There’s a common response from pro-religious instruction people that the classes “never did me any harm” or “what harm do they do?”. Aside from being a very self-centred view that because they don’t think they do any harm, therefore no harm is done, it’s simply not true. If you allow a class teaching children that they have superior values and morality to other children, they are going to change their attitude to other kids because of it. While I was personally never bullied for questioning the religious teaching I had at Catholic school, I do remember the “holier-than-thou” attitude of some of the kids from some of the more devout families.
If you have a story to tell, please get in touch. It doesn’t have to be long!
When I was in primary school I used to get beaten up by girls the day girls rally was on to make sure I’d go. If I didn’t go, they beat me up on the next day. In intermediate, I used to call the instructor out on what she was saying, so the principal used to stand behind me and every time I put my hand up, he’d put his hand on my shoulder to silence me. Eventually my parents, who left me there because they thought it’d be good for me to know about it, opted out and I spent the sessions in the school library on my own.
The outcome is that religion and religious people make me very nervous. I am wary of their messages. That has continued to be my experience as an adult. Once people know I’m an atheist they cool towards me. It’s affected my work, but not my social life. Pity I live in a town with 5 churches and I’ve been told if you want anything done here you join a church.
My grandson was taken out of religious instruction classes only to be sat like a naughty boy in the corridor. It’s disgusting.
The problem is it’s an opt out; not an opt in. I never asked to do religious study at Weston! But you were the odd one out if you didn’t do it and had to do class work, essentially making us outcasts.
My 5yr old came home telling me about the lady teaching him about God and Jesus. The school didn’t even let me know they would be teaching my child that stuff. I wasn’t impressed it is NOT a schools place to teach ONE religion to very new impressionable children. They could at least let parents know so that they can make a decision of whether or not their child attends those classes.
Children often carry their bad experiences of religion into adulthood. You can email me your story here.