) and I believe in the secularisation of society. (i.e religion can be there for people who want it but it should be irrelevant to anybodies day to day life unless they want to make it relevant.)

I believe that children should be taught about religions in school, as part of a comprehensive RE syllabus, and particularly about Christianity, as I believe from a cultural and historical perspective, it is impossible to fully understand the history and culture of the UK without reference to the bible. I would feel the same way about the Qu'ran if I lived in an Arab country btw.

What I am not happy about is that my oldest DC (12) has just had the bloody Gideon Society hosting an assembly in their school and dishing out Bibles! School is not the place for this. There is a reason why religious groups always target schools and prisons, its where the easy targets are.

Surfingwhippet Thu 15-Feb-18 13:54:03

Do you not feel confident in your ability to raise children to be independent thinkers, able to make up their own minds

PatriarchyPersonified Thu 15-Feb-18 13:56:22


That's what RE is for. I clearly wasn't present for the assembly, however I'm pretty sure that the Gideon's were unlikely to be encouraging the children to read the Bible in a critical manner, and think about the statements inside it for themselves.

Ubercornsdiscoball Thu 15-Feb-18 13:57:48

We all got Gideon bibles at school. Use it to educate your children if you need to, not shy away and seethe about it

Surfingwhippet Thu 15-Feb-18 14:01:46

It's one assembly is hardly going to change their athiest upbringing.

All three of my children have been through the English school system, all three have been bought children's bibles by grandparents all three had assemblies given by the Gideon's all three were given bibles by them all three are athiest.

As a parent you are the most influential person in your child's life. It's your opinion they will listen to above all others. Be confident in your ability to raise your children in the way you want to

Flatpackjackie Thu 15-Feb-18 14:02:19

Couldn't agree more, OP!

PatriarchyPersonified Thu 15-Feb-18 14:05:55

To be clear, I don't think my DC is going to be 'won over' to religion on the basis of one assembly.

My wider objection is the principle of letting proselytising religious group have access to schoolchildren to push their 'message'.

There is no educational value in this that could not have been achieved inside the current RE syllabus.

Its demonstrates the ubiquity of religious privileges in this country that nobody even questioned this happening. The excuse so far has been along the lines of "they always come and nobody complains".

They "always come" because they are invited by one of the Heads of Year who is a Lay Preacher.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 15-Feb-18 14:09:43

At 12 your dc can make their own minds up, they don't have to receive the Bible if they don't want, or they can chuck it away. What would you do if they did want to read it, and was interested.

Surfingwhippet Thu 15-Feb-18 14:11:04

Well maybe complain to the school so they'll do something about it but i suspect i comes under the "broadly Christian" education all schools deliver. And yes i think one assembly from them in 12 years of education counts as broadly Christian

PatriarchyPersonified Thu 15-Feb-18 14:12:16


She is deeply interested in the Bible and has read parts of it. We have a copy at home.

My objection is the act of allowing groups to come and preach to a captive audience of impressionable children.

I teach her how to think, not what to think.

allertse Thu 15-Feb-18 14:12:33

YANBU at all.

Of course one single assembly isn't going to damage the kids. That's not the point.

The point is that schools are allowed (actually I believe technically, required) to present religious views as fact, and that children are often discouraged from questioning them, as it is considered rude.

Aeroflotgirl Thu 15-Feb-18 14:15:33

I don't think one assembly will do that, Gideon came to my school years ago, I just took no notice and was busy chatting to my friend.

Surfingwhippet Thu 15-Feb-18 14:16:50

Schools present religious education as "some people believe" it is said every time s belief is presented. You cannot teach every religion that the schools teach as fact, you would be contradicting yourself each time you taught something

TabbyMack Thu 15-Feb-18 14:18:15

Which other religious groups are allowed to show up, on school time, and hand out their books of babble?

That would be none.

There are RE lessons every week to learn about the Bible (aka The Goat Herders Guide To The Universe, as I heard it described recently) so there is zero need to single out this particular antiquated myth for a special mention.

I am with you, OP. Most people on this site won't be, though. It's far too politically correct to be deeply, deeply respectful of other people's beliefs and one of the most popular virtue-signalling tools around.

HotCrossBunFight Thu 15-Feb-18 14:19:40

It's helpful for children to learn about world religions. I'd like my children to be given access to all holy books

TabbyMack Thu 15-Feb-18 14:19:51

*Schools present religious education as "some people believe"
Some schools do, but it's by no means all.

JoeyMaynardssolidlump Thu 15-Feb-18 14:21:01

I think you may be in danger of so shoving atheism down your kids throats they may turn to the church.

I kid you not. Have seen it both ways from vicars kids who never attend Church as adults and kids of atheists who become rabid church goers.


JuneFromBethesda Thu 15-Feb-18 14:21:11

I agree with you OP, and I wouldn't be happy about this either.

listsandbudgets Thu 15-Feb-18 14:21:15

Blimey OP I think you're over reacting.

My DD has been given a bible and a qu'ran at school and both times representatives of the relevant religions came in to give talks. She has also visited a mosque, church, gudwarah and synagogue as part of Religious Education...

She's 12 and happily an atheist. She still likes to dip into both bible and Qu'ran because they are interesting.

Really a child who has been taught HOW to think will be able to raise challenges when told WHAT to think... and if you are not told what others think, how can you ever justify your own beliefs - you'd have nothing to gauge them against.

WheresTheHooferDoofer Thu 15-Feb-18 14:21:16

Maybe the school can invite the Humanist Society if they want to show they're inclusive.

I've noticed some schools in my area (the ones I kn ow about) talk about their inclusive ideas and indeed make it clear they introduce the children to all sorts of religions.

Yet it seems rare that they also cover the non religious beliefs that people hold. (OK, this is based on the different people I talk to, although I have had reason to deal with a few schools here.)

20nil Thu 15-Feb-18 14:21:55


bostonkremekrazy Thu 15-Feb-18 14:23:08

Why not withdraw your child from assemblies that invite guests then OP? no biggie surely.

JoeyMaynardssolidlump Thu 15-Feb-18 14:23:49

Welli suppose an sssembly from the humanist society might be quite short though wink

Surfingwhippet Thu 15-Feb-18 14:24:48

The point i was trying to make was that schools are not "required" to present religious education as fact

TabbyMack Thu 15-Feb-18 14:25:49

Which bits of the Bible & Koran does your 12 year old daughter like the best?

The rape? The genocide? The oppression of women? The calls to murder? The child sacrifices?

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