Do you let your kids attend youth programs at churches of other religions?

My 11-year-old daughter has been invited to a youth event at a Christian church out here. I have heard the name of the church a lot, but I’m not sure if I am comfortable with her going to the event because I don’t know where they stand and if they would put pressure on her about her own religious beliefs.

If we were still in Gwinnett, I would be very comfortable with her going to events at Cannon United Methodist or Grace Fellowship, just to name a few.  Even though I am Catholic I know those churches fairly well and feel like she could enjoy the commonality in the religions and her religious beliefs would still be respected.

I grew up going to preschool and camp at First Baptist Church in Decatur even though on Sundays you would find my family down the road at St. Thomas More Catholic Church. (My mom was the accountant for the Baptist church.)

I taught VBS at First Baptist in middle school and went on Spring Break trips with the church’s youth.

I also attended Wednesday night services regularly with my best friend at Grace Fellowship Baptist. (This was when it was tiny but Pastor Buddy was there.)

There were only a few occasions over the years were I felt uncomfortable at churches of a different denomination. I never knew what to do with that saving business. Was I saved? I didn’t know how to answer because Catholics never talked about that. I do remember one girl – a friend of friend – telling me I was going to hell because I was Catholic. I just let that roll off my back. I didn’t think I was going to hell. And the only other time I felt uncomfortable was at one church’s softball game (not Grace or First Baptist). They made me sit in a hot car because I had on shorts – long shorts mind you but they were shorts. It was hot to be sitting in a car. (Sure would have been awful if I had died in the hot car because I was wearing shorts.)

I want my children to be able to enjoy going to church events with their friends and be strong enough in their own faith to learn about other faiths. But they are children, and I don’t want a pushy person hurting their feelings or telling them they are going to hell.

Do you let your children attend youth events at churches of other denominations? What about completely different religions? What would do you about this situation – would you let her go?

66 comments Add your comment

Bernie

September 21st, 2012
1:51 am

seabeau

September 21st, 2012
4:56 am

I have always allowed my children to attend events at other church events ! One of my dearest childhood friends was Jewish. Let her go, as you were!

RJ

September 21st, 2012
6:13 am

I don’t know why you’d have a problem with your child going to another Christian church. I’ve attended services at just about every denomination of Christainity. I grew up Baptist, sent my oldest and soon my youngest to a Catholic school and am now a member of a Methodist Church. The big difference is how they worship. There are also other differences, but the beliefs are the same.

Now another religion, I doubt I’d have a real problem with it. My niece is Muslim, yet her mother allowed her to attend VBS with my kids. She enjoyed it and had no problems. Teaching tolerance is important.

Bobby

September 21st, 2012
6:31 am

Would depend on the church and it’s values/beliefs.

I grew up Baptist, so my beliefs are rooted there, but kids attended a Methodist pre-school (their beliefs aren’t much different, other than sprinkling vs dunking, but both believe it’s symbolic, so not really different). Plus my daughter attended some catholic programs with a friend. Very different stance on things, and if my daughter was younger I’d say no. But as she is well grounded now, I let her go.

For a time, living in PA, we were members of the local JCC, and my kids went to several programs there and camps.

Then again, there are some Baptist churches I wouldn’t let my kids go to programs at, because I disagree doctrinally on things. My stance is, just be sure what the views are where you send your kids. And if they do conflict with yours, make sure they don’t push it on the children.

catlady

September 21st, 2012
6:56 am

I would let her go, making sure she knew she could talk to you without judgement about questions that arise. I was allowed to visit around, as were my kids. I would have no problem with an 11 year old going to just about any kind of a church. She needs perspective–that the way Daddy and Mommy believe might be different from others. We even had a club in high school (Tri Hi Y) that encouraged us to visit someone’s church once a month! (I doubt they have that club now, even in Alabama.)

My best friend, a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) visited with me so much, especially for youth group, that she was pictured and listed in the church directory as a “friend of the church.” 5 years later, she married a guy who had been raised as a member of a church of the kind I was a member, and she has been a faithful (and comfortable) member ever since.

motherjanegoose

September 21st, 2012
7:34 am

I like to visit different types of churches when I travel and if I have time. It is interesting to learn new things! My daughter went with our neighbor, to their VBS and other venues, for many years. Their kids came with us to our church too.

We had a lovely Jewish neighbor who sent her daughter to a Baptist Preschool and then fussed that they spoke about Jesus. I found that odd.

I have had church preschool directors tell me that they have parents come in, that want to enroll their children. but do not want the children to attend the chapel or Bible story times. WHAT? If you put your child in a Methodist Preschool you can pretty much expect it to have chapel and Bible stories that are within the Methodist doctrine. IMHO.

homeschooler

September 21st, 2012
7:51 am

I’d definitely let her go. Just prepare her that occasionally there are people who might say things that seem a little strange or weird or maybe even make her feel uncomfortable. She can process it all with you when she gets home.

I was just talking about this last night with a co-worker. I was raised Catholic in a neighborhood in Marietta where a lot of the families were from other parts of the country so all my friends were Catholic. When I branched out and made my own friends in middle and high school I realized that Catholicism was not the norm around here. My friends were mostly Southern Baptist and their families were so completely ignorant that, to this day, it makes me angry. I was told many times that I was not Christian ( huh???). I was also told that I would go to hell if not saved. This was not my friends saying this it was their parents! I even had a friend who told me at a revival “Just go up there and get saved. I don’t think my mom is going to let me hang out with you if you don’t”. I didn’t. She and I are still very good friends and her mom (who was actually her step mom) is no longer in her life. So…there..

Can you tell I still hold bitterness towards the Baptist Church? I was married in a Presbyterian Church and now feel most comfortable in Methodist and Presbyterian churches. I would be happy to attend and be involved in a Catholic Church but I’m just not ready for that commitment for myself and for my kids (Catechism Classes etc..)

I work Sundays so I have the perfect excuse not to be involved but my kids are involved in VBS and sports at a Methodist church, they attend Christian schools/hybrid programs and, get this, frequently attend a Baptist Church with in-laws. I just hold my nose (and my tongue) and let them go. I’m prepared to de-program them when necessary.

Voice of Reason

September 21st, 2012
7:51 am

I was baptized Catholic, never got my first communion because I asked too many questions, and, to be completely honest, I get absolutely nothing out of going to church other than complaining that I wish I could get that hour of my life back to do something else.

Have I let my kids go to church with their friends, sure, because, well, they think like I do and if something doesn’t make sense to them, they ask questions.

And if the answer to those questions is simply, “magic,” my kids know that those people are probably a little crazy.

mayhem

September 21st, 2012
7:57 am

I think you should allow your children to experience other religions. don’t be so closed minded that YOUR church is the ONLY church they should attend.

Educate them on other religions. Teach tolerance!!!!

Plus, she may just want to go because all her friends are going. Don’t be so paranoid. At her age, it’s just being with your friends, and finding a place to fit in.

xxx

September 21st, 2012
8:18 am

Religous indoctrination should be avoided at all times, regardless of the brand of mythology.

motherjanegoose

September 21st, 2012
8:29 am

Baptists believe the Bible and that John 3:16 as the.only way to go to heaven. Also Acts 16:30 and 31.
,
The Bible also mentions that works are not the way to get to heaven Titus 3:5. This presents a problem with those who are trying to work their way into heaven or those faiths that have lots of works involved in their doctrine. .

We had dinner with family members who invited their priest over. We enjoyed meeting him. He was casual, friendly and joking about something…then said, ” that is in the Bible.” I said, “that is not in the Bible.” He looked at me and said, ” That is in Ezekiel. ( sp?) ” I followed, ” No it is not…I am certain about it.. Maybe we should look it up.” He looked a little sheepish and took the comment back. Later, we were told that priests do not really study the Bible in depth but study the doctrine of their Catholic faith and practical applications. I found that a bit odd. Not sure if that is true.

To me, clergy should know the Bible if this is what their job is about.

Roni

September 21st, 2012
8:36 am

My son is still too young to for most programs, but when he’s older I’m going to be very selective about what churches I let him attend, be it Sunday (or other day) service, VBS, youth events, etc. I was raised Methodist and I take him with me to Methodist church every Sunday, but my husband is Sikh and we occasionally attend Sikh services with his family. Before I will let my son attend any sort of religious service at an unknown church, I’ll have to know ahead of time that he won’t be put in a position of having to defend half his family’s religion, or even worse, be told his father and grandparents are going to Hell. I simply won’t stand for it.

Voice of Reason

September 21st, 2012
8:37 am

@MJG

Clergy are taught to give you false senses of hope and security in hopes that through this, they can scare you into forking over more cash to the church. It’s a business disguised as therapy.

If priests could write prescriptions for drugs, they could rake in even more cash. I’m surprised no one has thought of that yet….

DB

September 21st, 2012
8:46 am

You can’t shield kids rom getting their feelings hurt — the world isn’t particularly kind when it comes to that, especially when you put religion in the mix.

Our next door neighbors were very active in their church(s) — they frowned on alcohol, Halloween and Harry Potter. No matter. I laughed when the dad tried to “set me straight” on Harry Potter when he tried to give me a sheaf of copies of articles all having to do with Harry Potter promoting Satanism. I handed them back to him and told him, nicely, that I would be happy to discuss HP with him AFTER he had read them, but until then, I wasn’t going to argue with him over what he thought the books said. (He never did. None of his kids were big readers — I suspect because the parents censored anything that wasn’t Christian-related.)

What really frosted me, though, was when I allowed my daughter to attend church with them (the daughter is her best friend.) After a few Sundays, my daughter (13 at the time) came to me, very seriously, and announced that she wanted to be baptised. I pointed out much to her surprise) that she was already baptised, and we talked about her confirmation coming up in a few years. (Somehow, “christening” and “baptism” didn’t click together for her.) So she went back to the church and told the pastor that she wa already baptised. What infuriated me was when she came back a couple of weeks later, troubled, and said, “The pastor said that my baptism didn’t count because I wasn’t old enough to consent, so I’m not really baptized.” It was a good opportunity for a talk about the differences and similarities between the different Protestant denominations. I was careful to be respectful, but I was also firm that even though the pastor was a grown-up, in this case, he was wrong to tell her that her baptism “didn’t count.” It was a good lesson in religious intolerance, not to mention outright rudeness. I was also clear that if she chose to go to a different church when she wa grown up, she certainly could — but until then, as a family, we would be attneding our church. I had a quiet talk with my next door neighbor about why my daughter wouldn’t be attneding church with them any more, and that was that. As a young adult in college, she’s attended several different churches and gotten a taste of several flavors of Protestantism, which I think is a good thing — it’s important to explore and refine your faith, and understand how faith fits into others’ lives, too.

(When she was younger, we attended a Catholic mass with some friends, and she was confused as to why she couldn’t particiapte in communion. “But if they came to our church, we’d share OUR cookies!” she insisted. That was an interesting conversation!)

DB

September 21st, 2012
8:53 am

When I was in high school, the parents of the guy I was dating were staunch Baptists. We went to a Methodist church. (My own family is now Episcopalian). My boyfriend’s mother took a New Testament and went through it highlighting all the sections that she felt pointed out why Baptists were right and Methodists were wrong, because she was so worried about a nice girl like me going to hell. My boyfriend was furious, but I just thanked her for her concern. Even then, I could see it was coming from a position of care — even if I privately thought it was a little misdirected. She and I discussed a few of the areas that she highlighted, and agreed to disagree :-)

Again.....

September 21st, 2012
8:56 am

MotherJaneGoose once again pats herself on the back, and let’s us know, that she is RIGHT, and the priest was wrong. But she had to put it out there. Your shoulder must hurt with all that patting on your own back that you do. My guess is you get no reaffirmation at home, so you have to make yourself look good to a bunch of strangers in an annonymous blog.

I hate religious discussions.

I for one do not believe in God, the Bible, etc., but I will keep those comments to myself.

Logic please...

September 21st, 2012
9:02 am

I think you are referencing different denominations NOT different religions.

Kat

September 21st, 2012
9:43 am

Wow! I don’t know what is worse. Being “right” and telling a pastor that he/she is “wrong,” or arguing with a guest at dinner. Both would have been slappable offenses at my house. Better manners would help these children.

Denise

September 21st, 2012
9:44 am

@Again….you didn’t keep your comment about not believing to yourself. You just shared them with us all.

Anyway – I grew up Catholic but found myself disinterested when my church was “gifted” with a priest that didn’t speak good English. I couldn’t understand what he was saying. So I stopped wasting my hour a week because I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Then I just stayed gone because I didn’t miss it. Years later I joined a Baptist church and really found a place where I could learn and grow. I go to another church now where I am growing even more. If I had children, I’d let them experience whatever denomination they were invited to, mainly because changing denominations made a big difference in my life. Changing religions may be a bit harder to deal with because I believe in Christ but if they were older (adults) and made an informed decision I would have to suck it up. Every person has to find his or her own way. I guess I’m not “Christian enough” because I cannot accept that half the world is going to hell because they are not Christian. Maybe each religion has their own version of heaven… Who knows? I just know I’m going! :-)

FCM

September 21st, 2012
9:47 am

Let her go. My brother attended Holy Family’s youth program. He came home one night and announced he was converting from Disciple of Christ to Catholic. I went and spoke to Father Dan, the young priest at Holy Family. He wrote my parents and my brother a letter. He said he was forever greatful to his parents for allowing him to explore in safe ways the various beliefs, doctorines, and practices of his friends while growing up. He later understood why his parents freaked when he announced he would be (I think it was Baptist). His parents said Dan, devote 1 year to YOUR church before you decide. He did and became a Catholic priest. He realized that his own up bringing was the right choice. He encouraged my brother to do the same.

I (and said brother) went to Holy Innocents School growing up. So I have knowledge of the Episcopalian doctorine. I went to Mass with friends. I went to Baptist VBS and services with friends. Luthran too. All during my formative years. I have never changed my church home from the one I was dedicated and baptised in. I think Father Dan was right, my Disciple of Christ up bringing is the right one for me/my family. However, like him I am greatful my parents let me see the other things so I would know it.

FCM

September 21st, 2012
9:49 am

btw it was a non Christian girl in my daughter’s 3rd class who told said daughter she was an infidel. Your children don’t have to go to a different church to hear the cruelty of other faiths.

"Logic please" is absolutely correct...

September 21st, 2012
10:00 am

…TWG is confusing denominations with religions as both Catholic, which she professes to be, and BaptistMethodistChristianChurchPresbyterianLutheran, etc., are ALL Christian religions, though they are different denominations of Christianity…

So, to keep in line with her original question about letting your children attend youth programs of different religions, would you let your child attend Muslim, Hindu, Buddhism, etc. classes?

J

September 21st, 2012
10:02 am

I would let them go. My children are being reared Catholic, but they love attending Awana on Wednesday evenings with their friends. As for pushy people telling them they are going to hell or hurting their feelings, well, that can happen anywhere. When he was a child, my husband was told that he was going to hell by several children at school when they learned he was Catholic. Just keep the lines of communication open and talk to them about what is going on and what they do. You could also look up the church’s website and see what their doctrine/beliefs are…they usually have a type of Mission statement.

Darwin

September 21st, 2012
10:21 am

If you wouldn’t FORCE this stuff on your kids, you wouldn’t have this problem.

HB

September 21st, 2012
10:28 am

I think I’d visit the church first, especially if it’s not a mainstream denomination you’re familiar with. I appreciate what everyone’s saying about it not being that big a deal and agree in most cases it wouldn’t be, but some of my friends and I growing up had some pretty wacky experiences with some aggressive nondenominational and non-mainstream churches (we also had some wonderful experiences at some nondenominational churches, so I don’t mean to say you shouldn’t send her to any of them). My cousin ended up in a youth group for a while at an independent (not Southern or American) Baptist church that was pretty out there and was really berated when she stopped going. Phone calls, cornered in person when she was out and about, etc about how she was going to hell if she didn’t return to the flock. A church in Atlanta used to target college freshman and harass them if they didn’t continue to attend their events and services. While all of that seems to me like a not completely terrible learning experience for high school or college kids, I wouldn’t want a middle schooler to end up in a similar situation.

drh

September 21st, 2012
10:43 am

My brother and I were brought up strict Southern Baptist. We were not encouraged or allowed to explore other religions. My brother ended up marrying a nice Jewish girl and I am married to a Muslim. Neither of us have been to church since moved out of our parents house nor do our children attend. I had my fill of that in the 18 years I was forced to participate without question. You should let your children explore with your blessing. It gives them less to rebel against.

Mayhem

September 21st, 2012
10:44 am

I let my daughter go to Awana only because all her friends in the neighborhood went, and she wanted to go also. I allowed her to go for about three weeks, then one night she came home all upset and crying. I asked what happened. She stated that the leaders told her she would go to hell if she did not accept Jesus Christ as her personal saviour. She was so upset. She was 8 at the time.

She NEVER went back. I do NOT think it is approriate to scare children into religion.

We don’t force religion in our home. Neither of my children have been baptised.

southpaw

September 21st, 2012
11:01 am

I’m with Bobby. I grew up Baptist, and although the church where I worship doesn’t have the label, it leans in that direction. Quite a few other churches have slightly different beliefs; I’m fine worshipping in any of them, and the differences usually aren’t worth arguing about.

When I was in high school, a Methodist friend of mine asked me to come to his church one week and play an instrument on one certain song. It was supposed to be a one time thing, but when the choir director heard it, she asked me to come back again the next week and do it again, so that some of her extended family could hear it. My mom came with me the second week and sang in their choir.

More recently, when my teenage son was a lot smaller, he attended VBS at a Church of Christ. He had a good time, and my wife and I attended an adult Bible study happening at the same time. The teaching was solid, and the people were great.

helen

September 21st, 2012
11:01 am

There are different denominations within Christianity, but I’d be way more concerned for my child to visit something I’m completely uncomfortable with such as Islam or Scientology. My husband and I grew up in different denominations. The worship styles were complete opposites and we didn’t always agree on some points. However, once we became parents we choose to attend a church that we both feel comfortable with (sort of the best of both worlds mix). I think your daughter just wants to be with her friends and that is all.

PS

September 21st, 2012
11:21 am

As long as it’s not an out and out religious service, I don’t see the problem with it. Even if it was, as long as you have a good line of communication open with your daughter, I don’t see what the problem is. She can come and ask you about differences she notices or if she needs clarification on something that may be contrary to what she’s been taught in the Catholic church.

I grew up in the UMC, but attended a Baptist school for several years. I know a lot of folks think the Baptist church and the UMC are interchangeable, but I can assure you they are NOT. Ha! However, my parents were always willing to discuss anything I brought up that I noticed was being taught differently in chapel than what I’d been taught in Sunday School.

I also had several friends from dyed-in-the-wool Southern Baptist roots that went to the all-girls Catholic school in my town. So, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal?

Techmom

September 21st, 2012
11:37 am

I agree with HB that I’d probably visit first unless I had adult friends who attend that church and could vouch for it. Most mainstream denominations are fine but there’s always the chance of running into a quack, even in your own church! I’m a youth leader at our church and my goal is never to scare kids – um, hello, what happens when they are “un-scared”?

I do think it’s good for kids to get a chance to explore other churches and other beliefs. How else would they figure out whether they actually believe something or just blindly go along with whatever their parents believe?

Denise

September 21st, 2012
11:49 am

There are differences in some denominations in Christianity so I went to discuss it before I joined the Baptist church from my Catholic upbringing. I was confident that what I saw in church and worship was consistent with my Catholic beliefs so I joined. I never felt that I was going to hell if I was Catholic and was never told that. I know a LOT of other denominations believe that and even preach and teach it but I never believed that. My grandmother is very devout Catholic and there is no way I would ever believe she is going to hell over someone who just expressed a belief in God but still lived any kind of way they wanted to. Again, I guess I’m not “Christian enough”. Jehovah’s Witness are Christian but do not believe in the Trinity nor that Jesus was God’s Son. They also have different views on heaven; only that a certain number of people would go to heaven and the others would live in paradise on earth. (How exactly is this Christian?) I would not want my child to spend that much time in that environment because that would be way too different from my belief system and what I would want to teach my future children (plus they don’t really do “outsiders”) but I wouldn’t mind exposing them to it and talking to them later about it.

Halftrack

September 21st, 2012
11:58 am

Mainline denominations (Congregants) do not know today how or why they got started. Fundamental belief systems of a denomination are gone. Look how many churches now leave out the denomination affiliation in their name. The pastors only give the congregants “biblical milk” and no solid food about the Bible. The Bible even has an answer for this. In the last days – - – - -. This is why most mainline denominations are losing membership and people only want their ears tickled at services. Churches try to compete with entertainment of all kinds and the basis of religion are vanishing fast.

kimmer

September 21st, 2012
12:28 pm

Theresa you do realize that whole ’saving’ business was what the protestant reformation was all about and represents a very critical doctrinal difference regarding how a person obtains redemption.

motherjanegoose

September 21st, 2012
12:28 pm

@ Again…everyone needs affirmation. I do not necessarily need it from this blog although I do have some friends here and also those who have shared a meal with me. Both groups have taught me lots of interesting things. I weekly get affirmation from the clients I work with, as they hand me a check for my services and say, ” See you next time…we had fun!” IMHO those who work for themselves have to be affirmed that they know why they are doing or they would not have a job to do. So yes, for my line of work I need to be affirmed that I know what I am talking about. If I do not, I will be unemployed. Guess it is just something I experience daily.

@ Kat, if you are talking about the conversation I had with the priest:
I have eaten dinner with lots of people all over the country. Many come from different backgrounds and experiences than I do. There are things I agree with and things I disagree with. There are things I know lots about and things I know little about. Sometimes I feel like I am riding the rapids, in a canoe, with a toothpick for a paddle as I have NO idea what anyone is talking about. I just try to listen hard. In this case…I did know something about the item not being in the Bible. This would be similar ( for me) if someone said, “Do not worry about your seat assignment on the airplane…you can just get on and take any open seat!” UM NO YOU CAN’T on most airlines. I just found it odd that a priest would tell us something was in the Bible when it is not. Some Christian religions are quite studious about the Bible and others do not even read the Bible unless they are sitting in a pew. If I were a parishioner, I would like to know that what I am hearing is truly in the Bible. That is me.

We had a very nice evening and no one was upset. I am sure we will meet the priest again and I look forward to it. He was wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals ( sp?). I loved it!

FCM

September 21st, 2012
12:56 pm

@ Logic and the others that asked about Religion vs. doctrine

Yes, my children can attend other religious services if they choose. Our church has done”inter-faith” youth event with a Mosque and Synogague. From what I understand children from all 3 backgrounds grew from the experience.

Now I would not just drop them on the door of some local house of worship (whatever the religion) and leave. I am assuming that TWG knows the family of the person inviting Rose.

I know my daughter has asked some kids to our youth program. So far no parent has called to ask me about it. I would be fine if they did.

Tucker

September 21st, 2012
1:11 pm

Thank you to the contributors who set the record straight about the differences between “denominations” and “religions”. There are also distinctions between “churches” and “Christianity”. No UGA fan would say they do not like football because Georgia Tech and Florida play football. Not liking churches (or certain adherents) and not liking Christianity are also different matters. The same goes for other religions and their individual believers or groups of believers.

Jessica

September 21st, 2012
1:20 pm

I would allow my kids to visit a church of a different denomination as long as it is a denomination that adheres to the basic truths of the Christian faith, not some warped or twisted version of it. I don’t think exposing them to churches with slightly different doctrines or traditions will undermine their faith.
On the other hand, there are some so-called Christian denominations (some people would call them cults) that have a fundamentally different concept of who God is and what it means to be saved, and I feel that my children are too young at this point to understand that. I wouldn’t allow my kids to visit such a church until they are old enough to know the difference.

iRun

September 21st, 2012
1:38 pm

My husband and I are atheists and we’re raising our son as atheist, but we also don’t want him to be ignorant or intolerant of people of faith. So, in that spirit we have him, on Sundays, read about religion and spirituality. We find various books geared towards his age (11). There are also a lot of books about religion written by atheist theology scholars geared towards kids (strange niche).

Being an atheist, he is certainly in the minority. Nearly all of his friends follow some faith or another, though he does have another friend being raised in an atheist home.

Anyway, we don’t worry about what he’s being exposed to, religion-wise, when he’s with friends. If he has any questions or wants to talk he can come to us. He always does.

The first time a kid in his class told him he was going to hell for not believing in God and/or Jesus he came home a little worried. So, I reminded him that, as atheists, we don’t believe in God, or Jesus, or Hell. I reminded him that when we die, it’s game over. Nothing else happens. Needless to say, he was relieved to know he wasn’t going to experience some sort of torture after death.

But that was years ago, when he was 7 or 8. He hears it regularly now and shrugs it off. After all, for him/us that person is threatening him with the supernatural, which doesn’t exit. It can’t be scary if it doesn’t exit.

Back to the point – yes, we allow him to participate in any activity, even the main service, of any faith when invited to by a friend. He even had a small part in the Christmas Pageant last year, because it was a chance to be in a show with his friends.

chanceman4

September 21st, 2012
1:43 pm

This is real simple folks…churches are going to teach what they believe (unless they are catering and pandering for more members). If you are uncomfortable with what they teach, then don’t send your children to that particular church. But the government does not own these churches, so unlike public schools, you do not have the right to complain about what they teach. Which means that no, they do not have to change what they say, so that you will not be offended. If I don’t agree with the message that a church is preaching or teaching, then guess where my family and I will not be going…it’s just that simple. Unlike many have been conditioned to believe today, the word “tolerance” does not mean that people have to change what they do to appease everyone. Just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean that they “hate” you…they are entitled to their opinion too…right or wrong. Sorry for the rant, ya’ll have a great weekend and love up on your family!

katielenn

September 21st, 2012
1:51 pm

@homeschooler…great Christian forgiveness…you keep holding that grudge….

SEE

September 21st, 2012
2:19 pm

What I’m hearing in a lot of these comments are people that aren’t doing a very good job of passing on their faith to their children. My 13 year old son is able to debate being a Catholic with his Baptist friends because he knows his faith. If your child does not know his/her faith, then don’t let them go to another church. It will just be confusing. If they have a strong grasp of what and why they believe, then going to another church is not going to sway them.

Crap.....

September 21st, 2012
3:00 pm

I’m Methodist Mormon Jehoviah’s Witness Southern Baptist Pentecostal Seventh Day Adventist.

I’m so confused I don’t know WHO or WHAT to worship…or when.

Mattie

September 21st, 2012
3:03 pm

I was raised Catholic, including a parochial school education, but left the church a long time ago. My oldest boy asked to attend a catholic high school, and we had no problem with it. By the teenage years, faith was his to decide.

Another son was invited to attend a youth group at an evangelical Lutheran church. It was a social thing, with ski trips, camping trips, etc.. They also did service projects in Appalachia. I had no problem with it, he was 12 and wanted to be with his friends. I was very impressed when the Lutheran pastor called and asked permission for my son to join the congregation. I told him it was fine with me, if my son wanted to, but he would be joining as an individual, not a family. We moved soon afterwards, but my son participated in several programs at that church, including carrying the cross on Good Friday.

I have no interest in organized religion. but I don’t think it’s up to me to make that choice for my children.

Ginger

September 21st, 2012
3:13 pm

When my now 12 year old was small, she would attend Vacation Bible School at our community Baptist Church. We are not religious in any way but, because we live in a relatively liberal and welcoming community, I hoped it would be a good experience for her. And it was. I don’t regret it one bit. I warned her that they might try to convert her, it is a Baptist Church after all. It’s never to young to learn how to fend off the advances of those who want to make you think like they do!

vee

September 21st, 2012
4:37 pm

Gee…I may be repetative here (didn’t take time to read the whole list of comments carefully), but, I wouldn’t be so concerned about the difference in denominational beliefs as I would in the safety of my child in general. I’m in my mid 50’s and I remember being involved in church activities where my parents thought I was completely safe. It was there that I learned about smoking pot, having sex, sneaking out to toilet paper yards and many other things that make me cringe now. This was not a “liberal” organization, but a “fundemental, Bible believing” church. The church DID NOT condone any of this, but SOME kids will always find a way to go wild. When my own kids were at the age to go to special events I was going to one of those “liberal” churches. They had WONDERFUL precautions and safety measures in place to prevent just the sort of things that I got mixed up in. At least they weren’t blind to the fact that things are possible.
Thus said…..I’d never SEND my children to any church that I haven’t attended and gotten to know the adults involved. I’d also make sure that my children were well grounded in the faith I believe in. I would also discuss possible areas that may come up where we differ. That way they would not be blind-sided by any new ideology.

Hey, iRun...

September 21st, 2012
5:03 pm

…thanks for sharing your point of view and for letting your son make choices and experience things that allow him to ask questions – wish more parents (christian, non-christian, and atheist) would share your mentality regarding religion…your attitude is christian in intent, as well as just plain good, as you well intend it to be…Good for you…

Bernie

September 21st, 2012
5:28 pm

I would only have a concern if the Church is a predominately Republican party and/or Tea party Member dominated church. Because, I know that neither GOD nor Jesus is NOT in their midst. That would not be a good thing for any children.

Tiffany

September 21st, 2012
7:11 pm

It is a wonderful thing to expose your children to people of other faiths. Where I live, my kids have been raised in a virtual melting pot of people of all races, faiths and backgrounds, and I feel they are better people because of it. Their friends are very diverse. That being said- just be careful when you send your children to a different religious service that they are not being pressured in any way to change their own beliefs. It does happen- adults and even other children may put pressure on your child to convert or question his own religious beliefs because that is what they are trained to do. This is when you ask a lot of questions of your child to find out what their experience was like there, and if they were upset or pressured or demeaned in any way I would not allow them to return. Just keep an eye on the situation and keep open communication with the child about it. My kids have had lots of fun attending youth events at their friends’ churches, and I remember doing that as a kid also.

iRun

September 21st, 2012
9:43 pm

Thanks, Hey, we’re just trying to make his world a good and kind place to live and hopefully he will do the same.

Have a good weekend, y’all!