Well, I can only hope that the SCOTUS does the right thing tomorrow when it hears arguments from Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood challenging the ACA on religious principles. No, you should not be able to decide for and to judge your employees with your cherry-picked views on what your god or goddess would want. If Hobby Lobby has the money to throw away on lawsuits, it must charge way too much for its craftiness.
Onto other family matters….Like many of you, I try to remain tolerant to other’s beliefs. After all, we have relatives and friends, coworkers and neighbors who are of all different faiths, and we all want to get along. But every week, I receive emails about the frustrations of dealing with religious family members who are not very tolerant of our lack of belief.
Usually, it’s the grandparents, but sometimes there are issues with siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles—even the other parent. I get that believers are encouraged by their preachers to save lost souls. I get that our parents are terrified they will look down from heaven and see us burning in hell. But these are their unsubstantiated fears, wants and desires, and our families need to understand that we don’t share them.
So, I’ll give one example, and if you’d like to add your concern or suggestion, please feel free to join in. Jessica is 9 years old. She is being raised by secular parents who have talked with her about God. (For example: “Some people believe in a man in the sky who is watching and listening to our every word. We don’t believe this. It doesn’t make sense, and there is no proof. Does it make sense to you? Why or why not?”)
Jessica’s maternal grandparents are devout Baptists, and they want to take her to church. It’s no secret they want her baptized. Jessica’s mom says, no, that’s not going to happen, but she knows her daughter adores her grandmother and wants to please her. And mom knows that having loving grandparents beats the hell out of having no grandparents.
So mom might want to agree to let Jessica go, letting grandma know that she will use this as a lesson for her daughter. Mom realizes that, in her town, Jessica will be up for recruitment by classmates as well as family, so it’s best to show her what religion is about.
It’s important that, when Jessica return home (or after church, if they all go together), mom and dad sit down and talk with her about the experience. What did she like about it? What did she not like? What did the preacher say? Does it make sense? When a preacher makes an outrageous claim (God is watching) that she wants others to believe, she must back it up with evidence. Did this preacher do that? What other things do people believe in that are not true? (Santa, the Easter Bunny, Ghosts, Bloody Mary) By questioning their daughter, mom and dad are empowering her to find her own answers.
This is what I suggest because, if we tell our children “no,” and grandmom becomes upset, our kids will feel responsible, and they will be caught in the middle. They also may grow more curious. So we want to educate our children; we want to expose and brush away the mystery of religion.
Is it right for relatives to pressure us or our kids to go to church? Of course not. Yet by the time they graduate from high school, many of our children will have been to church or to church-based activities with their friends. We need to make sure that they are not easy targets, that, just like discussions of drugs or sex, awareness helps them make better decisions. Talk to them early and often.
Kids are capable of reasoning things out. They will understand.