For anyone that doesn’t know… I was raised in a very religious home. From Kindergarten to Fifth grade, I attended a private Baptist School and Church. I was the little kid on the bus, trying to talk to high school students about taking Jesus into their heart. Because I had been taught that when you got to heaven you got a crown, and on your crown were jewels, one for each person you had brought to God. That’s right… I was a princess even then. We had chapel everyday in school… we read our bible when we had completed our assignments. What this resulted in was by the time I left the private school to go to public school (in 5th grade), I could recite hundreds of bible verses but didn’t know how to multiply or tell my left hand from my right hand. I came to see our church/school as more of a cult than a religion… and ever since then, devoutly religious people have freaked me out.
I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want, and I am not going to make fun of you for being religious, but it is going to freak me out if you try to push your views on me. Which is why it is kinda of humorous that I have ended up in the South, the land of bible huggers. I have had a really hard time living here, because here the church you go to and how devout you are, is sort of a status symbol. If you don’t attend church every week, you are pretty much considered an atheist. South Carolina has something called “The Blue Law”, businesses are not open on Sunday until after 1PM. The only thing you can buy is groceries… if you go to wal-mart and buy a cart full of groceries and try to sneak in one pair of socks, they will take the socks out and tell you they are sorry but they can’t sell them to you. There are no liquor sales on Sunday… but even on weekdays, liquor stores are not allowed to have signs. They are identified with a big red dot… and the window store front can have a sign, but no advertisements on the street or in the paper. Also, they close at 6pm, every single day. The first year we moved here, Cody invited a friend to go trick or treating with him, and the friend’s mother said her son could not go with us, because we didn’t go to church.
Anyway… that isn’t the point of my blog. The point of my bitch session is Carsten’s school. Some of you might remember me mentioning that last Christmas Carsten came home and told me that in school they read her the Christmas story, the story of Jesus’s birth. No one asked me if it was ok if Carsten heard the story, and she didn’t get a choice either. It was read to her during library time. It annoyed me, but I didn’t say anything.
Then, last week Carsten came home and asked me what they used to nail Jesus’s hands to the cross. This isn’t a story I have covered (while we don’t attend church, I do talk to both kids about God and have private devotion and instruction at home.) and I asked her why she was curious.
Turns out that during art class they made stained glass crosses with tissue paper. The teacher made a image of Jesus on her cross, and then talked to the kids about Jesus dying for our sins, by being nailed to a cross. It is safe to say that my brain about exploded out of my ear. I asked if she got a choice whether to make something other than a cross… the answer was no. I asked if she got a choice whether or not to listen to the teacher’s story about Jesus, and again she said no. And for the record… I was never asked if it was ok that they talked to Carsten about any of this or if it was ok that she made a cross in art class.
Since then she has asked me questions like, “How did Jesus’s parents die?” and “How did God decide to have seven days in a week?” Both valid questions that I would have covered… had I been given the opportunity to teach her myself. But, again, the PUBLIC school has decided that it is ok that they cover these subjects with her.
The part that REALLY pisses me off? At Halloween we were not allowed to have a party. The kids could not wear shirts with Halloween images on them, no ghosts or witches, etc… Being the room mother, I planned their Fall Party and was told I could not bring anything that had ANY kind of Halloween image on it. And then? This year they decided not to allow Valentine’s parties anymore either. They could bring cards to exchange, but I was not allowed to bring them heart shaped cookies or treat bags, no party whatsoever, in any way shape of form. I guess St. Valentine is the devil too. Cody’s school informed him that there were no gifts allowed, not to each other, nor could parents send balloons or flowers to their children.
I am SO annoyed. All of this would be tolerable if my daughter attended PRIVATE school, but she DOESN’T. Cody went to a private Christian school for K and 1st grade and he talked about God in school less than Carsten does.
I SOOOOOO badly want to go see the principal and demand answers… ask him why he thinks it is appropriate for the Librarian and the Art teacher to be teaching religion to my child. But I am terrified. I am ALREADY considered an atheist because I mow my lawn on Sunday and I don’t attend church… I cannot imagine what would happen to me if I publicly object to the school violating the separation of church and state.
What would YOU do? Do you think I am wrong for seeing red? I know I have people on my list that are devoutly religious, and I am not trying to start a debate about what anyone believes. I hope I don’t regret posting this.
I absolutely believe in God, and I think it is my right to teach my child what to believe… there has to be some kids in that school that are not Southern Baptist. Aren’t there any catholics, or buddists? Anyone read from the Torah? Anyone? Anyone?
Gah. I just feel so alone. And so pissed.