Author Topic: Politely declining religion at a children's group*Update pg5, Uh oh...  (Read 16434 times)

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EllenS

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #30 on: October 05, 2013, 10:47:12 AM »

I might also say, "Is it required that we allow the church to proselytize in order to be allowed to use the space?"


While clarity is good, I think the word "proselytize" comes off as needlessly confrontational.  It sounds like there is something wrong with the church *being a church*, or with Churchymom offering activities *that she and her child would like*

If she offered to bring a certain kind of snack, for example, that OP did not want her kids to eat, there would be no reason to say "Must you stuff garbage down my kid's throat?"  It's OTT.

flickan

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2013, 10:52:50 AM »

I might also say, "Is it required that we allow the church to proselytize in order to be allowed to use the space?"


While clarity is good, I think the word "proselytize" comes off as needlessly confrontational.  It sounds like there is something wrong with the church *being a church*, or with Churchymom offering activities *that she and her child would like*

If she offered to bring a certain kind of snack, for example, that OP did not want her kids to eat, there would be no reason to say "Must you stuff garbage down my kid's throat?"  It's OTT.

I see what you're getting at but is proselytize a bad word?  I've heard it used as such but my response is always, yeah, we're/they're Christians, that's what we do.

I think the benefits to using the word in this context is that group wants to use the church without being proselytized.  So it's up to the church to clarify if that's a condition of using the space.  I think the secular group using the space has a right to expect not to be proselytized if that's part of the original conditions.  So using this word would clarify things a lot.  I think it all depends on the tone with which it's said.

EllenS

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2013, 12:00:21 PM »
I have never heard the word "proselytize" used in a positive way by someone outside the religion being promoted.  Actually, I have never heard it used in a positive way by anyone.  Christians in my part of the world (and I am one) who want to speak positively about discussing/promoting their religion use the term "evangelize" or "share".

In my part of the world "proselytize" is always used to mean "aggressive/inappropriate forcing of religion on an unwilling audience"

camlan

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2013, 12:16:47 PM »
It all depends on where the push to have a children's religious service on Thursdays is coming from. If it is from the church, the pastor, the religious ed. director--then I'd say the church can do what it wants. The parents who attend the play session would have to decide if they wanted their children exposed to the religious service or not. This might mean that some parents choose not to attend.

But if the push for the religious service is coming from one mom, member of the church or not, then I think all the parents involved get to have a vote. The same way they would if one member, an equal among equals, wanted to change the group to a ballet lesson once a week, or to teach the kids how to read once a week, or anything else that is not part of the normal routine of the group. The idea can be floated, and all the members of the group get to vote.

Which isn't going to stop Religious Mom from going to the pastor and asking if she can hold an official children's religious service at the same time in the same place as the play group.

And in my neck of the woods, proselytize, evangelize and "sharing religion" all mean the same thing--someone trying to get you to convert to their religion. They are not interested in learning about other religions, just about getting more people involved in their religion, however unwilling their listener might be.
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EllenS

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #34 on: October 05, 2013, 12:26:39 PM »
But if the push for the religious service is coming from one mom, member of the church or not, then I think all the parents involved get to have a vote. The same way they would if one member, an equal among equals, wanted to change the group to a ballet lesson once a week, or to teach the kids how to read once a week, or anything else that is not part of the normal routine of the group. The idea can be floated, and all the members of the group get to vote.
(snip)


This was my impression of the situation - it will be interesting to see what the outcome of the FB discussion or "tiff" will be, hope we get an update.  Hopefully it was an  idea that was floated and not pursued if others were not receptive.


And in my neck of the woods, proselytize, evangelize and "sharing religion" all mean the same thing--someone trying to get you to convert to their religion. They are not interested in learning about other religions, just about getting more people involved in their religion, however unwilling their listener might be.

Interesting.  To me, the distinction of "evangelize" or "share" vs. "proselytize" lies exactly in the difference between a willing/receptive hearer vs. a pressured, trapped or surprised hearer. 

lady_disdain

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #35 on: October 05, 2013, 12:58:38 PM »
It all depends on where the push to have a children's religious service on Thursdays is coming from. If it is from the church, the pastor, the religious ed. director--then I'd say the church can do what it wants. The parents who attend the play session would have to decide if they wanted their children exposed to the religious service or not. This might mean that some parents choose not to attend.

But if the push for the religious service is coming from one mom, member of the church or not, then I think all the parents involved get to have a vote. The same way they would if one member, an equal among equals, wanted to change the group to a ballet lesson once a week, or to teach the kids how to read once a week, or anything else that is not part of the normal routine of the group. The idea can be floated, and all the members of the group get to vote.

If it is coming from the church, then it might be a bait and switch. The space was offered to the group and then, after they started meeting there, the religious activities were introduced. I would propose looking for another place to meet.

flickan

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #36 on: October 05, 2013, 01:15:39 PM »
I have never heard the word "proselytize" used in a positive way by someone outside the religion being promoted.  Actually, I have never heard it used in a positive way by anyone.  Christians in my part of the world (and I am one) who want to speak positively about discussing/promoting their religion use the term "evangelize" or "share".

In my part of the world "proselytize" is always used to mean "aggressive/inappropriate forcing of religion on an unwilling audience"

I can see that. I just checked an online thesaurus and the fact that one of the synonyms that came up was "brainwash" was not very encouraging...

I don't hear "evangelize" as necessarily softer but I understand how it could depend on the place you live in and the background of the one hearing it.

Peregrine

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #37 on: October 05, 2013, 02:19:16 PM »
But if the push for the religious service is coming from one mom, member of the church or not, then I think all the parents involved get to have a vote. The same way they would if one member, an equal among equals, wanted to change the group to a ballet lesson once a week, or to teach the kids how to read once a week, or anything else that is not part of the normal routine of the group. The idea can be floated, and all the members of the group get to vote.

I agree with you up to a point on this....But if this one particular mother is the one that holds the keys for getting everyone else into the venue, she does have a little more leverage.  By being in control of the venue she is a de-facto leader.  So if you don't want her to have any influence, the group is going to have to find a place that doesn't depend on her goodwill and presence to meet.  It may not be right or fair of her, but since they need her to open the building and be responsible for the other group members when they are in the building.  There just might not be much that can be done.

EllenS

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #38 on: October 05, 2013, 02:46:38 PM »
But if the push for the religious service is coming from one mom, member of the church or not, then I think all the parents involved get to have a vote. The same way they would if one member, an equal among equals, wanted to change the group to a ballet lesson once a week, or to teach the kids how to read once a week, or anything else that is not part of the normal routine of the group. The idea can be floated, and all the members of the group get to vote.

I agree with you up to a point on this....But if this one particular mother is the one that holds the keys for getting everyone else into the venue, she does have a little more leverage.  By being in control of the venue she is a de-facto leader.  So if you don't want her to have any influence, the group is going to have to find a place that doesn't depend on her goodwill and presence to meet.  It may not be right or fair of her, but since they need her to open the building and be responsible for the other group members when they are in the building.  There just might not be much that can be done.

Well, I really hope it's not going to go down like that.  That would be really rude and unfair for the keyholder to manipulate the situation that way.  Asking/offering is one thing, but any sort of bait & switch or manipulation is inappropriate.  And it will give her church a really bad reputation. 

Honestly, if she did try to do something like that, I might contact the church office to see what their policy is on facilities use, and let them know this is really bad form and driving people away instead of inviting them to explore more.

Mary Lennox

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #39 on: October 05, 2013, 02:58:57 PM »
The original organizer is long gone and one girl has kind of taken over as a keyholder (not this one), so I guess I will ask her what she thinks.

From the OP, the mother is not the key holder.

Lindee

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #40 on: October 05, 2013, 05:24:25 PM »
When my son started school he was invited to an after school kid's club held in a church hall. I was repeatedly  assured it was a non religious affair, purely social and fun. My lovely imaginative son started having nightmares about his fingers falling off and it turned out that bible stories were being told and the one about getting leprosy back if you weren't grateful enogh was worrying him. End of kid's club for son.!

Tea Drinker

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #41 on: October 05, 2013, 05:44:28 PM »
I think it's one of those "we share, you evangelize, they proselytize" sorts of things. The people who go door-to-door wanting to talk about religion may say they are "sharing" or "witnessing," but the person on the other side of the door is more like to say "the local Orange church is proselytizing again." Given both the context (in a church) and the usage of "hear the church service," it seems pretty clear that this is intended as one-sided: she wants the rest of the group to hear about/participate in her religion, not to hear about or go to services of someone else's.

There are already several good suggestions here for explaining "I want a mother and child group where the children can play and the mothers can drink coffee and talk about all sorts of things, the way we've been doing it, not a religious meeting."
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

EllenS

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2013, 05:57:30 PM »
I think it's one of those "we share, you evangelize, they proselytize" sorts of things. The people who go door-to-door wanting to talk about religion may say they are "sharing" or "witnessing," but the person on the other side of the door is more like to say "the local Orange church is proselytizing again."

Oh, I totally see that!  However, if my friend is going through a horrible time and weeps on my shoulder and says, "how did you deal with this when you went through it?" I think I have permission to talk about the role of my faith in my life.  It's a completely different interaction. 

Any type of bait and switch, or sneaking behind parents' back, or springing things on people, is just icky and wrong.

esposita

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #43 on: October 05, 2013, 06:22:27 PM »
When my son started school he was invited to an after school kid's club held in a church hall. I was repeatedly  assured it was a non religious affair, purely social and fun. My lovely imaginative son started having nightmares about his fingers falling off and it turned out that bible stories were being told and the one about getting leprosy back if you weren't grateful enogh was worrying him. End of kid's club for son.!

Off topic but important :: Someone is telling that story very, very wrongly. No one got leprosy back! Luke 17:11-19, if anyone is interested.

Slartibartfast

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Re: Politely declining religion at a children's group
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2013, 06:48:24 PM »
I think you're perfectly right in saying "I'm not comfortable with this group being a religious thing" and leaving it at that.  It doesn't say what your own religious beliefs are, or whether you have an issue with this church specifically, but it does get your point across.