Tag Archives: children

Group Claims Health And Safety Laws Would Violate Religious Freedom

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clipart of a teacher reading to a classIt’s pretty common for religious groups to ask for exemptions from laws. The argument they use is if the group has to comply with the law it would infringe on their freedom of religion. You wouldn’t think they would use such an excuse to avoid health and safety laws. You especially wouldn’t think they would want an exemption from health and safety laws covering child day care centers? Yes, a religious group, in Indiana, is choosing religious freedom over the health and safety of children.
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Split On Kentucky Court Cases – One Win One Loss

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image of a map version of state of KentuckyLast week, two church & state cases from Kentucky were resolved. One concerning a state law that said “security was unattainable without reliance on ‘Almighty God'” lost in the US Supreme Court. Another case involving religious coercion at state-funded baptist children’s home was settled out of court as a victory for support of separation of church and state. We can’t always win these court cases but we need to fight as much as possible to protect the wall between church & state.
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Ohio State Senators Returning Teddy Bears Used In Anti-Abortion Stunt

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image of a Teddy BearLast week I posted about the publicity stunt anti-abortion group Faith2Action pulled at the state house. Surrounded by children some state senators were given Teddy Bears that made a heartbeat sound to try and convince them to pass HB 125. The ‘heartbeat’ bill would prohibit any abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. Now it seems senators are giving back the toys because they cost more than $25 and would have to be reported on financial-disclosure forms.
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Anti-Abortion Supporters Use Ohio State Senators, Children, And Teddy Bears As Props

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Senator Cliff Hite R-Findlay as a prop
“Every time there is an abortion a Teddy Bear dies…”

You have to give supporters of the so-called Ohio “Heartbeat” bill credit, they sure know how to promote their bill with the subtlety of PT Barnum. Tuesday afternoon I watched another circus filmed at the Ohio State House. In a room full of children, Ohio state Senators were given toy Teddy Bears that made a heartbeat sounds when squeezed. The tacky photo-op still doesn’t hide the glaring wrongness of the newest attempt to force women not to have abortions. HB 125 is hands down the worst of the worst. Using children as props show how classy the bill supporters really are.
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Donate to Camp Quest

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Camp Quest Ohio meets in June but it is filling up now. Camp Quest is a summer camp for atheists, Humanists, agnostics and other freethinkers. They have a fund you can donate to help provide free or low cost fees for needy campers.

From their website:

Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view.

The purpose of Camp Quest is to provide children of freethinking parents a residential summer camp dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation of religion and government guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Camp Quest was first held in 1996 and until 2002 was operated by the Free Inquiry Group, Inc. (FIG) of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The idea for the project originated with Edwin Kagin and he and his wife Helen served as Camp Directors for the first ten years of the original Camp Quest, retiring at the end of the 2005 camp session.

Camp Quest website

They have several branch camps across the country, one in Canada and one in the United Kingdom. I personally know the current leadership of the group and have known both campers and staff at the Ohio branch and it is an excellent way for freethinking children to have freethinking summer camp.

In February, Helen Kagin, co-founder of Camp Quest, died. The group created the Helen Kagin Memorial Campership Fund to honor her work and life. The fund will help provide free or low cost fees to needy campers.

I’m going to donate to The Kagin Fund because back when I was in Boy Scouts (before the religious right took it over) I got to go to Summer Camp through generous donations from community members and now I have a place to repay that favor without giving up my principles.

Religion indoctrinates children

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Some years ago in an e-mail list about Humanism, I made the argument that religion indoctrinates children to carry on the faith to the next generation. At that time, some on the list took me to task for using the word “indoctrinate” as if the parents and religious leaders were doing something criminal. I think religious training is child abuse just like when parents try to maintain that Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny are real. The recent documentary “Jesus Camp” proves my point if in a more hyper way.

Jesus Camp is a documentary about the “Kids On Fire School of Ministry,” a charismatic Christian summer camp located just outside Devils Lake, North Dakota and run by Becky Fischer and her ministry, Kids in Ministry International. The camp was started in 2001. The film focuses on three children who attended the camp in the summer of 2005—Levi, Rachael, and Tory (Victoria). The film cuts between footage of the camp and a children’s prayer conference held just prior to the camp at Christ Triumphant Church, a large charismatic church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City.

All three children are very devout Christians. Levi, who has ambitions of being a pastor, has already preached several sermons at his father’s church, Rock of Ages Church in St. Robert, Missouri. He is home schooled (as are many of the campers), and learns physical science from a book that reconciles young-earth creationism with “scientific” principles.[4] He is also taught that global warming is a fictional political speculation, and that the earth’s temperature has only risen by 0.6 °F. Levi preaches a sermon at the camp in which he declares that his generation is key to Jesus’s return. Rachael, who also attends Levi’s church (her father is assistant pastor), is seen praying over a bowling ball during a game early in the film, and frequently passes Christian tracts (including some by Jack Chick) to people she meets. She does not think highly of non-charismatic churches (or “dead churches,” as she calls them), feeling they aren’t “churches that God likes to go to.” Tory is a member of the children’s praise dance team at Christ Triumphant Church. She frequently dances to Christian heavy metal music, and feels uncomfortable about “dancing for the flesh.” She also does not think highly of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Jesus Camp

One of the points made during a later portion of the film is that Fischer admits the need to “teach” the children since “our enemies teach theirs”.

I also had a good chuckle when the mother of one of the kids in the film says to the child “See how science doesn’t prove anything?”

I said, “Really?”

The main issue with the adults in the film was equating their politics and faith. Getting children to cry out to Jesus to end abortion without going into the details of the debate is just wrong in my view.

The problem with this indoctrination is that it’s indoctrination. You can tell children anything and they will automatically believe you and as pointed out in the film by their teens those teachings will stay with them for the rest of their lives. That’s why some people still think Evolution is only a view point and not a scientific fact.

Then when they do find out not every thing they were told in their youth was true – they can become angry or rebellious.

Parents should be able to educate their children how they wish but not when that teaching makes them stupid or makes them a later burden on society. Don’t take sides. Give the children all the info out there and let them decide what they want when they get old enough to make those decisions.

If my kids come to me and ask me about religion, I’m not going to tell them they will die if they find out or they aren’t good kids if they are religious.