An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around THIS. In the great ongoing culture war in which everyone seems to think the government needs to bless and oversee everything in our lives, the freedom of the parent-child relationship has always been in danger. But there is something different here, because this is really about children potentially being labeled as "abused" for the indoctrination they receive at home. In government schools, they are of course fully exposed to secularism, but apparently religious schools are making UK Atheists nervous and uneasy. They are, they claim, worried about the freedom of the child.
They seek to change "public perception" as opposed to "campaigning politically", but of course in this time of everyone's personal beliefs and whims translating immediately into government action, I think there is cause to be concerned. Of course, I expect (hope?) that the vast majority of people think this is bogus, but then again, I myself was raised in a home in which - largely because of my father's wishes - I was raised to "decide for myself." Ironically I adopted the staunch atheism of my father, which of course points to the strange irony of the atheists' goal. How on earth does a parent fail to influence a child's faith under any circumstances? No matter what belief a parent may have, it will be imprinted upon the child! So if they truly "free" the child to believe whatever they like, no doubt that child will readily join Mom and Dad at the Unitarian, Episcopal, or NFL Church on Sunday morning. Really, it's laughable.
Also, suppose public perception does change (yes, government regulation WILL follow, don't you doubt it) what on earth sort of family life are these people wishing to design for us?
"Now kids, Mommy and Daddy are going to ask a blessing for our food, will you all please step outside for a few moments and do what feels right while we pray?"
And where does it end? What morality shall we teach our children? If not informed by our faith, will the government provide us with a "code of ethics" to assist our children in being moral citizens of some sort?
From the TimesOnline article: “The message is that the labelling of children by their parents’ religion fails to respect the rights of the child and their autonomy. We are saying that religions and philosophies — and ‘humanist’ is one of the labels we use on our poster — should not be foisted on or assumed of young children.”
A problem with the above statement: Does not the application of the term "autonomy" to a young child carry with it certain assumptions about what is appropriate to human nature? It assumes, for example, that human beings are supposed to be atomized units; that their highest objective to to choose for themselves; and that such things outweigh their need to share in family, community, and tradition. Such assumptions and their contraries are central to any religious or philosophical description of man. How, however, can we justify foisting upon young children the assumption of an individualistic autonomy and deny them full participation in a community from the earliest age? The Orthodox do not do this, to be sure, for we baptize and commune infants. This too carries assumptions about what is appropriate to human nature. Perhaps these 'humanists' would have been more satisfied with the Baptist churches I attended in years past. In such churches, the child cannot be a full member of the community because he has not yet reached "the age of accountability." It seems to me, however, that denying a child full membership and participation in any community is no way to respect the child or his 'rights'.