So this kid was discussing Jesus to my son at school. Zach told him that he didn’t believe in God. The boy told him the story about Jesus dying and coming back to life. Zach’s response? ‘Jesus is a zombie!?!?’ And the boy went further saying that Jesus helps those in need. Zach asked why Jesus wasn’t helping [them] (Mom got laid off for having students in a college course write about atheism), and the kid said only ‘special people’ get his help. Zach said it was apparently like Paranorman (the movie). The kid pushed Zach, called Zach the devil… Zach defended himself and gave the kid a black eye. Both kids were suspended. – from the article, Kindergartener Stands Up To Bully
If what was reported in this article is true, then it’s really bothersome and the implications are scary.
First, the extent of indoctrination that children may be receiving from their parents nowadays. Imagine how can a child think of hurting another child of his age over religious belief, even calling the child the Devil? It scares me that children get taught that those who do not share their religious beliefs are the ultimate evil beings. It’s different when they call another kid stupid or dumb because they disagree with their claims. But to hear a child call another child the Devil? It’s like hearing a child parroting an adult who could have said it. I don’t even want to imagine if this child simply mirroring the hatred his parents harbor against those who do not think the same way when it comes to religion.
Second, the other adults around the child encourages this hate! Although both kids were suspended for getting in a fight, the principal even had the gall to add a day more of suspension on Zach (the kid who does not believe in Jesus as God) because he “insulted” the other kid’s religion, and disregarding the fact that the other kid was the one who initiated physical contact and called Zach the Devil, which obviously meant to hurt. And the mother’s punishment for this kid? She bought him ice cream sundae for “defending God”! It is sending the wrong message that it’s okay to be violent because of religion! In the update though, it was said that the other kid’s parents have forced him to apologize to Zach for what he did. But still, it comes across as just an afterthought, something done just because.
Yes, it is right to teach children not to resort first to violence to defend themselves. But when you have been engaged physically already, I just deem it right to defend against it physically as well. But religion and disagreements about it should never spark violence.
It is of great debate whether it is right to teach religion to kids at an early age. However, it’s never too early to teach a kid to respect another person enough not to hurt them when in disagreement. Otherwise, we may be raising kids who, when offended in religious matters, would not think twice about killing in the name of their God. And a world filled with that idealogy is scary.